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AACT NewPlayFest 2016
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About AACT NewPlayFest 2016

AACT answers a critical need in developing exciting new plays that our audiences will enjoy with AACT NewPlayFest!

The theatre that produces a new play brings a brand new adventure to its company and patrons. The world premiere of an award-winning show is a feather in a theatre’s cap! AACT wants to make that happen in more communities. AACT NewPlayFest will streamline the process!

There is no shortage of new works, especially by unpublished playwrights. But how do theatres find the time to read them and cull out the ones their communities will enjoy? Many theatres have new play contests, but few produce the winning scripts and talk to other theatres about them. Yet a script is not likely to be published unless it is produced and creates a buzz; and it is not likely to reach future audiences if it is not published. So how do playwrights get their work produced and published?

This was the challenge presented to AACT by a member playwright several years ago. A task force was appointed to address the issue and the AACT Board adopted its recommendation for a new play program. Thanks to Texas Nonprofit Theatres (TNT) for leading the way! This program is modeled on TNT’s POPS! – Producing Original Plays program.

AACT NewPlayFest is a national new play festival that takes place over a two year period. But unlike AACTFest, productions don’t have to travel. Selected theatres produce the winning scripts in their local communities and AACT spreads the buzz with nation-wide promotion! Plus the winning plays will be published in an anthology by Dramatic Publishing Company!

Here’s how it works.

Producing Theatres:

AACT has selected seven member theatres to produce the winning plays. Theatres will provide a fully realized production between July 2015 and December 2016 and for bring in the playwright for a rehearsal or a performance.

Click here for Theatre Guidelines.



Individuals are needed to volunteer to read and score the scripts. Each script will be reviewed by at least three persons. Those that rise to the top will be read by a second set of Reviewers. Their scores will determine the finalists.
Click here for Reviewer information and application.


Plays need to be full-length, non-musicals that have never had a full production. Submissions will be accepted September 1 - November 1, 2014.
Click here for Playwright information and script submission.

Selecting the Winners:

The scripts that make it to the final round will be submitted to the Producing Theatres, which will select the winning shows to produce. Winning plays will be announced in June 2015. 

The Festival:

AACT will work with the Producing Theatres to compile a festival calendar and a promotional plan, including social media, to encourage attendance at the productions and consideration of the winning plays for production by other theatres.

The theatre that produces a new play often contributes to the future development of the piece. It illustrates to the playwright what works or doesn’t work. The interpretations of the director and the actors may reveal insights into the work that even the playwright didn’t know were there. A first production allows the playwright to discover what needs to be rewritten to make it more effective. 

Producing a new play is an exciting process! Think seriously about participating in AACT NewPlayFest as a producing theatre, a playwright, or a reviewer. Get in on the ground floor of an exciting theatrical journey!

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