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 anonymized 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 year 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.
Jackie Apodaca, Artistic Director
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, 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, 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.
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.
Kara Q. Lewis, Program 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.
Haley Jane Forsyth, Production Manager
Haley Jane Forsyth is a stage manager, performer, director, and choreographer who has lived and worked in the Rogue Valley for the last seven years. Acting credits include: Marthe Daubriel in Poirot: Murder on the Links and Ex-Girlfriend in Once: The Musical (Oregon Cabaret Theater); Maid Marian in Sherwood: The Adventures of Robin Hood and Chris Mundy in Dancing at Lughnasa (Collaborative Theatre Project); Lucy Van Pelt in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Ghostlight Playhouse); Florence Vassy in Chess: The Musical (Livia Genise Productions). Stage managing credits include Triumph of Love, Waiting for Godot and Broadway Bound (CTP); Guys and Dolls and Saucy Jack and The Space Vixens (TMCC Theatre). Director/choreographer credits include Peter Pan and Spotlight on Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (Camelot Theatre); Marry Me a Little (Randall Theatre). Learn more about Haley.
Alysia Beltran, Casting Assistant and Covid Compliance Officer
Alysia N. Beltran is a professional actor and theater-maker based in the Rogue Valley. She currently supports the Legal Department at Lithia Motors with licensing and compliance matters. She brings to her new role at ANPF years of contract management and legal support along with her love for creating ground-breaking theater. She is deeply rooted in the local theater community and is excited to take part in its growth. You can find her developing new material from writers and composers all over the country. Some notable projects Alysia has been associated with: Colour My World (new musical by the band, Chicago); Sueños: Our American Musical; and The Copper Children. She earned her Bachelor of Arts cum laude from San Francisco State University. Learn more about Alysia.
Katie Bullock, Administrative Assistant
Katie Bullock has recently joined the ANPF team as an administrative and casting assistant, but she has been with ANPF since 2017 as an intern while earning a BFA in performance from Southern Oregon University. She participated in the reading of The Night Climber at ANPF in 2019. Her other theatre credits include: Pickles in The Great American Trailer Park Musical; The Odd Couple (Oregon Cabaret Theater); Spectacle of Commedia; Children Explain Shakespeare (OSF Green Show); Emma in confirm me (Workshop); Casey in the immediate future (Real Actors Lab); Liz/Beth in If/Then; Elektra in Elektra; Baker’s Wife in Into The Woods; Ethel Rosenberg in Angels in America parts 1& 2; Adele in A Man of No Importance (Oregon Center for the Arts). She is in the midst of moving to Seattle and then New York to a career in acting. Learn more about Katie.
Danya Torp-Pereda, Production Assistant
Danya Torp-Pereda has been an active participant with ANPF both as an intern and an actor. She is from Boise, Idaho, and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Southern Oregon University. Credits there include A Vampire Story by Moira Buffini and Polaroid Stories by Naomi Iizuka. She has been acting since she was in the fifth grade and credits most of her passion from viewing productions throughout her life and thinking “Wow, I want to do that!” Her most notable such memory was seeing The River Bride at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, sparking her desire to share Latinx stories on stages worldwide. Learn more about Danya.
Editor & Reader Committee Co-Chair
Script Submission Coordinator
Reader Committee Co-Chair
Reader Committee Co-Chair
Fall Festival House Manager
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.
Bill Saltzstein, Treasurer
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.
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.
Kenneth Benton has enjoyed living in Ashland since 2015. Prior to that, he lived in Oklahoma City where he was a freelance theatre director for decades. Kenneth has served as a reader for ANPF for three years, in addition to being an active board member for the Tudor Guild at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for many years. He is currently serving as the President of the Board of Trustees of the Mountain Meadows Community Foundation.
He has an undergraduate degree in Theatre Acting and Directing and a Master’s Degree in Gerontology. Kenneth is a former President of the Oklahoma Community Theatre Association and has also served on the national board of the American Community Theatre Association. He is retired from the Oklahoma City Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, where he coordinated the coin and currency needs for all the commercial banks throughout Oklahoma. He is also retired from his position as CEO of the largest single-site, continuing-care retirement community in Oklahoma City. Kenneth is a former board member and president of The Aging Consortium of Oklahoma City and also a retired nursing home administrator.
Tristan Cameron began his journey as a theatre artist in a middle school production of Oklahoma! From the moment he stepped on stage he knew he wanted to be a part of this world for the rest of his life.
He proceeded to pursue his passion all throughout high school and eventually into upper education. After a brief term at Central Washington University he transferred to Southern Oregon University where he achieved a BFA in performance. His Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU credits include Angels in America: Perestroika directed by Jim Edmonson and Circle Mirror Transformations directed by Sydney Langlie.
Tristan is grateful for all of the experience he has gained thus far. He has learned much through working with organizations such as the Oregon Children's Theater in their Young Professionals program as well as The Keller Auditorium in a production of The Nutcracker. And now with ANPF as both a script reader and serving on the board of directors.
