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Founded in 1992 and managed by a volunteer board of directors, Ashland New Plays Festival is a nonprofit theatre that encourages playwrights in the creation of new works through public readings. We also offer an educational forum to the community through discussions and workshops.

ANPF’s flagship Fall Festival is an international playwright competition that culminates in the reading of four new plays chosen by a team of volunteer readers from hundreds of submissions. This unique and much-loved event features professional actors from Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Southern Oregon University’s Theatre Department, the local community, and regional theatre hot spots. The reading performances, and the talkbacks that follow, are a rich theatrical experience for audiences.

The winning playwrights look to our sophisticated playgoers, skilled directors, world-class actors, and expert guidance from our artistic director and host playwright for responses to their works as they evolve from the page to the stage. In those magical exchanges of feedback, comments or suggestions may help turn a very good play into a masterpiece and encourage playwrights to continue their efforts in the challenging endeavor of bringing new works to the public.

The soul of ANPF is our Reading Committee, which starts with organizational and training meetings in the fall and then reads blinded scripts throughout the winter and spring. Through a series of group discussions and employing a numerical scoring system, readers reduce the submissions from several hundred to around 35. At that point, further discussions result in 10 to 15 semifinalists; the artistic director leads the collaborative process of choosing the four winners.

The winning playwrights are announced in July, and in October they travel to beautiful Ashland, Oregon, for the Festival, which draws playwrights and theatre lovers from far and wide for a week of readings, talkbacks, workshops, and playwright appreciation as we celebrate new works for the stage.

Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion

We at the Ashland New Plays Festival acknowledge our complicity in racist structures and pledge to move forward with concrete actions.

Beginning in 2021,

  • We pledge that at least 50% of the plays we present each season will be the work of BIPOC playwrights.
  • We will launch a new initiative called “Pass the Pen,” which will reserve fifty spaces for invited BIPOC playwrights to submit plays for consideration in our Fall Festival, free of charge.
  • ANPF’s board and reader leadership will form a Reader Recruitment Committee, which will work to recruit and welcome BIPOC readers from the community.
  • All ANPF board, staff, and readers will commit to unconscious bias training.
  • We will undertake an annual review process to hold ourselves accountable. If the steps outlined above do not yield necessary change, further action will be taken.

We are deeply committed to supporting theatre artists during this time of crisis in funding for the arts. We ask that you stand with us as we reach toward a more equitable and ethical future.

Click here to read our full statement.

Team

Jackie Apodaca

Jackie Apodaca, Artistic Director

A Professor of Theatre and the Head of Performance at Southern Oregon University, Jackie has worked as an actor, director, and producer in theatre, film, and media, with companies such as Roundabout Theatre Company, Denver Center Theatre Company, National Geographic, Modern Media (Head of Production), Venice Theatre Works (Associate Artistic Director), and Shakespeare Santa Barbara (Producing Director). Jackie is the author of the book Answers from the Working Actor published by Routledge in 2018, and spent more than a decade at Backstage Newspaper, where she was a Contributing Editor. She earned her MFA from the National Theatre Conservatory at the Denver Center Theatre Company and her BFA from UC Santa Barbara. Locally, she facilitates Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Acting Trainee Program and is a former board member of the Ashland Independent Film Festival. Jackie joined ANPF in 2016 as Associate Artistic Director, serving as casting director and regularly acting and directing for the company. She directed The Night Climber, Go. Please. Go., Constellations, and The Bottle Tree, and played roles such as Kit in EdanEv, the title role in Sofonisba, and Beth in Cold Spring. Learn more about Jackie.
Octavio Solis

Octavio Solis, Associate Artist

Octavio Solis is a playwright and author whose works have been produced in theatres across the country since 1988. His fiction and short plays have appeared in the Louisville Review, Catamaran literary Reader, the Chicago Quarterly Review, Arroyo Literary Review, Huizache and Stone Gathering. His new book, Retablos, published by City Lights Books, recently won the 2019 Silver Indies Award for Book of the Year from Foreword Reviews. His latest plays are Quixote Nuevo (California Shakespeare Theatre 2018) and Mother Road (Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2019). A Thornton Wilder Fellow for the MacDowell Colony and a member of the Dramatists Guild, Solis has been recently inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters. Learn more about Octavio.

