A Bounty of New Works: Festivals & More

As summer soon heads into fall, the area’s theatre companies are rolling out a feast of locally grown new works. Here are some to look out for.

This list focuses primarily on short play festivals, and developmental productions and readings of new works.

Last update: 9/5. The list will be updated as more are scheduled. Have a show that fits? Email nwtheatre.org@gmail.com (subject line: “Fall New Works”). 




The Party Mix: a new works diversity festival – Copious Love & By the Seat of Our Theatre Company 
Copious (Ballard), 9/5-15

Three playwrights, three directors, three new one-act plays.

Together with By the Seat of Our Theatre Company, Copious presents a showcase of new plays written and directed by Black, Latinx, and Asian American artists. Each show features three new plays: Hitchhiker by Kendall Uyeji (directed by Kiefer Harrionton) (about an Asian woman who picks up a series of hitchhikers); Hypotheticals, by Teague M. Parker (directed by Aviona Rodriguez Brown) (about two African American men working at a Montessori Preschool, with one trying to leave the place and the other trying to change it); and The Spokesman by José Amador (directed by Marisol Soledad) (about a mayor trying to convince a Latino to be the police spokesperson).

Cost to attend: tickets are $10, and they offer a pay-what-you-can performance on Monday, 9/9. Info here.


Summerplay 2019 – The Changing Scene Theatre Northwest
Dukesbay Theatre (Tacoma), 9/6-21

In Tacoma, The Changing Scene Theatre Northwest presents its annual Summerplay, a festival of locally grown new works held at the Dukesbay Theater in Tacoma. This year’s is a little different: it’s the 30th anniversary of the festival, and the company is bringing back eight plays that it’s featured over past festivals, including writers from Colorado (its original locale), the Northwest, and more.

Cost to attend: tickets are $18 in advance ($20 at the door). Info here.


Bad Dog: Tricks, Pranks, & One-Ups – Sleepless Play Festival  
Phoenix Theatre (Edmonds), 9/7

Phoenix Theatre’s Sleepless Play Festival presents Bad Dog: Tricks, Pranks and One-Ups. Six original plays are written by local playwrights and performed by popular local actors, all within 24 hours. Tickets $20,  available here.

Performances are preceded by a selection show on Friday night (9/6) that’s free and open to the public.

Cost to attend: tickets are $20. Info here.


Death in the Digital Age – Parley  
U-Heights Auditorium (University District), 9/18-20

The playwrights group Parley presents a short-run, full production of a new play by drew david combs. When Benjamin Moshe Cohen finds himself on a raft ride with the physical manifestation of Death, Ben insists there’s been a mistake, that he shouldn’t be dead. Find out what happens next in this 75-minute one-act.

Cost to attend: tickets are all pay-what-you-can, from free to $20; RSVP recommended. Info here.


Funhouse V – The Funhouse Family
Annex Theatre (Capitol Hill), 9/19-28

The Funhouse Family produces multi-genre original shows, each comprised of a series of short plays designed to reach beyond traditional theatrical norms. Funhouse V will showcase the shifting cultural landscape of the Pacific Northwest through an absurdist lens, featuring work by local playwrights Rachel Atkins, Marie Biondolillo, Rachael Carnes, Jake Foerg, Levi Friedman, Marcus Gorman, and Seayoung Yim.

Cost to attend: tickets start at $10 (sliding scale). Info here.


One Night, Two One-Acts – Seattle Playwrights Salon
Palace Theatre & Art Bar (Georgetown), 9/26

Two new short plays; presented as readings in a bar, with post-show discussion

Some Come, Some Go by Norbert Sorg (directed by Miryam Gordon)
Nick is excelling in his dream New York City career, he’s got a loving girlfriend, and he’s just moved in to his first apartment in the Big Apple. It’s pristine, carefully curated, and all his. What could be better? His mother has plenty of ideas. When she comes to visit, expectations explode like land mines. Will the fallout bring down the house? Directed by Miryam Gordon.

Glitter Stellar Cluster by Lauren Fulton
In September 2018, the Sunspot Solar Observatory in New Mexico requested assistance from the FBI to evacuate personnel from their observatory and the surrounding area. The site remained closed for eleven days, sparking rumors of alien sightings and undercover military maneuvers. Inspired by these events, Glitter Stellar Cluster imagines one Texas woman’s scheme to unravel the mysteries of astronomy by interrogating a stellar observatory researcher moments after he makes a pivotal discovery. When the cosmic meets the mundane, the explosion is spectacular — and glittery. Directed by Miryam Gordon.

Cost to attend: free (and no RSVP required), with $10 suggested donation at the door. Info here.


Thought Experiments: AI: Machines that Understand – Infinity Box
Pacific Science Center (Seattle Center), 9/27-29

A festival of original plays, created by scientist/playwright teams and presented as staged readings, examining the question of what it means to be human in light of current developments in science and technology. 

What does it mean for a machine to “understand”? And what do humans become in a world where many of the ordinary things around exhibit such understanding?

Infinity Box Theatre Project returns with its 7th annual Thought Experiments. This year’s theme is AI: Machines that Understand, presented in collaboration with the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. Four researchers from AI2 have been paired with playwrights, and their conversations will lead to four new short plays exploring the human consequences of living with artificially intelligent systems.

This year’s scientist/playwright teams are:

Dustin Schwenk & Maggie Lee (with director David Gassner)

Matthew Peters & K. Brian Neel (with director Meghan Arnette)

Michael Schmitz & Andrew Lee Creech (with director Jose Amador)

Oren Etzione & the writing team of Bret Fetzer & Juliet Pruzan (with director Rachel Katz Carey)

Cost to attend: unknown. Info here.




Overcoming: a short play festival 
18th & Union (Central District), 10/10-19

A collection of seven short plays, by an all-female writing and directing team, focused on the process of confronting and conquering complex human issues.

Seven playwrights — Lenore Bensinger, Kelleen Conway Blanchard, Robin Brooks, Anuhea Brown, Emily Conbere, Elizabeth Coplan, and Keiko Green — are paired up with director Rachel Delmar for an inaugural festival on the theme of “overcoming”. Their seven short plays (75 minutes in total) focus on the evolving process of confronting and conquering complex human issues, such as racism, illness, religious strife, the deification of youth, stereotypes, and grief and loss.

Cost to attend: tickets start at $15 (sliding scale); first (preview) night’s show is free, with post-production discussion with The Umbrella Project. Info here.


Lottery Entanglement – Seattle Playwrights Salon
Palace Theatre & Art Bar (Georgetown), 10/24

A new play by Michael Casey; presented as a reading in a bar, with post-show discussion 

Facing huge student debt, three college seniors come up with a scheme to beat the State Lottery, but when events spiral out of control, they seek help from someone involved with organized crime and must rely on each other to find a way out of their entanglement.

Cost to attend: free (and no RSVP required), with $10 suggested donation at the door. Info here.


NorthNorthwest anthology reading – NW Playwrights Alliance  
Seattle Repertory Theatre (Seattle Center), 10/28

There’s not much information out yet, but we love work from Northwest Playwrights Alliance — so mark your calendars for this one anyway. Performance will be a reading of work from the nine plays that will be published in their forthcoming anthology.

Cost to attend: free. See updates as they’re provided here.


Keep checking back, as this will be updated as we find out about more new works. Want to find out about other shows? See what’s happening on NWT’s Calendar page, which aims to list just about every theatre show in town.