Miriam A. Laube is a mixed race, first generation American actor, producer, and director. She recently directed The Tempest for Santa Cruz Shakespeare. For 16 seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Miriam was an actor and producer, where she had the honor of working with an extraordinary company of artists. Her favorite roles include Cleopatra, Olivia, Hermione, Rosalind and Julia, The Witch in Into the Woods and Vasantasena in The Clay Cart. She is proud to have originated the roles of Gynecia in Head Over Heels, Maruca in Party People, and Cleo in Family Album. Additionally at OSF, she served as the Associate Director on productions of Oklahoma and Pirates of Penzance. She also served as a Development Consultant at OSF, curating and hosting a bi-weekly interview series. She has worked on Broadway in Bombay Dreams and regionally at Berkeley Rep, Dallas Theater Center, Milwaukee Rep, Baltimore Center Stage, and The Guthrie Theater. She received a Henry Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the original production of The Book of Will at the Denver Center. Miriam is honored to be both a Fox Fellow and a Lunt-Fontanne Fellow.
She believes that theater at its best celebrates the human spirit, by creating workplaces and works of art that invite a diversity of voices into the story telling and the story making. This allows a space where one can examine the conflicts of the national dialogue through metaphor, gifting us the ability to hear with fresh ears and see with new eyes points of view and stories that are not our own and that , through the tools of the theater, can reveal or startle or wonder us into a deeper connection to our collective humanity, allowing us to exclaim, “I recognize you in me!”
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.
Doreen O’Skea has been a resident of Ashland, OR, for the past fifteen years. Prior to that she was a bit of a vagabond. Born and raised in the shadow of the rain forest in the Pacific Northwest, she fell in love with theatre at a precocious age and put on puppet shows with her cousins to raise money so they could go see “grown-up” plays in Seattle and Tacoma. As an ambitious high school student, she organized the drama club bake sale to earn enough money for the 11-hour bus ride to Ashland to see plays. Experiencing three plays in two days, she went home and told her parents, “I want to do that!” In college she majored in theatre management with a minor in philanthropy; in graduate school the focus was arts administration, public relations and philanthropy.
Through the years she has held a variety of positions and enjoyed ‘other duties as assigned’ in her work. At the University of Portland, she curated a reunion weekend that brought 200 alumni back to campus for a day and a half to a four-day event with over 3,000 alumni in attendance. At St. Bonaventure University, she created a series of fundraising opportunities: in Washington, D.C., at the National Holocaust Museum with Bob Edwards; at the Plaza Hotel with Michael Bloomberg; and, in Buffalo, NY, with Bob Lanier, raising over two million dollars in seven days. She got to stage manage the 2005 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show at the Historic New York Armory and work with Dita Von Teese, Heidi Klum, and Ricky Martin. During a stint at Microsoft as the PR lead for MS Robotics, she placed over 2,300 unique stories in worldwide media in two days with the launch of the robotics software, wrote a script for Bill Gates for the Consumer Electronics Show, and organized a three-week media junket for the MS Robotics Team. After her sojourn in the corporate world, she returned to non-profit work as the Director of Alumni Relations for Southern Oregon University. She established the now-annual President’s Recognition Dinner, the presentation of three Alumni Awards and one Community Service Award, bringing in $250,000 at the dinner for Student Scholarships. From there she was recruited to work at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where she raised over $11 million in a decade through engagement, strategy, cultivation, and stewardship.
After the world shut down in 2020, a close encounter with the Almeda Wildfires and an adventure with breast cancer, Doreen decided to change her life and career focus. She is now the Director of Philanthropy for The Peregrine Fund and is helping conserve Birds of Prey worldwide. Literally, worldwide. There are 559 species of raptors on six continents and the goal is to preserve their habitats and keep the apex predators healthy and thriving. In her spare time, she likes to run marathons, read plays, attend theatre, raise money for a variety of projects, spend time with family and friends, laugh a lot, and pet as many dogs as she possibly can.
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:
Jefferson Public Radio: Ashland New Plays Festival lays out plans for live events this year
“This company is really a company that is of, by, and for the community. And our community is getting bigger."
- ANPF Artistic Director Jackie Apodaca”
Mail Tribune: Ashland New Plays Returns to In-Person Events
Mail Tribune: Readings of New Plays Available On-Demand
Ashland New Plays Festival: Ashland New Plays Festival Goes Online
American Theatre Magazine: Ashland New Plays Festival 2021 Slate Announced
Ashland Daily Tidings: Budding Playwrights Meet in Virtual Retreat
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 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.”
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
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 Radio: Scripts, 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
Ashland Daily Tidings: ‘Dark Night’ is full of life’s complications
Jefferson Public Radio: Scripts, Actors, and Audiences Converge in Ashland
Ashland Daily Tidings: ANPF celebrates cream of the crop
Ashland Daily Tidings: What makes a good play?
Ashland Daily Tidings: Helping make Ashland ‘an oasis for playwrights’
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."
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
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
Sneak Preview: Kyle Haden and Ashland New Plays Festival
Ashland Daily Tidings: Theater more important than ever
Ashland Daily Tidings: Ashland New Plays Festival seeks out most interesting story telling
Medford Mail Tribune: ANPF brings winning playwrights to Ashland
Jefferson Public Radio: This Season’s Flock: Ashland New Plays Festival
American Theatre magazine: Ashland New Plays Festival Announces Four-Play Program
Medford Mail Tribune: ANPF presents ‘The Little Dog Laughed’
Ashland Daily Tidings: Reading the play’s the thing volunteers do
Medford Mail Tribune: Ashland New Plays Festival is ready to grow, says new director
Ashland Daily Tidings: Ashland New Plays Festival chooses new artistic director
"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."
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
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
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