New Play-Reading Festival

New_Play_RGB_300About the New Play-Reading Festival:

Did you ever wonder how new plays are chosen for production? Here’s your chance to find out–and, if you wish, participate in the process!

In our New Play-Reading Festival, four brand-new plays for young audiences, chosen from  over 100 submitted works, will be read by professional and community artists in a casual setting. Following each reading, the entire family can participate in discussion of the work with our professional team. One of the four plays will be selected to become a fully mounted production in 2021! Bring the family for this unique theatre event!

VIRTUAL FORUM With The Playwrights

Thursday, May 14th at 7:30PM

JOIN US on Facebook LIVE as we chat with our 4 Finalists about their new play, the development process through our festival and the importance of new plays for young audiences and their families.  FREE to ATTEND!


Our 2019 – 2020 Finalists:

FINDER AND THE NORTH STAR by Erica Berman (Wisconsin)

When Finder makes a wish on a star, a magical, wondrous, scary, & spectacular adventure is set into motion. A mysterious visitor initiates a journey beneath the earth, above the clouds, and to worlds Finder never knew existed. An uncharted wish forces our hero to forge a new path that ultimately leads to a battle with Smidge, Finder’s monster. Finder & The North Star is for anyone who is bold enough to make a life-altering wish before seeing a path to get there.

About the Playwright:

ERICA BERMAN is thrilled to be a finalist in the New Play Reading Festival at The Growing Stage! Erica is a playwright, director, & theater educator. Her work has been produced at Milwaukee Chamber Theater and Kohl’s Wild Theater at the Milwaukee County Zoo, selected for the Wisconsin Wrights Festival (Forward Theater), Montgomery Davis Play Development Series (Milwaukee Chamber Theater), Words and Music Series (Four Seasons Theater), Protostar Series (Children’s Theater of Madison), The American Playbook podcast (HBMG Foundation), and a finalist for the Br!NK Residency Award (Renaissance Theaterworks), 21st Century Voices (American Stage), PLAYground Festival of Fresh Works (Purple Crayon Players), and New Plays for Young Audiences (NYU). She was awarded residency to the 2018 & 2019 National Winter Playwrights Retreat in Colorado. Erica produces the Young Playwrights Festival at Children’s Theater of Madison in her role as Director of Education. As an advocate for accessibility in theater, Erica has presented at Madison’s Arts Education Roundtable, AATE National Conference, & Inclusive Theater Conference at Northwestern University. BA Mount Holyoke College, MA Emerson College.

PUSS IN BOOTS by Elizabeth Keel (Texas)

Puss In Boots is a hilarious re-imagining of Charles Perrault’s classic French tale with an English-Spanish bilingual twist! Sam Carabas is distraught to inherit only a cat from his father’s estate. But this is one kitty that just won’t quit – not until she gets herself a velvet cushion! This frolicking comedy reminds us that with innovation, teamwork, and the right pair of shoes, anything is possible.

About the Playwright:

Elizabeth A. M. Keel is a Houstonian playwright, director, actress, dramaturg, producer, and novelist. Her plays have been read or produced in Chicago by Shattered Globe Theatre and Otherworld Theatre Company, in NYC by Squeaky Bicycle and Fresh Produce’d, and around Texas by Landing Theatre Company, Stages Repertory Theatre, Mildred’s Umbrella, Rec Room, TETA, Cone Man Running, Houston Contemporary Dance Company, Flexible Grey, and 14 Pews. She currently works as a teaching artist for Grackle & Grackle, Stages Repertory Theatre, and Writers in the Schools. She is also proud to serve as an Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild and as the Resident Playwright and Literary Manager for Mildred’s Umbrella. Upcoming projects may be found at

JOAN’S ARC by Emily Hageman (Iowa)

Joan is a deeply moral and highly principled high school student. Mason is her best friend who died in front of her (actually, on her) in a school shooting. Joan thinks that the staff at her school may have falsified PSAT scores. Mason is along for the ride. This isn’t your typical ghost story.

About the Playwright:

Emily Hageman is a music and theater educator currently residing in Sioux City, Iowa.  Her plays have seen production with Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, Heartland Theatre Company, A Light in Dark Places, the Red Eye 10s International Play Festival, Eden Prairie Players, Midwest Dramatists Conference, the Growing Stage Theatre, Theatre Evolve, Spokane Stage Left, Iowa State University, Memoriam Development Nightshade, Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, and Gi60s.  Emily is published with YouthPLAYS (“” and “The Man Card”) and Stage Partners (“Back Cover” and “The Cages We Build”). Her plays are constantly workshopped by the magnificent high school and middle school actors at Siouxland Christian School.

BOOGIE by Angelle Whavers (New Jersey)

Not being able to sleep due to nightmares, Alex attempts to put an end to them once they discover the Boogieman is the cause. However, after meeting this famous monster, Alex learns the truth about fears and that it’s okay to be afraid because fears are a part of us.

About the Playwright:

Angelle Whavers is recent graduate of Drew University with a bachelor’s degree in Theater and History. She has co-written for the play 4320p: Immersion produced by the Tectonic Theater Project, had her ten-minute Does Not Translate performed by the Vulcan Theatre Company, as well as her play Incubator by the New York Theater Festival, and is a recipient of The Chauncey Lester and Elsie Steward Benedict Memorial Prize for playwriting. Her acting credits include: Performer, Year of Women 3 Cabaret; Performer, Actor’s Hour; Sapphire, 4320p: Immersion: Nell, Haiku; Florence, Poof!; And she is a lover of puppies, but who isn’t?

All Readings: $5 Suggested Donation Per Person

For more information, please contact us at:

Some of the Past New Play-Reading Finalists include:
Bunnyboy (2019 WINNER, 2020 Main Stage Production) by Philip Kaplan
John Henry (2018 WINNER, 2019 Main Stage Production) by Elise Forier Edie
Boy Sees Flying Saucer (2017 WINNER, 2018 Main Stage Production) by Mike Czuba 
The Box of Stories (2016 WINNER, 2017 Main Stage Production) by J. S. Puller
The Book of D (2015 WINNER, 2016 Main Stage Production) by Cody Daigle-Oriens
And Then Came Tango (2014 WINNER, 2015 Main Stage Production) by Emily Freeman
The Secret Life of Hubie Hartzel  (2013 WINNER, 2014 Main Stage Production) by Susan Rowan Masters
City of Ember (2013) by Merissa Stewart
What We Lost Along the Way (2013) by Corrine Esme Glanville
Julie of the Wolves (2013) by Brian Guehring
With Two Wings (2012 WINNER, 2013 Main Stage Production) by Anne Negri
Lizzie Bright and Buckminster Boy (2012) by Joan Cushing
Convivencia (2012) by R. N. Sandberg
Theatre For Your Mother – The Little Red Riding Hood Show (2012) by Russell Davis