The Utah Shakespeare Festival has announced a new name, an increased commitment, and an enhanced mission, for its new plays program. At the end of this season's NAPP plays, the Festival's primary vehicle for exploring new works will be a new program, Words3 at the Utah Shakespeare Festival. The new name comes from a line in Hamlet, “Words, words, words,” and focuses the new program firmly on the text and the work of playwrights. 



Discover a new play when playwrights spend a week at the Festival and Festival actors and artists present their plays as staged readings, followed by an instructive discussion between the playwright, actors, and audience. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Ticket Office, online, or at the door. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The plays in this series are written for contemporary adult audiences and contain themes and language not appropriate for children and that some may find offensive.





By Debora Threedy
Directed by Jerry Rapier
August 12, 13, and 26 • Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

Was Joe Hill, a union agitator executed by the State of Utah in 1915, a murderer or an innocent man? Considered a martyr by many, his songs at the time envisioned gender and racial equality and criticized the gross income disparities of his time. Today, he remains an enigmatic folk hero, but beyond the mythology lies a larger story of protest, still relevant a century after his death.


Debora Threedy

Debora Threedy has degrees in theatre arts and law. After many years appearing on stage in Salt Lake City, including at Salt Lake Acting Company, she turned to playwriting. She wrote and performed a one-woman show, Desert Wife, which toured the state with funding from the Utah Humanities Council. She has had a number of plays produced by Plan B Theatre in Salt Lake City, most recently The Third Crossing, which also was one of the winners of the Fratti-Newman New Political Play Contest in New York. This is her second opportunity to work with the New American Playwrights Project, having in 2006 workshopped her play Nemo 1934 (later produced by Plan B as The End of the Horizon). Her day job is professor of law at the University of Utah.



By Neil LaBute
Directed by David Ivers
August 19, 20, and 27 • Eileen and Allen Anes Studio Theatre

Husband and wife Brad and Jodie are at a life-changing crossroads. They must make a monumental decision, but can’t seem to do it on their own. To help, they enlist an old schoolmate, which brings unexpected results leading to a spiral of recrimination, deceit, and (ultimately) relief, in this modern play about life, love, and the right to choose your own destiny.


Neil LaBute

Nationally-recognized playwright Neil LaBute currently has two shows playing off-Broadway: The Way We Get By at Second Stage Theatre and The Money Shot at Lucille Lortel Theatre. One of his first well-known plays was In the Company of Men, which premiered at Brigham Young University, his alma mater, and which he later adapted into a movie. He has since written numerous plays, including reasons to be pretty, which appeared on Broadway and was nominated in 2009 for three Tony Awards; In the Beginning; Miss Julie; Reasons To Be Happy; Good Luck; Over the River and through the Woods; Pick One; One Day Like This; Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush; I’m Going To Stop Pretending That I Didn’t Break Your Heart; Happy Hour; Exhibit A; 10K; Mohammed Gets a Boner; Kandahar; and the upcoming production of 16 Pounds. In 2013, LaBute was recognized with the Arts and Letters Awards in Literature by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


Top photo: a rehearsal for the New American Playwright's Project.