The New Works Initiative (NWI) develops all forms of theatrical work at Westport Country Playhouse.
The mission of NWI is to provide a space for the incubation of plays, musicals, and other works of theater, the development of which are important not only to our stage, but to the vitality of the larger art form.
Through an influx of rehearsals, readings, and workshops each season, the NWI provides an artistic home to writers and theater makers, offering the resources and support necessary to further the growth of their works. As a thriving theatrical institution, we have a responsibility to support artists who strive to break new ground and the scope of the American theater.
Due to COVID-19, all of our workshops in 2020 were cancelled or will be rescheduled for a later date.
As a continuation of our investment in new work, we’re launching the Playhouse’s first set of commissioned writers in 2020. These commissions will provide three playwrights with the opportunity to imagine, compose and develop a brand new play with us. By providing appropriate financial and artistic resources, the Playhouse is fostering not only the creation of a new piece of theater, but also the growth and future of these three voices.
This program is only possible due to the generosity of the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation.
The Playhouse accepts script submissions from literary agents, via email. If you’re represented by an agent, please have them submit on your behalf. If you are not represented by an agent, you may submit a brief synopsis and 15-page dialogue sample. Submissions should be emailed to Liam Lonegan.
Due to the small size of our staff, and the amount of scripts we receive, we may not be able to respond personally to every submission.
For several years, the Playhouse has fostered new work by programming workshops, which allow a writer to spend several days with a director, performers, a stage manager, and sometimes a dramaturg, to investigate where their piece is in its development. Oftentimes, these workshops will culminate in a private reading.
This initiative is funded by the New Works Circle, a group of individuals committed to the discovery and development of new theatrical work. Interested in supporting new work? Join us! Contact our development team to learn more about how to get involved.
form of a girl unknown by Charly Evon Simpson
Don Juan by Molière, adapted by Brendan Pelsue, directed by David Kennedy
The Splitting by Serena Berman, directed by Jake Beckhard
Starter Pistol by Michael Gotch, directed by Mark Lamos
Click by Jacqueline Goldfinger, directed by Katherine M. Carter
Native Authors by Erik Brogger, directed by Mary B. Robinson
Torera by Monet Hurst-Mendoza, directed by Tatiana Pandiani
Minor Fantastical Kingdoms by Michael Gotch, directed by Mark Lamos
The Vendler Television Playhouse by Susan Rice, directed by Robert Cary
Thousand Pines by Matthew Greene, directed by Austin Pendleton
Received its world premiere at Westport Country Playhouse in November 2018
The Biggest Valley by A. Zell Williams, directed by LA Williams
The Forgotten Woman by Jonathan Tolins, directed by Noah Himmelstein
Out of the Mouths of Babes by Israel Horovitz, directed by Barnet Kellman
In partnership with New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre
The Rivals with book and lyrics by Peter Kellogg, music by Stephen Weiner