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 submitted blind and are read by a dedicated team of volunteer readers who select the finalists. Our artistic director receives the blinded scripts and leads the collaborative process of choosing the four 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.
Three reform-school teens discover a bottomless pit in this narrated tale of the inexplicable and the unspeakable, a darkly comedic allegory about the danger of simple solutions and whether ‘nothing’ actually exists anyway.
In this relatable, multifaceted drama set in a small Cape Cod town, a family grapples with healing and despair as they adjust to the return of one of their own from his second stint in rehab.
Those Days Are Over
A vigorous collage, a buoyant journey into grief, this deeply felt comedy centers on the five estranged MacKillop sisters who meet together at their childhood home in the immediate wake of their mother's death.
The Communist Revolution: A Ninth-Grade European History Project (There Will Be a Practical Demonstration)
Parents vs. kids, house vs. tent, capitalism vs. communism: the ultimate showdown ensues in this black comedy about rich white liberals whose desire to be “good” runs up against their own fragility.
Watch this space for more details as they become available.
Our 29th Fall Festival will be held virtually. Our first and most fervent wish is that we all gather in the Unitarian Center and hold the traditional Festival, but there are too many uncertainties for us to plan on a physical event. The Festival week will feature livestreamed performances, talkbacks, and a playwriting workshop as well as other opportunities to engage with the winning playwrights. Please continue to check our website for details as they become available.
“At this time in our history, it feels like art has been put on hold,” says Peggy Moore, ANPF’s board president, “It has left many of us without opportunities to experience the emotions and lessons learned from theatre artists. We are excited that we can share these four new works with audiences. The plays are food for the mind and the heart.”
The Playwriting Workshop
Wouldn't it be nice if there were a magical formula for creating the perfect play? Well, it might be nice, but it wouldn't be nearly as interesting. The truth is, there is no single path to playwriting; it's an individual journey, sometimes meandering, sometimes maddening, and yes... sometimes, magical. Every playwright makes the journey a little differently, finding their own techniques, processes, and stories.
During each Fall Festival, our ANPF Host Playwright and the four winning playwrights come together for a panel discussion about their playwriting journeys, followed by a writing-intensive workshop where each playwright shares insights into their pathways and processes, helping you take the next steps in your own playwriting journey! All writers are welcome ~ poetry, non-fiction, fiction ~ all will find information of interest.
Watch this space for event details as they become available.
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