NewPlayFest 2026 | AACT

NewPlayFest 2026

Celebrating 10 Years of World Premieres

NewPlayFest logoAACT’s NewPlayFest launched 10 years ago, when the world premiere of Exit Laughing, by Paul Elliott opened at Springfield Little Theatre in Sprinfield, Missouri, on November 15, 2014. Since that inaugural production, NewPlayFest has presented over 30 world premieres in 22 states, with six more productions opening in 2024.

Over the festival's 10 years,  AACT has worked to improve and enhance the process, adding an official AACT Dramaturg and workshop components during the rehearsal period. As a result, scripts are tighter and more polished by the time they are published and licensed through Dramatic Publishing Company.

Playwright Michael Higgins says that the dramaturgy workshop was invaluable, explaining that “by the end of the workshop, we all had a solid grasp of what the production could be.” He expressed his gratitude to “collaborators who spot every issue and over not just critiques, but possible solutions. At the same time, they’re careful to leave all final decisions in the hands of the playwright.”

The final results speak for themselves. Theatre Tuscaloosa’s premiere production of Higgins' Launch Day (Love Stories from the Year 2108) advanced through state and regional competitions, then was performed at AACTFest 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky, and has new productions scheduled this year, from New York to Tennessee.

WithNewPlayFest 2026, we can look forward to six more extraordinary world premieres. The future of NewPlayFest looks bright, indeed.

Call for Playwrights & Reviewers

>> Call for Scripts [Scripts will be accepted May 1st through June 30, 2024.]

>> Call for Reviewers
AACT is seeking individuals with the time, interest, and theatre expertise to review and score scripts submitted to AACT NewPlayFest. For the 2026 cycle, the scripts will first go through an elimination round conducted by a select group of Reviewers. In the next round three Reviewers will evaluate each script. Their scores will determine the scripts that advance to the semi-final round. A final set of theatre professionals will comprise the last set of reviews and will determine the finalists. The Producing Theatres will select the winning plays. 

NewPlayFest 2026 Producing Theatres

The Producing Theatres have been selected for AACT NewPlayFest 2026. The theatres will read scripts that make it to the final round, select the winning plays, and produce the world premiere of the winning plays between June 2025 and December 2026.

Green Leaf IconWaterville Opera House
Waterville, Maine (Region I)

Since its construction in 1902 to celebrate the City of Waterville’s centennial, the Waterville Opera House has hosted countless events including plays, musicians, vaudeville acts, dancers, poets, circuses, and more. In 1973, the Waterville Opera House Improvement Association was founded with the mission of maintaining and preserving the space. The association raised millions of dollars for the theatre and eventually oversaw a massive renovation in 2012.

Today, the Waterville Opera House has a thriving community theatre program that produces four mainstage productions, three weeks of theatre camp for students, and four touring productions for school-aged children. In addition to their theatre programming, they also present nationally touring musicians, comedians, authors and other live performances, as well as co-host the Maine International Film Festival. Often referred to as a “hidden gem” by those who see it for the first time, its architecture never fails to impress. Most importantly, it has continued to follow the vision laid out by community leader, Frank Redington, during his address at the June 23, 1902 building dedication: “Here we may laugh, and here we may cry. Here we may listen to the voice of the oratory and the charms of the oratorio. Here thousands may be swayed by the power of eloquence, and questions of great movement considered, debated and determined.”

Green Leaf IconWestchester Collaborative Theater
Ossining, New York (Region II)

Westchester Collaborative Theater (WCT) was founded 14 years ago as a new play development theatre company. Since then, the company has broadened its outreach to welcome member artists from the Tri-State area (NY/NJ/CT) who have an interest in incubating new work for the theatre. The black box theatre has found an enthusiastic, dedicated audience who appreciate the concept of welcoming new work to the stage.    

Each year, WCT presents at least two mainstage productions, several play readings, and their foundational bi-monthly Lab workshops. Committed to furthering theatre arts in their community, WCT is also involved in various youth theatre and outreach programs to local senior residences and arts organizations.

Green Leaf IconPlayers de Noc, Inc.
Escanaba, Michigan (Region III)

Players de Noc is an all-volunteer community theatre dedicated to creating high-quality theatrical experiences that entertain, enrich, and educate people of all ages. Approaching their 60th season, Players de Noc produces an average of five productions each year, in addition to theatrical events such as historical cemetery walks, radio programming, and readers theatre in local schools.

Players de Noc takes pride in being a place for artists to grow and develop. Throughout the years, they have produced countless original works and have received several awards at the state, regional, and national levels, including Outstanding Achievement in Technical Direction at AACTFest 2021 for their production of Jerry’s Brain.

Green Leaf IconTheatre Salina
Salina, Kansas (Region V)

Founded in 1960, Theatre Salina is a non-profit educational organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of people in Salina and the surrounding region by creating a broad range of quality theatrical programs for their entertainment and education, and to provide people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunity to participate in play production and other theatre activities.

Theatre Salina currently produces 14 productions each season, including their seven-show subscription series, Center for Theatre Arts youth productions, their After Dark series, and original dance productions. Theatre Salina has been the National Winner of AACTFest 2001 with its production of Wit, the recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award for organizational excellence, and the Twink Lynch Award.

Green Leaf IconVortex Theatre
Albuquerque, New Mexico (Region VI)

Founded in 1976, Vortex Theatre is New Mexico's oldest continuously producing black box theatre. Over their 48 years, they have produced more than 500 plays, many of them new works and world premieres. In addition to their nine mainstage productions, they also partner with Albuquerque Public Schools to produce Wrinkle Writing, a program wherein students at all grade levels work together to create plays based on personal experiences while enhancing individual literacy, confidence and teamwork skills, as well as monthly play readings for local playwrights.

Vortex Theatre is excited to produce a NewPlayFest winning script in their 50th anniversary season, an honor they held in 2018 with their NewPlayFest world premiere production of Mynx & Savage by Rebecca Gorman O’Neill.

Green Leaf IconKenai Performers, Inc.
Soldotna, Alaska (Region IX)

Kenai Performers has promoted, produced, and performed high-quality, live theatre on the central Kenai Peninsula since 1967. It promotes education in the performing arts, demonstrates the power of live theatre to enrich the community, and awards scholarships in the arts. Kenai Performers provides hands-on production experience in backstage theatre craft and protocol. Its performances invite community-wide participation in the live theatre experience.

In addition to their four or five mainstage productions each year, Kenai Performers hosts a summer youth drama camp, annual swing dance workshop followed by several social dance opportunities, costume and prop support for local school productions and other performing groups, plus ongoing education and training for volunteers in all aspects of theatre. They are a creative home for the imagination — providing an open venue for the vibrant arts of our community.


Green Leaf IconTheatre33
Bellevue, Washington (Region 9)

Theatre33 is a bilingual 501(c)(3) non-profit community educational theatre, the only independent theatre in Bellevue.  We provide a unique platform for transplanted immigrants and next generation Americans to retain and maintain their connection to history, literature, and language. Theatre33 serves as a hub for their multilingual community that bridges diverse cultures across continents and ages through the creative process of staging contemporary and classic works, educational workshops, and family-centered events. Theatre33 is fluent in English and Russian, which is one of the top 5 languages spoken in Washington state and 7th-most spoken language in the world by the number of native speakers.  In addition to preserving the cultural identity, they enjoy sharing our rich heritage with non-Russian speakers. With a full season of programming for audiences of all ages, Theatre33’s productions are subtitled, whenever possible, to allow mixed-language families, language learners, and non-target language speaking patrons to have a complete and quality experience.


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