New Play Project

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New Play Project
MottoPioneers in Values-Driven Theater
FoundersJames Goldberg, Arisael Rivera, Bianca Dillard, Julie Saunders, Jennefer Franklin
Legal status501(c)(3)
PurposeTo develop and produce local playwrights
HeadquartersProvo, Utah

New Play Project[1] is a non-profit organization founded in Provo, Utah, by four Brigham Young University students. NPP is dedicated to writing and producing new plays that reflect the standards of a Utah Valley audience. They also aim to give emerging Latter-day Saint[2] writers a place to produce their work while maintaining their standards and values. It primarily produces short play festivals (several short plays bound together by one theme), but occasionally takes on larger projects (as in Really Cool and Smart and Better Than You and Swallow the Sun). It is the first such organization to flourish in the area (which is known for theater performance), and has produced more than 70 original plays (and workshopped more than 200) since its inception in 2006.[3]


New Play Project was founded April 2006 by Brigham Young University students James Goldberg, Arisael Rivera, Julie Saunders and Jennefer Franklin as an attempt to produce new play scripts they developed. Bianca Dillard almost immediately joined the group and developed the continuing workshop program.

In August 2006, sponsored by the BYU Experimental Theatre Group, it held its first production, a 10-minute play festival titled Love Songs and Negotiations. In October 2006 it held another play festival titled Palms, which featured plays revolving around religious themes. At the beginning of December 2006, it held its last play festival of the year titled In Progress.

In 2007, New Play Project officially separated itself from BYU and was incorporated with the state of Utah as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The next seven shows were performed in Provo City Library's Bullock Room. In December 2007, New Play Project moved to its current home at 105 N. 100 East: Provo Theatre Company's building.[4]

Core programs[edit]

Playwright workshop
NPP has a weekly program where any playwright can submit plays to be "workshopped." These plays are read out loud, discussed and critiqued for the playwright's benefit. The workshop functions as a classroom for the attending writers and actors to explore and understand the principles of writing a good story.
Themed short play festivals
Approximately every ten weeks, New Play Project produces a collection of short plays centered on a theme. A script selection committee chooses the best plays submitted for the production, directors and actors are found and the plays are rehearsed and performed. Playwrights are allowed to make improvements to their scripts during the rehearsal process.
Religious plays program
Twice a year, New Play Project accepts submissions of religious-themed plays, most of which are LDS. NPP feels it is very important there is a place for Mormon playwrights to write their own religious experiences using their own religious terminology.[5]


The goal of New Play Project is to not only create positive, uplifting media for local audiences, but to create great writers who can make a difference in the mass media.[citation needed] In 2007, two NPP writers' works were chosen for Specific Gravity Ensemble's Elevator Plays. SGE is a Louisville, KY-based theater company.[6]


Part of New Play Project's goal is education. They work to develop new writers, actors, and directors, and hone their skills. They do this both through play writing workshops and through their short play productions.[7]


Writing is the most important aspect of New Play Project. The heart of NPP is new work. NPP welcomes submissions from anyone for their themed productions. If submitted early before deadlines, the directors are willing to give feedback, and even have a workshop program for playwrights trying to develop both their short and full-length scripts.


Because NPP generally produces short plays, actors sometimes only need to spend 2–5 hours per week in rehearsal and have a much lower memorization burden than in most plays. No previous acting experience is required, and directors work with actors to develop good acting skills.


As with acting, the ten-minute play format provides opportunities for many beginning and experienced directors without the time-consumption of managing and blocking a full-length production. Previous directing or acting experience is required for directors, and NPP generally gives preference to those who have worked on previous NPP production (in any capacity).


NPP also includes dramaturgs in its productions. In NPP, dramaturgs help find additional information and images that help the director and actors better understand the script in terms of its larger context. They also create written and visual aids to help audience members connect the script to issues in their own lives and the world around them. Dramaturgs also help during the script development process to give articulate feedback on scripts to improve them. They are heavily utilized in the play writing workshop program.

Past shows[edit]


  • Love Songs & Negotiations[8]
  • Palms[9]
  • In Progress


  • A New Leaf
  • Beneath the Surface
  • That They Might Have Joy
  • Really Cool and Smart and Better Than You by Arisael Rivera
  • All's Fair
  • On the Road
  • Roots
  • Thorns & Thistles[10]
  • America[11]


  • Eccentricities
  • Lost and Found
  • Swallow the Sun by Mahonri Stewart
  • Long Ago and Far Away
  • Bread of Affliction with BYU experimental theater club
  • Fire & Rain
  • God for President by Katherine Gee
  • Uneaten Cantaloupe by Mahonri Stewart
  • Games We Play




Out of the Mount[edit]

In 2010, Davey Morrison edited a collection of NPP's work, Out of the Mount: 19 from New Play Project, published by Peculiar Pages. The book allowed NPP's work to travel outside of Utah; it "ably makes its claim as one of the most ambitious and vibrant going concerns in the world of LDS culture."[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New Play Project". New Play Project. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  2. ^ "LDS Church". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 2008-07-25.[failed verification]
  3. ^ "NPP History". New Play Project. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  4. ^ "NPP History". New Play Project. Archived from the original on August 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  5. ^ "NPP Core Programs". New Play Project. Archived from the original on March 29, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  6. ^ "SGE About Us". Specific Gravity Ensemble. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  7. ^ "NPP Getting Involved". New Play Project. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  8. ^ "New Club Merges Comedy and Dating". The Daily Universe. Archived from the original on 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  9. ^ "Students Create Original Theater". The Daily Universe. Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  10. ^ "New Play Project Promotes Short Plays". The Daily Universe. Archived from the original on 2011-05-26. Retrieved 2008-07-25.
  11. ^ "A Crash Course in Faith". UVU College Times. Retrieved 2008-07-25.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "My take on Out of the Mount: 19 From New Play Project" by William Morris. August 18, 2012. Accessed November 21, 2012.