Kyle Haden Director Photo 2018

Kyle Haden, Associate Artist

Kyle Haden was ANPF’s artistic director for six years, and directed readings of Primary User; I Can Go; Hazardous Materials; and The Luckiest People for ANPF, as well as performed in readings of Go. Please. Go.; Edward III; and Now This. Kyle was named a 2018 Drama League Directing Fellow and has directed various productions across the country, including the award-winning world premiere of Hazardous Materials (Creede Repertory Theatre); A Brief History of America (Hangar Theatre Company); Hamlet and The Winter’s Tale (Island Shakespeare Festival); and The Tens (Actors Theatre of Louisville). As an actor, he has performed at regional theatres including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (three seasons), Guthrie Theater, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Arizona Theater Company, City Theatre Company, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, and Cleveland Play House, as well as various theatres in New York and Chicago. Kyle is also a senior coordinating producer with Black Lives, Black Words International Project and the interim senior associate head of the School of Drama at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is an assistant professor of acting. Learn more about Kyle.

Sarah Cho

Sarah Cho, Associate Artist

Sarah Cho is a Los Angeles-based comedy writer and playwright. Her plays include Koreans Eat Dog (2013 Richard Maibum Playwriting Award), Family Dinner (2015 KCACTF’s Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award), and Grace and Janette Like White Guys (2020 Finalist, Seven Devil’s Playwright Conference). She received the IRAM New Play Award and Iowa Arts Fellowship, and was named the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights 2019-2020 Diversity Fellow. Sarah studied comedy at iO, Second City, and Pack Theater. She has performed at Green Gravel Comedy Festival, Laugh Riot Grrrl Festival, and LA Scripted Comedy Festival. Her sketch comedy work has been featured on ComedyCake, WhoHaHa, Funny or Die, and currently writes for house team Gutter at Pack Theater. Previously, Sarah worked in television publicity for clients like Amazon, Netflix, National Geographic, and Adult Swim. She currently works for a nonprofit group, InsideOUT Writers, where she helps bring creative writing classes to juvenile halls. She co-hosts the playwriting podcast Beckett's Babies with playwright Sam Collier. Sarah earned her BA from UC Santa Barbara and MFA from Iowa Playwrights Workshop. Learn more about Sarah.

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Beth Kander, 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. Learn more about Beth.

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Kara Q. Lewis, Project Manager

Kara Q. Lewis has worked for ANPF for six years as a maven-of-all-sorts, coordinating and managing administrative work, communications and marketing, graphic and web design, production, box office, and photography. From her first job as a shelver at the Jackson County Library System to her time as the education director of Ashland Art Center, she is driven by a love of storytelling in all its forms and helping writers and artists develop their work. She has been a volunteer for Eyes to Burma, a direct aid organization based in Thailand that assists Burmese economic refugees, since 2012 and sees the power in using non-profit and artistic skills to assist human rights issues. A graduate of Southern Oregon University, she earned a BA in Photojournalism and an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies. When she’s not working or reading, she’s watching stand-up snippets on YouTube, walking along the creek at the edge of town, or overthinking something she shouldn't. Learn more about Kara.

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J. Ching, Production Coordinator

J. Ching (he/him) was born and raised in Kailua, Hawai’i. He is currently the Production Script Coordinator at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, helping to bridge the gap between literary development and stage management with a deep commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Access. During his five seasons at OSF, he worked on several world premiere productions including Roe, UNISON, Manahatta, Between Two Knees, and The Copper Children. J. is also a member of the Brown Boi Project's March 2013 cohort, artEquity's National Facilitator Training 2017 cohort, and a fellow for the Intercultural Leadership Institute's 2018-2019 cohort. He was also the Festival Coordinator for the 5th National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival (NAATCF) in October 2016. He received his BFA in Theatre Arts from Southern Oregon University. J. aspires to start his own theatre company in Hawai’i geared toward educating youths from historically underrepresented communities about all aspects of the collaborative art of theatre and fostering a passion for the arts. Learn more about J.

Sarah Glasgow

Sarah Glasgow, Administrative Assistant

Sarah Glasgow has been an administrative assistant for ANPF since 2018 and was previously an ANPF intern while earning her BFA in performance from Southern Oregon University. She has acted in readings of Primary User and Knockout Mouse for ANPF and was an acting company trainee at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Her other theatre credits include: Ensemble in Romeo and Juliet (OSF); Carnival of the Animals (OSF Green Show); Marya Lvovna in The Summer People; Dido, Kate Keepdown, Lucrece in Shakespeare’s Other Women; Wounded Woman, Ensemble in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (Southern Oregon University); Celia in As You Like It (Southern Oregon Arts Festival). Film credits include: Imogen Scott in the web series Burn the Witch (October 2021 release), Woman 2 in Short Plays Collection Trailer (Reelhouse Films). She currently lives in Chicago where she is pursuing a master’s in speech language pathology. Learn more about Sarah.

