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New Play InstituteFostering Plays, Playwrights and Best Practices

Fostering the creation of new work, the growth of early and mid-career playwrights and the development of best practices in new play development. 

Launched in July 2009 and expanded in 2011 with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Voices New Play Institute is a center for the creation of new work and the development of effective practices and processes for new-play development for the American theater.

In its first three years, the Institute focused on programs designed to test and develop promising advances in new play development around the country, with the intention of developing the infrastructure for new plays and new voices nationwide. That work resulted in the successful launch of #NewPlay TV, the blog Howlround and the creation of a national online New Play Map. These programs of the Institute were so successful that they took on a life and service to the field of their own and in 2012 were successfully moved out of Arena Stage to continue independently at ArtsEmerson in Boston, Massachusetts. Arena Stage’s role in creating these programs will be publicly credited and noted in their history in perpetuity.

Now that these documentation and dissemination platforms have been successfully developed and launched by Arena Stage, the New Play Institute will refocus its energies around our Resident Playwrights, the further development of our Theater 101 Audience Enrichment Seminars and the creation of new development opportunities for writers locally and nationally. We will also move several existing initiatives under the umbrella of the Institute to further streamline and underline our commitment to the development of new work.  In the coming year we will also begin experimenting with involving directors, designers and other artists in the Institute, as we expand the model to further develop a community of collaborative artists dedicated to new play development within the Institute and throughout Arena Stage.