New Works Now

L to R Alex Trow, Laurel Casillo. Copyright 2016 Rob Strong

New Works Now 4.0 New Play Festival
A Festival of FREE Staged Play Readings
January 6-8, 2017

Mark your calendars for our fourth annual New Works Now, a showcase for the development of new plays. Inaugurated in 2014, New Works Now is blossoming with an Off-Broadway run of Orwell in America this October (more information here) and last year’s Mad Love in production at the New Jersey Repertory Company this fall. Admission is free, but seats are reserved, so contact the box office to book.

Readings are FREE. Seats are reserved, so book today! Box Office: 802-296-7000

Portugal by Elizabeth Heffron #1: Friday, Jan. 6, 7:30 PM

Running Time: 2 hours including one 15 minute intermission.
Advisory: 14 & up for adult language & mature themes.

testDescribed by the playwright as “a work of fiction triggered by a series of actual events,” Portugal explores the fallout (both literal and metaphorical) of mankind’s nuclear adventures through the lens of a young couple living near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in rural Washington State. With sharp wit and finely sculpted characters, Heffron tells a powerful tale of desperation, destruction, and redemption.

She Exits, Laughing by Marisa Smith #2: Saturday, Jan. 7, 7:30 PM

Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission.
Age Advisory: 12 & up for adult language & mature themes.

marisaAlma is getting older. She’s fine. Or so she says. Her daughter has some doubts, and more than a few neuroses of her own. Northern Stage favorite Marisa Smith is back with a hilarious and deeply perceptive story of aging gracefully (or sometimes not so gracefully) and how we try to care for one another in the face of the inevitable. Smith brings to bear her signature brand of humor and acuteness of language to leave us laughing and crying all at once.

Piece Of  by Tasha Gordon-Solmon #3: Sunday, Jan. 8, 2:00 PM

Running Time: 80 minutes, no intermission.
Age Advisory: 12 & up for adult language & mature themes.

Avery is a talented young girl who enjoys art, especially when it involves glue and Barbie shoes. Her tashaparents see the promise of greatness in her, and try to encourage her to embrace her destiny. An inventive, imaginative look at being a child in the age of memes, internet fame, and uber-liberal helicopter parents.


Join us for our second annual Thirsty Theater! Part of Northern Stage’s popular New Works Now Festival, this pop-up mini-festival features two short plays by local playwrights performed by Northern Stage actors at area restaurants. Directed by Amanda Rafuse, these hilarious new plays will leave you thirsty for more!

  • Saturday January 7, 6:00 pm Runway Lounge by Elisabeth Gordon at Tip Top Café
  • Saturday January 7, 10:00 pm — Polar Bear Swim by Marisa Smith at Filling Station

Sponsored by


The Joyful Living Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation

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New Works Now. Northern Stage. Women Playwrights

Northern Stage Sets Lineup for 4th Annual NEW WORKS NOW FESTIVAL

New Works Now Press Release

The Northern Stage Artistic and Administrative staffs work together throughout the summer and fall to curate a festival that features both nationally renowned and locally relevant talent. New Works Now includes plays and musicals alike, and all projects speak in some way to our audiences in Vermont and New Hampshire. In 2014 the company produced three readings, and chose one for a full production in 2015: Pulitzer Prize nominee Joe Sutton’s Orwell in America. The play studies America’s misunderstandings of democratic socialism and highlights the growing divide between haves and have nots. The play also stars one of our company members, Jamie Horton, in a career changing role. The work was so successful at Northern Stage that it was chosen by 59E59 Street Theatres for an Off-Broadway production in October 2016.

The 2015 New Works Now workshopped three pieces, one of which went on to win accolades at NAMT, and one that is still in development under Carol Dunne’s tutelage. Our 2016 Festival presented four readings and local performances of 10 minute plays. Over 800 people now attend our festival each year. Northern Stage has also committed to full productions of plays from our festival whenever feasible. After the success of Orwell in America, the company premiered Marisa Smith’s Mad Love in our 2015-16 Season. The play, workshopped in New Works Now, deals with sexual assault, frat culture, and hookup culture in a sensitive and moving way, and connected our theater strongly to the educational institutions we partner with. The play received stellar reviews and had sold out houses. A reading happened in New York City to help move the piece towards future productions.

We believe that new work is the life blood of the theater, and that it is our responsibility, as the major LORT regional theater in the states of Vermont and New Hampshire, to usher in new work and nurture audiences hungry for daring and impactful theater. New Works Now has served as a guiding light to our company, helped rebrand Northern Stage as a bold and visionary company, and made many believers in the power of new work to change lives.

“How wonderful that Northern Stage is a research and development lab for the next generation of classics!” – Alex Trow, Actor

A Note to Playwrights

We do not generally accept unsolicited scripts, but if you would like to send a resume and current electronic copy of manuscript to Alek Deva (, we’d be delighted to add you to the list of playwrights under consideration for inclusion in our new play development programs. Please DO NOT mail physical copies of manuscripts.

The selection process for New Works Now has become highly competitive, as we have only 3 spots, and a great many plays/playwrights under consideration each year. If your work is in alignment with Northern Stage’s vision and mission, we will consider including it as a possible selection for our New Works Now festival.

Please do not hesitate to contact Alek if you have any further questions.