Volunteers

Katie Bullock

Katie Bullock
Intern

Beth Falkenstein

Beth Falkenstein
Production Manager

Carole Florian

Carole Florian
Editor

Michele Lansdowne

Michele Lansdowne
Grants Coordinator

Penny Mikesell

Penny Mikesell
Script Submission Coordinator

Volunteers And Staff 12

Gray McKee
Reader Committee Co-Chair

Eric Poppick

Eric Poppick
Reader Committee Co-Chair

John Rose

John Rose
Theatre Talk

Volunteers And Staff 13

Dennis Tetz
Fall Festival House Manager

Danya Torp-Pereda

Danya Torp-Pereda
Intern

Board of Directors

Peggy Moore, President

Peggy has lived in the Colestin Valley for 33 years. She and her partner, 39 goats, and rescue cats and dogs live on a farm and raise hogs and make goat milk soap. Peggy taught at Foothill College in the San Francisco Bay Area for 19 years. She taught English and drama and had the distinction of teaching King Lear about 82 times. She has actually taught the entire Shakespeare canon. Peggy started the women’s studies program at Foothill, which was the first community college in the country to grant an associate degree in women’s studies, awarding the first one in 1975. Before retiring in 2004, Peggy was the academic vice president at College of the Siskiyous for 15 years, an interim VP at Shasta College (twice) and Lassen College once, and the interim superintendent/president of College of the Siskiyous. She holds two master’s degrees—one in English and one is social science (women’s studies) from San Jose State University. Peggy loves theatre and is delighted serve on the ANPF board. She has been a reader for several years, as well. Peggy also loves animals and previously served as the president of the board for Friends of the Animal Shelter; she has been on that board since 1999. She also served on the board of AAUW Ashland. She chairs the board of the Colestin Rural Fire District and the Animal Control Advisory Committee for Jackson County. She volunteers with the Ashland Independent Film Festival and continues to serve as a consultant for colleges in both California and Wyoming.

William (Bill) Grove, Vice President

Bill was born in a small farm town in Kansas into a family of three generations of physicians. His parents appreciated the arts and took him to see Helen Hayes and Maurice Evens in a touring performance from Shakespeare in Wichita. It was transforming, and, although he was predestined to be a physician, he has made theatre a part of his life since then. He graduated from Rice University (attending the Alley Theater and the Houston Opera) and Northwestern Medical School (The Goodman Theater, Second City, etc.) and did his residency in Pathology at Stanford. He practiced medicine at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose. During that time, he served several terms on the nonprofit Medical Staff Corporation, including time as treasurer and president of the board. He also served a term as treasurer for the Medical Staff. In the Bay Area theatre scene, he had season subscriptions to ACT, TheatreWorks, San Jose Rep, and the San Francisco Opera and regularly attended Berkeley Rep and other venues. In 1982, he discovered Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He became a member of OSF with regular visits increasing in frequency culminating in buying a home in 2012, so that he spends around a quarter of his time in Ashland now. Bill is active in the local CERT activities and the Atherton Disaster Preparedness Committee, acting as a neighborhood coordinator. He has also been treasurer and president of the Peninsula Wine Tasting Group as well as Chef de Cave and Grand Senechal (President) of the Confrérie des Chevaliers de Tastevin, Sous-Commanderie de Silicon Valley – a Burgundy-centric group. He is also a volunteer reader for ANPF, which he’s loved doing the past two years. He is honored to be a part of ANPF to help find good new theatre and nourish it.

Beth Falkenstein, Treasurer  / Production Manager

In 2016 Beth moved to Ashland from Los Angeles, California, where she had spent many years working in the entertainment industry. As a Production Coordinator for episodic television and movies-of-the-week, her nearly compulsive need for organization served her well; as a writer for several network sitcoms she found a productive outlet for her natural inclination toward irreverence and sarcasm. More recently, Beth has been the owner and manager of a successful music publishing and recording catalog. A graduate of the University of Michigan with a degree in theatre, she has fond memories of the regular summer trips her family made from Detroit to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario.  Making a home here, amid the theatre community of Ashland, has been a dream come true. As a member of the board, Beth is thrilled for the opportunity to unite her administrative and artistic sensibilities, and to be a part of an organization as dynamic and vital as ANPF.

