Drama / Theatre

What is New Voices?

New Voices, in 35 festivals, has produced 441 original plays by 237 playwrights.

C term, 2019, will mark the 36th year for New Voices! New Voices 36 will run in the Little Theatre, February 13-16, 2019, curtain at 7:00 p.m. Admission is free; donations are gratefully accepted. Due to the popularity of the festival, we urge you to make reservations through our ticket reservations option above.

History of New Voices

New Voices is the nation's longest continuously running collegiate new and original play festival! From 1982 until New Voices became established in the Little Theatre [beginning in 2006], the festival featured performances of original, unpublished scripts from the entire WPI community: students, faculty, staff, alums, family, friends, acquaintances, audience members, and others. With the growth of academic programs in creative writing and theatre production, and the expanded study of dramatic literature in courses offered in the Humanities and Arts department, at WPI, New Voices determined to work to cultivate WPI undergraduate talent in play writing by limiting script submissions only to student playwrights. New Voices 32 produced nine plays, all written by undergraduates. New Voices 33 produced seven plays all written by WPI students, one playwright being a graduate student. New Voices 35 produced eight plays written by WPI students. The quality of produced plays remained high and resulted in three successful festivals, however the quantity of submitted scripts dropped. For New Voices 36 we have decided to accept submissions from students, faculty, staff, and alumni once again. This is due to the fact that we want to continue the undergraduate emphasis, yet challenge the students intellectually by increasing the quantity of submissions. In order to primarily encourage students to seize this opportunity to be heard through theatre, even though we accept submissions by the entire WPI community, only students will be allowed to submit more than one (1) script each.

In 2007, the Dramaturgs for New Voices 25 decided to select only seven plays for performance, which was quite a departure from previous festivals which could produce as many as 27 plays! Yes, 27 different plays were onstage for New Voices 7! This decision gave New Voices some opportunities that most of us liked, for example we could schedule all the plays for every performance, thus moving away from a random organization of performances and the chaotic atmosphere of so many plays, too few actors, and unpredictable technology requirements. We asked the NV 25 Dramaturgs to describe what they believed would be an ideal number of plays. Here is what they said: no more than 9 nor less than 5 plays, and no play should require more than 20% of New Voices' resources [including budget, actors, time, etc.]. New Voices has worked well for the last eleven years by adhering to the "25" guidelines.

New Voices will accept any producible scripts: monologues, short plays or one acts, musicals, and other dramatic pieces. New Voices Dramaturgs read every script submitted and select the plays to be performed during the New Voices festival that year. The selecting Dramaturgs committee for New Voices 36 will be comprised by four theatre professionals or academics with years of experience in new play development, two alumni with strong experience in the production of a New Voices festival, and two students with interest in Dramaturgy who will become the Festival Dramaturgs once this year’s script selection is complete. We anticipate more than 40 submissions in 2018 for New Voices 36. The plays selected for NV 36 will be announced prior to the Friday night start of the Alpha Psi Omega 24 Hour Show (December 7th, 2018) at 5:00 p.m. in the Little Theatre.

Script Submission Guidelines follow this page. Please make sure you read the guidelines and understand who can submit, when and how to submit, requirements for submission, and what will be asked of you if your script is selected for the festival.

Meantime, everyone, mark your calendars for the greatest new play festival ever:
New Voices 36 February 13-16, 2019 7:00 p.m. WPI Little Theatre
100 Institute Road, Worcester MA 01609-2280 | Fax: +1-508-831-5932 | Email: littletheatre@wpi.edu
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