Save the date:
This year's Fall Festival will be held October 18—23, 2022.
ANPF will present its flagship event, the annual Fall Festival, with in-person readings of the winners of its new plays competition. This year’s festival will include an additional winner and so will feature five plays running October 18–23.
The winning playwrights will travel to Ashland and collaborate with world-class directors and actors to develop their scripts, which will be shared with the community in evening and matinee readings followed by audience talkbacks. The community playwriting workshop is also back and in person, led by the Festival’s 2022 winning playwrights and Host Playwright Beth Kander.
This year’s Fall Festival winning playwrights will be announced by July 15, when script submissions open for the 2023 ANPF Fall Festival.
Continue scrolling to read about our 2021 winning playwrights and their compelling, funny, heartbreaking, surprising, and thought-provoking new plays.
The ANPF 2021 Winning Playwrights
The Host Playwright
Beth Kander is a playwright and novelist with roots in the small-town Midwest and the Deep South. Playwriting honors include the Henry Award for Best New Play or Musical; Headwaters New Play Award; Equity Library Theatre Showcase; Ashland New Plays Festival; Eudora Welty New Play Awards; and the Charles M. Getchell New Play Award, among others. In addition to playwriting, Beth is an acclaimed author. Her dystopian trilogy Original Syn won a Foreword INDIES Award, her ghost story 13 Jericho Lane was a Pitch Wars selection, and she has at least two new books coming out in the next two years. The granddaughter of immigrants, she is interested in the intersection of new ideas and identities with old stories, secrets, and legends. She holds an MSW from the University of Michigan and an MFA from Mississippi University for Women. Beth is represented by Allison Hellegers at Stimola Literary Studio. She lives in Chicago with her favorite characters—her quirky little family.
Martine Kei Green-Rogers
Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family
Holly L. Derr
What Happened While Hero Was Dead
Last Drive to Dodge
Pocket Universe by Thomas Brandon
Certain Aspects of Conflict in the Negro Family by TyLie Shider
What Happened While Hero Was Dead by Meghan Brown
Last Drive to Dodge by Andrew Lee Creech
AEA Stage Manager
Kara Q. Lewis
AEA Stage Manager
ANPF 2021 Finalists
Abundancia by Carlos-Zenen Trujillo
Black Cypress Bayou by Kristen Adele Calhoun
Frankie Moon’s Long Gone by Ean Miles Kessler
If & When by Quinn D. Eli
Mississippi Son by LaDarrion Williams
My Dinner with Andrea by Susan Lambert Hatem
The Stands by Jack Neary
Thoughts & Prayers by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich
ANPF’s Fall Festival is our annual flagship event that features readings of four plays chosen from hundreds of submissions from all over the world. The plays are read (without identifying the author) by a dedicated team of volunteer readers who select the finalists. Our artistic director receives these scripts (with authorship being known) and leads the collaborative process of choosing the winners. Each play receives two readings, a matinée and an evening, and is followed by a talkback session with the playwright, providing a learning opportunity for both the audience and the artist. The week also features a playwriting workshop with all the winners.
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
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.
If there is such a thing as playwright heaven, this is it!
Omission, ANPF 2012
The Night Climber, ANPF 2019
Stephanie Alison Walker
ANPF is such a gift to playwrights. We get to come to theater paradise for a whole week to work on our plays and just be playwrights. It seems the whole community gets invested in our plays. Several of us were stopped at breakfast or just walking through town to discuss our plays. It’s unlike anything else I’ve experienced. Everyone is so invested in this process, including the audience.
Stephanie Alison Walker
The Madres, ANPF 2016
The Abuelas, ANPF 2018