Mission and History
The National New Play Network is the country's alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays. We strive to pioneer, implement and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theaters collaborate to support new plays and playwrights.
Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has commissioned eighteen playwrights, provided more than twenty MFA graduates with paid residencies, and supported over 100 productions nationwide through its innovative Continued Life of New Plays Fund, which creates “Rolling World Premieres” of new plays. Through these activities and others, NNPN has granted over a half million dollars to theaters and artists in the past ten years. All told, hundreds of artists have gained employment through these efforts in the 24 regions of the country where NNPN member theaters are located.
NNPN'S FOUR CORE VALUES
NEW PLAYS are vital to the cultural health of our communities and our nation.
PLAYWRIGHTS who speak with unique, essential and influential voices deserve to be championed.
DIVERSITY across all definitions, throughout our Network and its members, strengthens us and the field.
COLLABORATION at all levels and amongst all parties is indispensable to the creation of new plays.
The Network's Long Range Plan, taking the institution through the 2014-15 season, states three goals:
IMPLEMENT its existing programs with greater resources for greater impact.
PIONEER creative collaborations that benefit worthy new plays and playwrights.
DISSEMINATE its values and programs via aggressive outreach to the field.
WHO ARE NNPN'S MEMBERS?
The National New Play Network is made up of a relatively small group of Core Members, who pioneer and implement collaborative new play strategies, and a growing group of Associate Members, who disseminate the Network's programs and strategies nationwide.
Much like the successful regional theater efforts of the 1950's, NNPN members see themselves as the vanguard of a new revolution in American Theater. They believe that box office-driven concerns at larger regional theaters no longer allow artistic risk, especially in the area of new play production and development. Small-to-midsize theaters are more capable of trying new ideas and more able to form intimate relationships with playwrights and their communities, providing theater experiences that are new, interesting and vital.
NNPN members know that playwrights are the true chroniclers of our times. Very few of them receive large-scale regional and New York productions; yet there are scores of excellent playwrights working in all parts of the country, with voices that are both regional and universal. There are scores more who would write plays, if there was an environment where the work and its future was supported. These writers bring us important messages about ourselves and our world, many are pushing the boundaries of dramatic structure to provide new insights into our humanity.
NNPN is more than an organization designed to advocate and market for a specific artistic discipline, more than a trade organization where self-interest (however enlightened) is the primary goal of membership (although advocacy and marketing are certainly a part of NNPN's mission). It is its focus on an external ideal -- the nurturing and continued life of new works for the stage - and the insistence on a cooperative process amongst its members to attain that ideal which makes NNPN a place where the values of collaboration over competition and service over self-promotion predominate. NNPN's programs reflect this cooperative spirit.read more
The National New Play Network was founded in 1998 by then Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center Special Programs Director David Goldman with the support and encouragement of Founder and Chairman George C. White. They believed that new play development in the next generation should be regionalized by linking producing and developmental theatres around the country with their playwriting communities.
In June, 1998, Goldman and White convened a group of artistic and managing leaders from thirteen professional theatres across the country that had demonstrated a proven commitment to the development and production of new plays. Over the next two years, relationships were formed and annual conferences were held in 1999 and 2000. Once the Network incorporated, with seed money from donors they began to offer modest Network commissions to provide all its members with access to new plays of quality. The Continued Life of New Plays Fund was piloted in 2003-04 with Tom Gibbons' play Permanent Collection, and had raised enough money to launch officially in 2005-06. 2006 also saw the first edition of the MFA Playwrights Workshop - again spearheaded by founder David Goldman, at Stanford University. The program became a partnership with the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC the following year, and has continued there each summer.
Thanks to a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2008, NNPN's Continued Life of New Plays Fund underwent significant expansion, and the Network added Playwright (2007-08) and Producer (2010-11) Residencies to its growing roster of initiatives. A fulltime Executive Director was hired, and the organization's offices - nomadic and split up amongst its members for its first ten years - moved to Washington, DC in 2009. Growing support from a cadre of dedicated national funders, local patrons and generous individuals has enable the Network to continue on a growth trajectory, launching Associate Memberships and a Collaborative Literary Office in 2012.close