Kate Wolf-Pizor, Secretary

Since Kate Wolf-Pizor and her husband, Jim, had come to Ashland for years as tourist/theatre goers. Feeling at home and falling in love with Ashland was easy to do. When retirement time rolled around there really wasn’t much discussion about a good place to retire. Five years of being in Ashland has only confirmed a good fit. Ashland is home. Before retirement Kate was a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in private practice and also taught in Palo Alto at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology for seventeen years serving as the chair of the Clinical MA MFT Program. She also spent four years in both the Clinical MA and the MA in Spiritual Guidance Programs. She served on the board of directors of California Division of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy for ten years in several roles, including the presidency.

Kate and Jim share a passion for theatre. They volunteer at OSF and have sponsored plays there for the past three years.  Kate has also been a reader for ANPF. Kate’s first love affair was with A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the age of four.  After seeing it on stage, her mother bought her a recording of the play and Kate played it constantly, managing to memorize much of the play.  This was not good preparation for kindergarten but it did set a life-long love of words and stories and the power of listening in groups in theatres—Kate’s holy places. As a result of Jim and Kate's love of theatre, they managed to raise a theatre-loving family. Those adults now come to Ashland regularly (in fact some of them have moved here).

Kate looks forward to helping to further ANPF’s mission and growth. The magic of theatre can enrich those who do it and those who witness it and keep the deep meaning of our shared lives in motion.

Jane Bardin

Jane has loved the theatre since she had the lead in her senior play in high school. She considered a career in theatre when she enrolled at UC Berkeley but decided she needed something that would support her more reliably in the future. She majored in economics and graduated with highest honors. She then got an MBA with a specialty in finance, also from UC Berkeley. After working for Wells Fargo in Investment Advisors for 10 years, during which she earned the designation Certified Financial Analyst (CFA), she founded her own firm, Bardin Financial Services, a Registered Investment Advisor. In 1987 she moved her firm from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Sierra foothills town of Jackson. She was one of the founders of the Amador Land Trust and served on the board in many positions, including president. In addition, she helped found the Amador Community Fund, again serving as a board member; she still consults with the board on financial questions. She returned to her love of theatre by joining the Volcano Theatre Company, serving on the board for several years as secretary and treasurer, but best of all she got to act and do something she had always wanted to do: direct. It was from her fellow thespians that she learned about Ashland, which they lovingly called “Mecca,” and thus began the twice yearly trips to the Rogue Valley. When she retired and sold her firm, she and her husband moved to Medford. She quickly sought out ANPF and has been a reader since 2012. She says she thinks she has died and gone to heaven if she has a play in her hands.

Obed Medina

Obed Medina was born in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in Southern California. He worked at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for six seasons in Audience Development and Audience Services. A graduate of University of California, Riverside, he earned his bachelor’s degree in creative writing with honors.

He has been involved in all aspects of theatre for almost 20 years, mostly working with new play development. With his partner, Obed co-founded Askew Theatre Company in Los Angeles to highlight new and emerging playwrights of color. He was a member of the Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights and the Los Angeles Stage Alliance, as well as a film and theatre reviewer for a national LGBTQ publication and for a Los Angeles-based Latinx entertainment publication.

Obed is an artEquity 2015 National Facilitator Training cohort and served on the board of the Jackson County Cultural Coalition. For several seasons, he was a script reader for Sundance Institute Theatre Lab Program and is currently a screener and reader for the Ashland New Plays Festival.

Eric Poppick

Eric recently moved to Medford after spending 40 years in Los Angeles and San Diego, working as an actor and director for stage, television and film. His film/TV credits include Basic Instinct; Mouse Hunt; Single White Female; Hero (with Dustin Hoffman); Seinfeld; Columbo; Curb Your Enthusiasm; NYPD Blue; L.A. Law; General Hospital; and The Young & The Restless. He has performed in over 100 television commercials.

