AACT’s NewPlayFest launched ten 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.
While no one knows yet what productions will be chosen for NewPlayFest 2026, it’s certain we can look forward to six more extraordinary world premieres. The future of NewPlayFest looks bright, indeed.
NewPlayFest: Producing Theatres, 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.