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New Plays for Young Audiences

Educational Theatre

New Plays for Young Audiences is a play development series devoted to the work of the Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) playwright and the development of TYA plays while also providing NYU students the opportunity to study and experience the process first-hand. Housed in the historic Provincetown Playhouse and supported by NYU Steinhardt’s Program in Educational Theatre, NPYA was founded in 1998 by Lowell and Nancy Swortzell as a supportive space to nurture and evaluate new TYA scripts.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 season is happening online. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more information.

Our work honors the history of the Provincetown Playhouse where the early plays of Eugene O’Neill, Susan Glaspell, and Edna St. Vincent Millay were first presented. However, this series changes focus by devoting its efforts to development of new works for children, youth, and family audiences written by both NYU students and noted authors in New York City, the US, and abroad.

The prize-winning series has developed dozens of new plays written by leading playwrights for young audiences and families, many of which have gone on to receive both national and international recognition, publication, and production.

Keeping with the goals of the Program in Educational Theatre, our series offers both students and theatre professionals the opportunity to test new ideas and methods within the field of TYA.

In conjunction with the series, the Program in Educational Theatre runs a graduate course, Theatre Practices: Problems in Play Production, the Development of New Plays, which studies theories and methods of play development utilizing the series as a laboratory. Students in the class both observe rehearsals and interact with the playwrights, directors, and dramaturgs over the course of the series.

For some background on how the season is chosen, HowlRound has published "From Soup to Nuts: Choosing a TYA Play Development Season" written by our producer.

David Montgomery, Artistic Director
Teresa Fisher, Producer/Production Manager

23rd Season (June 6-27, 2021)

Celebrating its twenty-third season, New Plays for Young Audiences will develop two new plays.

Mariposa/Butterfly co-written by Sandra Fenichel Asher and José Casas. Two neighbors live side-by-side in Texas. A low fence separates their gardens, but much more divides them from one another. One neighbor grows flowers, the other raises vegetables. One was born in the US, the other in Mexico. One speaks English, the other, Spanish. Their differences have kept them so far apart that if one predicts a sunny day, the other is certain of rain. Even the arrival of a caterpillar causes disagreement - until the resulting mariposa/butterfly and its eventual departure unites them in wonder, in sadness, and in a new understanding of the beautiful world they share. Sandra Fenichel Asher's plays for young audiences have been produced coast-to-coast and abroad, and she's been honored with the Sara Spencer Award and the Charlotte Chorpenning Award for lifetime achievement by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. José Casas is a playwright and Assistant Professor in the Department of Theatre and Drama at the University of Michigan. José Cruz González directs. González is a playwright and director from California. Best enjoyed by ages 4-8. Rehearsed readings TBA.

Feather and Ash drawing

Ash and Feather: A Bird-Girl and Her Father’s Cancer by Sharon Chappell is a coming of age story of endurance, creativity and love told by a young teen phoenix/girl who navigates her father’s brain cancer diagnosis and treatment. She finds support through relationships with her family (duck/mother and eagle/father), a counselor (hen) and a first love/best friend (hummingbird). Phoenix uses poetry, journal entries, songs, short fables, and art to develop a rich internal sense of self. She rises from the ashes of hardship, where cancer becomes only a minor character in her story. Dr. Chappell is a breast cancer survivor, teacher, and artist/writer who founded The Little Green Monster Project to support families impacted by cancer through the arts. She recently began the non-profit Well-Beings Studio to provide creative arts resources and experiences to families in hardship and works as a teacher educator at California State University Fullerton. Daphnie Sicre directs. Dr. Sicre is an assistant professor of Theatre Arts at Loyola Marymount University. When she is not teaching, she can be found directing or conducting workshops for social change. Best enjoyed by ages 12 and up. Rehearsed readings live on Zoom on Saturday, June 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 27 at 3 p.m. These readings are free and links will be provided through advance registration. Check out our Facebook event page for details.

Details about online rehearsed readings will be posted on our social media pages in late June.

Auditions

Auditions for New Plays for Young Audience's 2021 series will be held online for non-equity actors. More information will be provided on our social media pages in late March or early April. For questions, contact Teresa at taf263@nyu.edu. There is no financial compensation for this learning opportunity.

Call for scripts

Beginning July 1 through October 31 each year, New Plays for Young Audiences seeks new unpublished and unproduced full-length play scripts for young audiences for our next season.

Submission Guidelines:

  • In your email submission (sent to Teresa Fisher, please include your name, the name of the play, and where we can contact you.
  • Also include your goals for the week of development. This might include questions about the script you hope to answer, characters you want to further develop, story areas you want to look closer at, etc. Scripts received without goals are automatically disqualified, as this is an important part of our process.
  • Also include how you see your script fitting into the TYA field as we are dedicated to nurturing and encouraging the continued development of TYA. If your script is not specifically intended for a young audience (any range that falls between ages 5 and 18 such as 5-9, 11-15, etc.) or otherwise appropriate for youth and family audiences, we encourage you to seek out a more appropriate venue.
  • If you are submitting an adaptation, we ask that you include proof that the original author has agreed to you adapting their work.

Please note that we only accept previously unpublished and unproduced full-length play scripts. If your script has had a fully produced production, we cannot accept it. If you are uncertain if your script meets this requirement or believe there is cause for an exemption, feel free to contact us (David Montgomery or Teresa Fisher).

Find out more about the series history.