His theatre credits include: From Another House (Old Globe Theatre); BUG; In the Heat of the Night (ion theatre); Beau Jest, Barefoot in thePark(AVO Playhouse); An Enemy of the People(Intrepid Shakespeare Company); Awakeand Sing!; To Kill a Mockingbird; Death of a Salesman; Golden Boy; Four Dogs and aBone(New Village Arts Theatre); The History Boys(Cygnet Theatre); Morning’s atSeven (North Coast Repertory Theatre); The Heir Apparent; The Sunshine Boys; How the Other Half Loves; Deathtrap; Not Now, Darling (Scripps Ranch Theatre) and One for the Road (Lyceum Theatre).

His directing credits include the world premieres of Ripples from Walden Pond (Cygnet Theatre) and W.C. Fields by Himself! (North Coast Repertory Theatre) as well as Play it Again Sam; Over the River and Through the Woods; a feminine ending; Sunset Park; Skin Deep; Good People; and For Better (Scripps Ranch Theatre). Eric has a BFA in acting from Boston University and an MA in directing from The State University of New York.

Jim Risser

Jim is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the retired director of the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists at Stanford University. A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, Jim reported for 20 years for the Des Moines Register, mostly as the paper’s Washington DC bureau chief until moving to Stanford in 1985. Jim served as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board from 1989 to 1999, including service on the Board’s Drama Committee. He was on the board of San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theatre, and, in 2003, he was elected to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival Board of Directors, where he served nine years, including a two-year term as president. His proudest moment there was chairing the search committee that chose Bill Rauch as OSF’s new artistic director. Jim and his wife Sandi started coming to Ashland in the late 1980s to see OSF plays and moved to Ashland in 2004. Both do volunteer work at OSF. They have attended the Ashland New Plays Festival ever since moving to Ashland.

Bill Saltzstein

Bill introduced himself to his future wife Rae off stage at a community theater rehearsal when he, as Harpo, walked up to her, hung his leg on her arm and honked. While it wasn’t necessarily love at first sight, it was the start of something wonderful that included three decades of trips to Ashland for OSF productions, and grew to include ANPF as well.

Bill is an electrical engineer, currently principal of Code Blue Communications, providing wireless medical device consulting services.  His corporate career started with the calculator group of Hewlett-Packard in Corvallis, and he left the corporate world as Director of Advanced Development for the Physio-Control division of Medtronic in Redmond, WA.

He has been a rabid theater fan since his childhood in the audience of the Milwaukee Rep, played both on and off stage in community theater, and has served on boards for Gallery Players of Oregon (McMinnville) and New Century Theater Company (Seattle).

After splitting time between Seattle and Ashland for nearly 10 years, Bill and Rae are now full time Ashland residents and are proud supporters of ANPF.

 

 

History

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Ashland New Plays Festival

The very first Ashland New Plays Festival, held in April 1993, featured a unique collaboration among local theatres. Seven new plays, written by local playwrights, were presented as readings, each in a different venue. The objective was to present new works, giving audiences, actors, and playwrights a role in the evolution of a new play. The catalyst for this groundbreaking event was the 150th anniversary of the Oregon Trail. Each play had to in some way reflect on the themes of heritage, adventure, or human perseverance in pursuit of a goal. The festival was supported in part by the Ashland Visitors and Convention Bureau and the Arts Council of Southern Oregon.

This collaboration among local theatres continued for the next three years. The energy and enthusiasm for a new plays festival culminated in the formation of a board of directors, who in 1996 reorganized a dormant nonprofit company under the name ArtWork Enterprises. One goal was to expand an educational component for both young people and adults; another was to become a major play development resource on the West Coast.

ANPF has evolved through several permutations over the years. It started as a loose collaboration among several local theatres, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), and eventually became a single nonprofit entity. Its mission, however, has remained remarkably constant. ANPF has always been dedicated to playwrights and the development and enhancement of new works for the theatre, with strong educational and outreach components.

Prior to 1997 as many as eight new works were read, in various venues around town, with submissions limited to playwrights of selected western states; 1997 was a watershed year in that only five plays were on the program, among them David Rambo’s Speaky-Spikey-Spokey. Also in that year, The Magic Fire by Lillian Garrett-Groag (ANPF 1995) premiered at OSF’s Angus Bowmer Theatre. Rambo’s enthusiasm for ANPF led to his subsequent return as host playwright. Robert Koon (ANPF 1999 and 2005) also returned as host playwright, as has E.M. Lewis (ANPF 2008), who was our host playwright from 2010 through 2016. Our current host playwright is Beth Kander (ANPF 2015 and ANPF 2016).

