2023 Fall Festival
October 19 - 22
The ANPF 2023 Fall Festival took place on Thursday Oct. 19th, and featured a play with deep local roots. Playwright Isabel Estelle’s Ashland takes place during summertime in Ashland. Centered on a family in crisis, Ashland grapples with the absurdity and hilarity of death, what it means to be family, and what it takes to let go. Readings were 10/19 @7:30 pm & 10/21 @1:30 pm. Next up was Bleu Beckford-Burrell’s Lyons Pride. Audiences met the Lyons family, Jamaican and proud, and discovered the similarities we have in our families as immigrants in America. Readings were 10/20 @1:30 pm & 10/21 @7:30 pm. Rounding out this year’s presented plays was Weston Gaylord’s A Long Time Coming, which takes place in two different eras separated by 90 years. This haunting play examines the voices we choose to preserve and those that are lost forever. Readings were 10/20 @7:30 pm & 10/22 @1:30 pm. All performances took place at SOU’s Main Stage Theater, 491 S. Mountain Ave. Ashland, OR 97520
SOU Main Stage Theatre
405 S. Mountain Ave.
A Long Time Coming
After a young woman is unexpectedly diagnosed with a terminal illness and chooses to pursue Death with Dignity, she and her new partner must navigate the beginning and end of their relationship simultaneously. As the young woman's health rapidly declines, her partner and her two siblings grapple with the absurdity and hilarity of death, what it means to be family, and what it takes to let go.
The Lyons household struggling to stay afloat doesn’t find itself lacking in pride. A family play, about living, love, identity and overcoming life challenges the Lyons take you on a journey of what it means not only to be Jamaican and proud but the similarities we have in our families as immigrants in America.
A forest is growing in Norway, planted to provide paper for a set of texts that will be printed in the year 2114. Each year between 2014-2114, an author is selected to write a text for this Future Library which will be preserved, unread, until the printing. The play tells two intertwining stories of one family: a novelist in 2024 who puts his mother’s life story into words, his great-granddaughter and her son in 2114 who journey from a California farm to a Norwegian forest for the opening of the Library, and a secret that has waited a century to come to light. Examining the voices we choose to preserve and those that are lost forever, A Long Time Coming looks toward a future that holds both disaster and hope.
The Host Playwright
Beth Kander is an award-winning author and playwright with tangled roots in the Midwest and Deep South. The granddaughter of immigrants, she loves exploring how worlds old and new intertwine—or collide. Beth earned a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan and an MFA in Creative Writing from Mississippi University for Women.
Playwriting honors include the T. Jefferson Carey Memorial Playwriting Award (2022); Henry Award for Best New Play or Musical (2019-2020); Headwaters New Play Award (2018); Equity Library Theatre-Chicago Award (2017); Ashland New Plays Festival (2015, 2016); Eudora Welty New Play Awards (2008, 2010, 2012); and the Charles M. Getchell New Play Award (2012), among others.
Current projects include a commissioned play for Creede Repertory Theatre, a children's picture-and-recipes book called DO NOT EAT THIS BOOK (Sleeping Bear Press, 2023), and a dark and twisty novel.
A proud parent-artist, her favorite characters are her two brave, hilarious kids, and she cheers for parent-artists everywhere.
Beth is represented by Allison Hellegers at Stimola Literary Studio.
Ashland by Isabel Estelle
Rachel Lindsey Routh
Jade Morgan Krische
Lyons Pride by Bleu Beckford-Burrell
Shayne C. Powell*
A Long Time Coming by Weston Gaylord
Ellen D. Williams*
*Appearing through an Agreement between ANPF and Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.
2023 Fall Festival Photos
Watch this space for updated photos of the 2023 Fall Festival workshop and rehearsal process
Bleu Beckford-Burrell, Isabel Estelle, and Weston Gaylord. ANPF 2023 Fall Festival presenting playwrights, have arrived!
2023 Fall Festival Company. All together and ready to collaborate!
Host Playwright Beth Kander and Artistic Director Jackie Apodaca.
Ashland Pre-show - Rehearsal - Talkback
Lyons Pride Pre-show - Rehearsal - Talkback
A Long Time Coming Pre-show - Rehearsal - Talkback
It’s hard to know where to begin when talking about how amazing an experience ANPF is. I’m tempted to start with the moment I arrived in Ashland, but the months leading up to ANPF - the preparations and the conversations with Kyle and Jackie
are almost as exciting – as you see how much time, thought and care go into the festival.
Once you’re in Ashland, the ride really begins as you’re welcomed into a large and supportive ANPF community already familiar with your play, and wanting to talk to you about it. I chose to do a lot of work on my play during the week, and was met
with an incredible amount of support and encouragement from a top notch director and cast who all gave 24/7 - really allowing me to take the play where I wanted it to go. The week is, of course, topped off by the readings and the talkbacks, led by a
terrific host playwright – who is all about helping the playwrights get as much feedback as they need. Oh, and it’s also pretty cool getting coffee and drinks all week with three other playwrights whose work you find so inspiring.
