Theatre as a Catalyst for Social Change

New Play Frontiers (NPF) is a long-term initiatives to develop and produce new plays that explore our American identity through stories of deep meaning to a diversity of populations our distinctive region. In collaboration with a wide range of remarkable community partners, we invite nationally recognized playwrights to immerse themselves in the rich history and current concerns of our area, and have this contact inspire new works of theatre. As we shepherd the plays from page to stage, we attract new audiences and create an environment that supports dialogue and greater civic engagement. After the plays premiere at People’s Light they go on to stages around the country. Our Queerways, PA (QPA) program builds on our NPF mission and methodology, but with a specific focus on locals intersection of Queer and BIPOC experience.

To date, fourteen writers have participated in residencies and received commissions to create new theatre pieces that would not exist without our NPF and QPA initiatives. The opportunity to explore and discover our surrounding neighborhoods and engage with our community partners provides these writers with an experience unlike any other new play program in the country. NPF playwrights include: Steve H. Broadnax III, Eisa Davis, Sanjit De Silva, Guadalís Del Carmen, Colman Domingo, James Ijames, Kate Fodor, Karen Hartman, Dominique Morisseau, Kathryn Petersen, Deepa Purohit, Lisa Ramirez and Laura Schellhardt.  Queerways, PA playwrights include: Harrison David Rivers. Two more QPA writers will be announced by April 2024.

To learn more about the origins and discoveries of New Play Frontiers, read Producing Director Zak Berkman’s 2013 Being Regional For A Reason blog series on Howlround.


“People’s Light’s New Play Frontiers program is emblematic of the arts in action, producing plays that engage our local communities, promote important issues, and inspire the audience members to consider new viewpoints regarding identity, heritage, and personal experience.” 
— Former State Senator Andy Dinniman


Project Dawn by Karen Hartman  premiered June 2017 
Read more about the development and impact of Project Dawn, the first world premiere to emerge from NPF.

Mud Row by Dominique Morisseau  premiered June 2019
Read more about the development and impact of Mud Row.

Bayard Rustin Inside Ashland by Steve H. Broadnax III — premiered May 2022

Mushroom by Eisa Davis —premiered September 2022

Crushed Earth by Sanjit De Silva and Deepa Purohit (immersive audio play) — premiered November 2023