In 1998 a one-week summer program for young playwrights, Fresh Ink, was held. In partnership with faculty from Southern Oregon University (SOU), 20 high school students created an evening of short plays around a single theme. In 2000 playwright Karen Zacarías received the prestigious Helen Hayes Award at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, for her play The Sins of Sor Juana (ANPF 1999). In 2004 ANPF established residency at Oregon Stage Works for the flagship festival and, in conjunction with SOU students, introduced Ashland’s first 10-Minute Play Festival. The 24/7 Project was presented in 2007 and reprised in 2008.

In 2009 the festival was on hiatus as the organization was rebuilt from scratch by a group of recent enthusiasts and board members from its early years. The new board established a nonprofit organization—Ashland New Plays Festival, Inc.—with zero dollars in the bank. Because the 2009 call for scripts had been canceled, it was too late to mount a full-scale national festival, but the new board presented the ANPF Student Spotlight (four staged one-act plays) and a remount of E.M. Lewis’s Song of Extinction (ANPF 2008) at OSF’s Carpenter Hall as fundraisers. In 2010 the traditional festival was back, and the organization has been growing steadily ever since.

Under the guidance of now-retired Artistic Director Douglas Rowe, ANPF expanded its offerings by adding theatrical readings in support of the flagship festival, including David Rambo’s God’s Man in Texas, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, Lee Blessing’sA Walk in the Woods, Molly Tinsley’s The Limits of Bliss, William Gibson’s Golda’s Balcony, Richard Manley’s Quietus, Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), and Tom Mula’s Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol. Most of these were one-time productions, but ANPF Theatre Talk interviews, added in 2012, are ongoing, and the ANPF board of directors continues to explore ways to raise funds and bring exciting theatrical events to the Rogue Valley year-round.

 

Ashland New Plays Festival has remained a small but vital force in the community for over a quarter century. This success is a reflection of the many people who recognize the value of theatre in their lives and believe in the need for a continuous search for new works. ANPF has given scores of playwrights from far and wide the forum to have their fledgling works read before a supportive, knowledgeable, and insightful audience.

For our flagship festival in October, the winning playwrights are in residence for an entire week. During this fertile time, they talk with other playwrights, receive counsel from our host playwright, and have ample opportunities to discuss their plays in informal social settings. Testimonials from past winners attest to the value of our festival—its supportive atmosphere, instant feedback, and emphasis on the words. Additional evidence of the value of the experience is that many winning playwrights continue to submit work to us. Dori Appel, Robert Barnett, Bob Clyman, Leonard Gross, Robert Koon, Richard Manley, James McLindon, Jamie Pachino, Carla Seaquist, Beth Kander, Stephanie Alison Walker, and Ian August are among those whose scripts have won more than once. The success stories of plays emerging from our relatively small festival are too numerous to list here, so we have a Where Are They Now? page that keeps up with past winning plays and playwrights’ awards and world premieres.

ANPF has made its mark both locally and nationally, and from the very beginning three key elements have been necessary for a successful festival: the selection of exciting new plays by exceptional playwrights, world-class directors and actors who bring life to the pages, and the many people behind the scenes who do their parts to make ANPF one of the premier new play festivals in the country.

As we celebrate nearly 30 years, we like to think that the work of the next generation of great American playwrights might begin with a reading at ANPF.

In the News

A look back at ANPF news, reviews, and features:

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Ashland Daily Tidings: Backstage with Kyle Haden of Ashland New Plays Festival

“We started Play4Keeps a year and a half ago to take the next step in what Ashland New Plays Festival does: promote playwrights to get their work out there and to reach a broader audience. There are a lot of people outside of this area interested in what we are doing. This is a way to spread that reach.” – ANPF Artistic Director Kyle Haden

Ashland Daily Tidings: Theatre Talk: Public interviews on private thoughts

“[Theatre Talk] allows the audience to see into these performers as people, the same way you would interview any artist. It allows them to connect with them and understand what they do on stage, how it comes about, who they are and where they come from, and it allows us to appreciate the performances with a much greater depth.”

Rogue Valley Messenger: Setting the Stage for Morality Conversations: Ashland New Plays Festival presents great plays, but hard questions

“[Ashland New Plays Festival is] a rare and unique glimpse into the process of a script hatching into a fully-staged production—and, for four days this month, four new scripts will showcase some of the best playwriting talent in the country—and with themes that are as engaging as they are thorny.”