I can’t say enough about ANPF. If there is such a thing as playwright heaven, this is
The Night Climber, ANPF 2019
Omission, ANPF 2012
ANPF was a wonderful experience. Setting aside for a moment the honor of being chosen as a winner, the entire artistic and support staff of the festival was top notch from notification through our week together in beautiful Ashland, Oregon. New plays need ears to hear them, and the ANPF audience—made up of passionate readers, committed board members, industry professionals and a host of savvy theatre goers—were enthusiastic, insightful, and supportive listeners. It's not every day as a playwright you encounter such an energized and smart group of people who have dedicated themselves to giving new works the best possible debut. Their contribution to my own work and the work we all do in keeping theatre vital and relevant cannot be overstated.
Starter Pistol, ANPF 2019
Being an Ashland New Play Festival winning writer was surreal in the best possible way. Writers are used to working solo, suffering alone through the agonies of the creative process. But being a part of ANPF meant that I suddenly was surrounded by a team – all brilliant, all subsuming their considerable talents to our common task: helping me make the play better today than it was yesterday. And far from feeling like I was a cog in a large machine that manufactured readings, I felt like the entire process of ANFP was designed to curate itself to my needs and the needs of my play. It was an altogether too rare, completely charming experience. And one the kind of communal joy that I hope every writer, typing alone in a quiet room, gets to experience one day.
Pocket Universe, ANPF 2021
My friends in the theater at ANPF generously supported the development of Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family from rehearsals to the virtual stage. Theirs is a singular kind of advocacy any playwright would be blessed to experience. Thank you for thinking of me and my work.
Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family, ANPF 2021
I had a blast as an Ashland New Play Festival playwright. The care and consideration put into the festival was consistently clear — this is a group of people who truly put the play (and playwright!) first, and are committed to crafting an environment where artistry can thrive. I couldn’t have been happier with my creative team, or with the communicative, accommodating, administrative staff. ANPF is a special organization doing incredible work, and I cannot speak highly enough of its process of new play development.
What Happened While Hero Was Dead, ANPF 2021
What a gift what a gift what a gift! Ashland New Play Festival is a true oasis for playwrights, and an experience to cherish. From first contact, I felt taken care of, respected, and encouraged to do my best work. My fellow playwrights were inspirational, kind, and generous with their insights and feedback. The artistic team assembled to work on my play could not have been bettered.
But the real prize of the festival was the community. The depth and breadth of their engagement with the process from beginning to end was truly astonishing – to have a talkback with a hundred people who have read your play MULTIPLE TIMES!!!!!!!! What?!!?!?!?!?! If my punctuation is a little hysterical, so be it. The people of the Ashland New Play Festival – all of them – every one – deserve all the exclamation points I can throw at them. It was an honor to be in their presence.
What We Were, ANPF 2017
The experience was rejuvenating, artistically satisfying and fun. The actors, directors and collaborating artists are top shelf. I had twelve hours of rehearsal to dig into the play and try to figure out what I had written! The community that has built up around the festival is extraordinary. I have rarely come across a theater-going community as passionate and engaged as the members, audiences and volunteer readers of Ashland. This was particularly meaningful to me, as this play had been sent out to numerous festivals and conferences in the past three years, with no luck. That a volunteer panel of readers picked it blind means a great deal to me.
Pelicans, ANPF 2019
I enjoyed getting to see Ashland for the first time, meeting some lovely actors and directors from all over the country and feeling the love and support of the whole community at both of my readings. I left the week with my spirits bolstered and with warm feelings about the vibrant Ashland theater community. I also must mention the beautiful and bountiful gift bags we received upon arrival! Thank you to everyone who makes this week possible and hope to see you all again soon!
Go. Please. Go., ANPF 2017
My time in Ashland was meaningful and productive, as well as a ton of fun! It was great to be in the room with such generous theater artists, who all worked hard to bring my play to gorgeous life. A huge part of what made the week so worthwhile was connecting with my fellow playwrights and spending time with my director talking about process and our respective experiences. I felt thoroughly supported through the entire week and am so grateful for the many resources I was given. I hope I can return one day!
Sofonisba, ANPF 2017
New plays need ears to hear them, and the ANPF audience–made up of passionate readers, committed board members, industry professionals and a host of savvy theatre goers–were enthusiastic, insightful, and supportive listeners.
It's not every day as a playwright you encounter such an energized and smart group of people who have dedicated themselves to giving new works the best possible debut. Their contribution to my own work and the work we all do in keeping theatre vital and relevant cannot be overstated.
Starter Pistol, ANPF 2019