The New Works Initiative (NWI) develops all forms of theatrical work at Westport Country Playhouse.
The mission of NWI is to provide a space for the incubation of plays, musicals, and other works of theater, the development of which are important not only to our stage, but to the vitality of the larger art form.
Through an influx of rehearsals, readings, and workshops each season, the NWI provides an artistic home to writers and theater makers, offering the resources and support necessary to further the growth of their works. As a thriving theatrical institution, we have a responsibility to support artists who strive to break new ground and the scope of the American theater.
As a continuation of our investment in new work, we’re launching the Playhouse’s first set of commissioned writers in 2020. These commissions will provide three playwrights with the opportunity to imagine, compose and develop a brand new play with us. By providing appropriate financial and artistic resources, the Playhouse is fostering not only the creation of a new piece of theater, but also the growth and future of these three voices.
This program is only possible due to the generosity of the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation.
We are thrilled to bring new play development back to the Playhouse! 2021 workshops and readings will take place over Zoom.
by Daniel Halpern
Daniel Halpern (they/them) is a Canadian-based playwright and theatre artist. They are the co-founder and artistic co-director of the BodyCube Arts Collective, which has had work appear throughout Canada, New York, Germany, and the Netherlands. Some notable recent credits include writing and acting for An Orchid and Other Such Lilies and Lies (BodyCube) at the 2019 Toronto and Atlantic Fringe Festivals, and performing in The Second Woman (Harbourfront Centre) at the 2019 Brave Festival. They graduated from the University of King’s College and Dalhousie University with a combined honors in Theatre Studies and Contemporary Studies, and are currently enrolled in the University of Alberta, pursuing an MA in Drama with a focus on performance-based activism.
The cast includes John Cariani as Tory, Edmund Donovan as Jack, Jax Jackson as Alex, Marianne Rendón as Minnie, Ben Levi Ross as Cody, Murphy Taylor Smith as Nat, and Jamar Williams as Jacques.
by Gloria Majule
For several years, the Playhouse has fostered new work by programming workshops, which allow a writer to spend several days with a director, performers, a stage manager, and sometimes a dramaturg, to investigate where their piece is in its development. Oftentimes, these workshops will culminate in a private reading.
form of a girl unknown by Charly Evon Simpson
directed by Melissa Crespo
Don Juan by Molière, adapted by Brendan Pelsue
directed by David Kennedy
The Splitting by Serena Berman
directed by Jake Beckhard
Starter Pistol by Michael Gotch
directed by Mark Lamos
Click by Jacqueline Goldfinger
directed by Katherine M. Carter
Native Authors by Erik Brogger
directed by Mary B. Robinson
Torera by Monet Hurst-Mendoza
directed by Tatiana Pandiani
Minor Fantastical Kingdoms by Michael Gotch
directed by Mark Lamos
The Vendler Television Playhouse by Susan Rice
directed by Robert Cary
Thousand Pines by Matthew Greene
directed by Austin Pendleton
World premiere at Westport Country Playhouse in November 2018
The Biggest Valley by A. Zell Williams
directed by LA Williams
The Forgotten Woman by Jonathan Tolins
directed by Noah Himmelstein
Out of the Mouths of Babes by Israel Horovitz
directed by Barnet Kellman
In partnership with New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre
The Rivals with book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg, music by Stephen Weiner
The Playhouse accepts scripts from all writers, and strongly encourages submissions from Black, indigenous, and writers of color. To submit, please email a PDF copy of the script, along with a brief synopsis and playwright bio, to Liam Lonegan.
Due to the small size of our staff and the number of scripts we receive, we may not be able to respond personally to every submission.
This initiative is funded by the New Works Circle, a group of individuals committed to the discovery and development of new theatrical work. Join us! Contact our development team to learn more about how to get involved.