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Jefferson Exchange: New Plays Fest Presents Fully Staged "Gun Show"

“I didn’t try and go down the middle. I tried to reach out toward both sides and include everybody in the conversation. This is not a centrist play, this is an inclusive play.” - E.M. Lewis on her play The Gun Show

Mail Tribune: Play Tackles Gun Debate in America

"I want to believe we have more in common with each other than what separates us — that there are human values that we hold in common that are larger than the political values that are separating us now,” she said. “But it’s not an easy time. I don’t know how we find common ground except one conversation at a time, one person at a time sitting across a table or sitting in a room together and saying, ‘What connects us?’” - E.M. Lewis

Jefferson Exchange: New Play on Loveless Church: "God Hates You"

"Theater is at its best when it’s making you think about something that might make you uncomfortable or you don’t want to think about... I’m interested in complicated stories about taboo subjects or people that you think you know or hate, and then really having a conversation… I would never want someone to walk out of one of my plays and be like ‘What a nice play, where should we go for dinner?’" - Chip Walton, Artistic Director of Curious Theatre Company and director of ANPF's workshop of #GodHatesYou by Emily Dendinger

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Ashland Daily Tidings: New Plays Power New Perspectives

"It’s the anticipation of something new and unexpected, something moving and dramatic, that draws in the participants. Every classic play was a new play at one point in time," says Ashland New Plays Festival’s Artistic Director Kyle Haden.

"Being part of that beginning process is exciting for the artists writing, for those directly working on the plays, for our readers sifting through all the plays looking for that gem, and for audience members who don’t really know what they’ll experience.”

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Ashland Daily Tidings: Pulitzer-winning play incubated in Ashland

Martyna Majok wins 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play Cost of Living, an ANPF Women's Invitational Winner in 2016

“As an incubator for new plays, to help the next great plays come to fruition, we want to make sure we’re drawing stories from all the best playwrights. There are a lot of stories out there that aren’t being told and viewpoints that aren’t being represented. Since women are the largest group to be under-represented in theater today, shouldn’t we start with them?”

[ANPF Artistic Director Kyle Haden] notes, “It’s a beautiful play. I’ve been excited to watch its journey after our reading here…through its major productions, and now being recognized with one of the highest honors a play can receive. I couldn’t be more thrilled for Martyna.”

Jefferson Public RadioScripts, Actors, and Audiences Converge in Ashland

"The audiences always blow me away with their thoughtfulness... There really is an appetite for new work." - Beth Kander, ANPF host playwright

"What we're doing is part of the core of what theatre has always been." - Jackie Apodaca, ANPF associative artistic director

"We're creating an ensemble pursuit. It's a great opportunity to get the playwrights together." - Kyle Haden, ANPF artistic director

Jefferson Exchand Ashland New Plays Festival Fall 2017 Beth Kander Jackie Apodaca Kyle Haden

Ashland Daily Tidings: Play hits home for reviewer

"I’ve seen a lot of good plays at ANPF over the last few years, but nothing has been quite as good as Blake Hackler’s What We Were, an astonishing new play…

…it will help any viewer to better navigate the brutal dynamics with which so many adult survivors must live on a daily basis. It could help some of us come to better terms with our past and our futures, and to feel less alone.

If that’s not the point of theater, I don’t know what is." - Jeffrey Gillespie

Ashland Daily Tidings: ‘Constellations’ playwright a word-smithing star

"Everyone involved brought their best, and Payne is a contemporary voice to be reckoned with, so it’s no surprise that Constellations was a triumphant evening of intimate theater for those of us lucky enough to attend. Let’s hope Ashland New Plays Festival will continue to move in this direction. Constellations was a worthwhile night for all involved."

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Ashland Daily Tidings: ‘Translated’ version of ‘Edward III’ works well

"Performed by a group of excellent actors from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the translation to modern verse by award-winning playwright Octavio Solis is a lyrical, sensitive work by a gifted dramatist. Solis has clearly not cut corners in his research into the play. His sharp and inspired version is illuminating, accessible and cleverly executed."

