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Local and National Playwrights Reveal New Plays at the Arkansas New Play Festival

Back for its 16th year, the Arkansas New Play Festival will showcase original plays by local and national playwrights at multiple venues across Northwest Arkansas from Jun 14–23.

Reserve Passes HERE.

The Arkansas New Play Festival (ANPF) has helped incubate the development of more than 75 new plays, many of which have become major productions and won awards. For instance, FLEX by Candrice Jones ran last summer at the Lincoln Center with an all-star cast after co-premiering at TheatreSquared and being developed at ANPF a few summers ago.

Another ANPF alum, Responders by Arkansan playwright Joseph Scott Ford, will take the stage at TheatreSquared for its world premiere run from Jun 5-30 Tickets are available HERE.

As part of this year’s festival, Ford is set to lead a free playwriting workshop in conjunction with the Fayetteville Public Library on Jun 18 from 5:30-7:30p. Register for the workshop HERE.

“The Arkansas New Play Fest is one of the most important contributions TheatreSquared can make to the theater world,” says T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford. “New works bring fresh perspectives and diverse voices to the stage, reflecting the ever-changing cultural and social landscape. Additionally, supporting emerging playwrights and innovative stories helps to engage new audiences, stimulate creative growth, and maintain the vibrancy and dynamism of the theater community at large.”

In addition to watching/attending the performances, you’re also invited to hear from the playwrights about their process, share your own thoughts with the creative team, and help shape new works from the ground up. Through the Festival, TheatreSquared seeks to give voice to playwrights whose timely and relevant stories resonate with the moment we live in—in Arkansas, in mid-America, and as a nation.

This year’s new play lineup will feature staged readings of:

  • Eugene Onegin by Sarah Gancher
    directed by Ken Cerniglia

    Eugene Onegin by Sarah Gancher (creator of the Obie Award-winning Russian Troll Farm) is a modern bluegrass musical that is half pickin' party and half barbeque. Pushkin's novel-in-verse and Tchaikovsky's opera have been reset and given new life in 1940s rural Arkansas, when a girl who dreams of writing songs falls for a magnetic but jaded touring musician.

    Saturday, June 15 at 5p (at Ovations Plus)

    Saturday, June 22 at 5:30p (at TheatreSquared)

  • Have to Believe We Are Magic by Sara Guerrero
    directed by Fran De Leon

    What is magic? Are we magic? And if so, how do we hold it? This part-biographical-part-magic love letter to a Pocha-Chicana-Latina coming-of-age time is filled with roller-skating, family, friendships, sex, love, abortion, and self-discovery. How does one keep and find their magic? All unfolds under the shadow of "The Magic Kingdom" (or “The Tragic Kingdom”) in central Orange County, California, in the summer of 1994.

    Friday, June 14 at 7p (at The Medium)

    Sunday, June 23 at 2pm(at TheatreSquared)

  • Edi Ya & Diamond’s Grove by a.k. payne
    directed by Josiah Davis

    Set at the edge of an old U.S. mill town, Edi Ya & Diamond’s Grove tells a story about two Black young people working in an amusement park dripping with ghosts. Haunted by stories of the places their grandparents could not enter and memories of long summers spent riding coasters and losing childhood, Edi Ya and Diamond try to make sense of grief in this place of lost dreams. Commissioned by City Theatre Company in Pittsburgh, PA.

    Saturday, June 15 at 2p (at Ovations Plus)

    Saturday, June 22 at 2:30p (at TheatreSquared)

  • Malcolm X and Redd Foxx Washing Dishes at Jimmy’s Chicken Shack in Harlem by Jonathan Norton
    directed by Dexter Singleton

    1943. Two young Harlemites—Little and Foxy—form a friendship over leftover fried chicken and dirty dishwater. But a long, hot summer of heartbreak, betrayal, and racial uprisings moves them closer to the men they will become and farther from each other. Commissioned by TheatreSquared.

    Sunday, June 16 at 2p (at The Medium)

    Sunday, June 23 at 5p (at TheatreSquared)

  • Sherlock Holmes: The Timbers Family File by LatinX Theatre Project

    LatinX Theatre Project’s newest play, Sherlock Holmes: The Timbers Family File reimagines Sherlock Holmes as a Latine/x detective living and operating within their community. Our story follows a younger version of Sherlock Holmes as they make a name for themselves as the city’s newest detective by uncovering a string of robberies that has the entire neighborhood shook and police cracking down on the homies. With the help of the community and their unlikely companion, Watson, Sherlock is determined to figure out who is behind it all, and how to stop them.

    Friday, June 21 at 7p (at TheatreSquared)

TheatreSquared is also proud to support emerging playwrights through two additional events. First, the fourteenth annual Arkansas Young Playwright’s Showcase will feature a free performance at TheatreSquared on June 22 at 12:30p. Students from across the state have submitted one-act scripts, and the top four submissions will be selected for mentorship from a professional playwright and a public reading at the Arkansas New Play Festival. Finally, our ANPF Apprentice Company will present Songs for Drunk Cowboys Who May Also Be Women: An Anti-Musical (For Fools Only) by Sarah Loucks at 7p on June 20 at TheatreSquared, free to the public.

All-Access Pass & Ticket Info

Passes for the 2024 Arkansas New Play Festival are on sale now for $50 and include admission to five staged readings over two weekends. Single passes are on sale now for $15. To reserve passes, patrons should call (479) 777-7477 or visit arkansasnewplayfest.com.