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NEA New Play DEVELOPMENT Program

In January 2011, Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater will present the #NewPlay Festival of Round 1 of the NEA New Play Development Program which will include performances and readings of the seven selected projects and the world premiere of the documentary film about the Program.  The #NewPlay Festival marks the end of Round 1 and will feature:

Five NEA Distinguished New Play Development Projects

  • I’ve Never Been So Happy by Kirk Lynn / Rude Mechanicals (Austin, TX).
  • Pastures of Heaven by Octavio Solis / Word for Word / California Shakespeare Theater (Berkeley, CA)
  • Happy End of the World by Lloyd Suh / The Children’s Theatre Company (Minneapolis, MN) and Ma-Yi Theater Company (New York, NY)
  • Provenance of Beauty by Claudia Rankine / The Foundry Theatre (New York, NY)
  • Agnes Under the Big Top, A Tall Tale by Aditi Brennan Kapil / Lark Play Development Center (New York, NY), Mixed Blood Theatre (Minneapolis, MN), The Playwrights’ Center (Minneapolis, MN), InterAct Theatre Company (Philadelphia, PA), Rhodopi Theatre Lab (Smolyn, Bulgaria)

Two NEA Outstanding New American Plays

  • Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph / Center Theatre Group (Los Angeles, CA)
  • The Brother/Sister Plays by Tarell Alvin McCraney / McCarter Theatre (Princeton, NJ)


View NEA New Play Development Program in a larger map

In June of 2007, the National Endowment for the Arts issued a request for proposals looking for a “Cooperator“ for a new Leadership Initiative for New Play Development. The goal of Round 1 of the NEA New Play Development Program that Arena Stage administered was:

“To advance the American nonprofit theater's ability to provide meaningful support for new work. This program will provide support to theater institutions for the development of new plays of substantial merit. ...This initiative will also identify, organize, and disseminate widely in the theater field information on effective collaborative models for the sustained development of outstanding new American plays.”

Arena Stage was selected to partner with the NEA on the New Play Development Program as a result of a national competition. In this establishing language of the NPDP, there are three primary areas of focus for Round 1 of this program:

  • Providing financial support for the playwrights and institutions developing outstanding new American plays;
  • Advancing the field's ability to provide meaningful support of the development process for new work, and;
  • Disseminating information on effective models for developing outstanding new American plays.

Round 1 Information

Round 1 White Papers

Additional Information

In June 2010
Arena Stage withdrew from
administering Round 2 of the Program.
Read more
In October 2008
Seven projects were selected for support in Round 1 and an additional eleven projects were named by the panel as finalists. Read more
New Play Blog
Documents the process and
progress of each project
Read here