Ashland Daily Tidings: Ashland New Plays Festival presents “Edward III” in modern verse

Jefferson Public Radio: “Shakespeare” Classic Gets New Words

KDRV 12: OSF Beyond the Stage and Into the Community

Ashland Daily Tidings: Ashland New Plays Festival Marks Quarter Century

Ashland Daily Tidings: ANPF Delivers Insights Out of “EdanEv”

Mail Tribune: Ashland New Plays Festival gets personal, political
(Note correction: Festival Passes were available for purchase until October 1 through our newsletter order form.)

Ashland Daily Tidings: Exploring Purple Mountain’s Majesty – and Secrets

Medford Mail Tribune: ANPF Showcases Women Playwrights

Jefferson Exchange: Women Plays and Playwrights Celebrated at ANPF

Ashland New Plays Festival is all about celebrating new works and new voices. And its quest for diversity led to this spring’s first ever “Women’s Invitational,” featuring works and workshops from women playwrights.

CNN: America’s Best Small Towns

"Wacky and wonderful, Ashland is an arts lover’s dream. It’s home to the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, Ashland New Plays Festival and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the largest regional repertory theater in the United States."

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Boston Globe: Act 1: We need more women playwrights

"…gender parity is a compelling issue that should command the attention of everyone in theater. Ashland New Plays Festival in Ashland, Ore., just completed its 23d season presenting dramatic readings to enthusiastic audiences of four plays. The works were selected from blind readings of hundreds sent us by playwrights around the country. Approximately one in five we received were from women. Not surprisingly, all four winning plays were written by men. Last year, three of four winners were men.

We need more women playwrights to send us their work. That is a critical first step toward change." - James Pagliasotti, ANPF Board President

Ashland Daily Tidings: Meet the real Jacob Marley

Medford Mail Tribune: Longtime Ashland New Plays Festival artistic director is retiring

Ashland Daily Tidings: New Plays Debut at ANPF

The Jefferson Monthly: Theatre and the Arts

OLLI Forum: Address by ANPF 2014 Artistic Director Douglas Rowe

Medford Mail Tribune: ANPF Presents “In the Next Room”

Ashland Daily Tidings: ANPF Presents “In the Next Room (or the vibrator play)”

Interview with Kate Hurster: Kate Talks about Readings, Ruhl, and Room

Medford Mail Tribune: “Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol” One-Man Show Spins Dickens Tale from Marley’s Point of View

Jefferson Public Radio: Ashland New Plays Festival Rolls Out Readings

Medford Mail Tribune: Staged Readings Showcase New Playwrights

The Dramatist: ANPF Names This Year’s Winning Playwrights

Ashland Daily Tidings: When Ethics and Entrepreneurs Collide

Ashland Daily Tidings: Professionally Staged

San Francisco Chronicle: The “Works”: Cary Pepper

The Dramatist: ANPF Names This Year’s Winning Playwrights

Sneak Preview: ANPF 2012 Winning Playwrights

Sneak Preview: Profile of Marketing Director Elizabeth von Radics

Ashland Daily Tidings: AHS Senior Nick Mckernan Wins ANPF scholarship

Honolulu Star Advertiser: The Play’s Not the Only Thing; Ashland Is an Adventureland

The Dramatist: ANPF 2011 Saw Record Audiences, Gave the Playwrights a Profound Experience

American Theatre magazine: News in Brief

Medford Mail Tribune: Enter, Stage Left, the Volunteer Reader

Ashland Daily Tidings: Review: Countdown to the Happy Day

Ashland Daily Tidings: Profile: Front Rowe Center

AshlandPlayReviews.com: OSF All-Stars Perform in Ashland New Plays Festival

Ashland Daily Tidings: ANPF 2011

Ashland Daily Tidings: A Walk in the Woods

Medford Mail Tribune: Mike Farrell: A Responsibility to Speak Out

Medford Mail Tribune: Drama Dreams: ANPF Scholarship Winner Aurelia Grierson

Ashland Daily Tidings: Molly Tinsley’s The Limits of Bliss

Medford Mail Tribune: ANPF Offers $500 Scholarship to AHS Graduating Senior

Ashland Daily Tidings: ANPF 2010

Medford Mail Tribune: ANPF 2010

Ashland Daily Tidings: Guest Opinion: New Theatre of Classics

Medford Mail Tribune: Death of a Salesman

Medford Mail Tribune: God’s Man in Texas

Ashland Daily Tidings: Song of Extinction

Ashland Daily Tidings: ANPF Student Spotlight

Medford Mail Tribune: New Plays and New Writers: ANPF Student Spotlight