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New Plays & Projects

New plays are not “produced”. They are carefully cultivated over time.

At People’s Light, we conceive, commission, develop, and premiere diverse new works of theatre that emerge from keen observation and investigation of our human experience. From plays inspired by contact with local communities to hybrid music theatre creations to our signature holiday pantos, we invest in new works that connect us to our region, invite cross-generational exchange, and foster dialogue about vital social issues.

In 2016-2017, People’s Light will produce the world premieres of Project Dawn by Karen Hartman and Sleeping Beauty: A Musical Panto, book by Pete Pryor and Samantha Reading, music & lyrics by Alex Bechtel. These endeavors build upon a long-established tradition at the Theatre. New play production has proved an essential part of People’s Light since our founding. In our 41-year history, World or Regional Premieres comprised over one-third of our productions (160 out of 410 productions). Recent World Premieres include The Harassment of Iris Malloy by Zak Berkman, Barcelona by Bess Wohl, Stargirl by Y York, Mister Hart and Mister Brown by Bruce Graham, and Fallow by Kenneth Lin, as well as two original musical pantos, Arthur & The Tale of the Red Dragon, and Aladdin. Recent Regional Premieres include Stella & Lou by Bruce Graham, Auctioning the Ainsleys by Laura Schellhardt, Row After Row by Jessica Dickey, and Dear Elizabeth by Sarah Ruhl.

Over the past five years, we have significantly expanded our efforts to create new work. Through initiatives such as The New Play Frontiers Residency and Commission Program, The People’s Light Harmony Labs, and our ongoing partnership with The National Theatre of Scotland, we cultivate longstanding relationships with acclaimed local, national, and international artists; nurture ambitious theatrical work for audiences of all ages and backgrounds; and connect this art and these artists to numerous communities in our fast-growing region to foster local investment and civic dialogue.

The following pages detail our holiday Pantos, original works for multi-generational audiences, New Play Frontiers offerings, music theatre projects, and a variety of multidisciplinary experiments and explorations.

"Producing new work is a scary prospect, both for the playwright and the theatre, since we never know what works until we put it in front of an audience. People's Light takes that leap not only by producing new work, but but by providing a support system to develop the play to its full potential. I still judge other productions of Mr. Hart and Mr. Brown by the standards set by the People Light production." Bruce Graham, Mr. Hart and Mr. Brown (World Premiere 2012), Stella & Lou (Regional Premiere 2015)