AACT NewPlayFest

Unmatched Performance
Developing quality new plays our audiences will enjoy

Why the NewPlayFest? There is no shortage of NewPlayFest logo works, especially by unpublished playwrights. But how do theatres find the time to read them and cull out the ones their communities will enjoy? Many theatres have new play contests, but few produce the winning scripts and talk to other theatres about them. Yet a script is not likely to be published unless it is produced and creates a buzz-- and it is not likely to reach future audiences if it is not published. So how do playwrights get their work produced and published?

The answer is AACT NewPlayFest, a national new play festival that takes place over a two-year period. Unlike AACTFest, however, productions don’t have to travel. Instead, selected theatres produce the winning scripts in their local communities and AACT spreads the word with nationwide promotion--plus the winning plays are published in an anthology by Dramatic Publishing Company.

[NewPlayFest is modeled on POPS! – TNT's Producing Original Plays program. Thanks to Texas Nonprofit Theatres for leading the way. ]

AACT NewPlayFest 2016

Producing Theatres

AACT selects five or six member theatres to produce the winning plays. Theatres will be responsible for providing a fully realized production between July 2015 and December 2016, and for bringing in the playwright for a rehearsal or a performance.


Individuals are asked to volunteer to read and score the scripts. Each script will be reviewed by at least three persons. Those that rise to the top will be read by a second set of reviewers, whose scores will determine the finalists.

Playwrights & Scripts

Plays must be full-length, non-musicals that have never had a full production. Submissions for the current NewPlayFest were accepted September 1 - November 1, 2014.

Selecting the Winners

The scripts that make it to the final round will be submitted to the producing theatres, which will select the winning shows to produce. Winning plays will be announced in June 2015. 


AACT works with the producing theatres to compile a festival calendar and a promotional plan, including social media, to encourage attendance at the productions and consideration of the winning plays for production by other theatres.

The theatre that produces a new play often contributes to the future development of the piece. It illustrates to the playwright what works or doesn’t work. The interpretations of the director and the actors may reveal insights into the work that even the playwright didn’t know were there. A first production allows the playwright to discover what needs to be rewritten to make it more effective. 

Producing a new play is an exciting process. Think seriously about participating in AACT NewPlayFest as a producing theatre, a playwright, or a reviewer in the years to come. Get in on the ground floor of an exciting theatrical journey!


NewPlayFest Vol. 1Winning plays are published in an anthology by Dramatic Publishing Company. The first, with plays by Cece Dwyer, Paul Elliott, Jim Henry, Nedra Roberts, Barry Weinberg and Bo Wilson, is now available from the publisher's website: AACT NewPlayFest Winning Plays: Volume 1 (2014)



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