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 may occasionally contain themes and language not appropriate for children and that some may find offensive.


Directed by Frank Honts

August 7, 8, and 26 at 10 a.m.
In the Auditorium Theatre


Tough times have hammered the once-wealthy Woodley clan. Yet the week after Christmas brings hope. Grandmother is dying and will leave them a bundle. Only there's a problem: Inheritance tax rates surge at the stroke of midnight, and the old gal isn't gone yet. What does a desperate family do? And who else is at risk on the slippery slope of murder? It's a dark comedy indeed.


Playwright Steven Peterson's recent productions include The Invasion of Skokie(Chicago Dramatists, revival by ShPIel Theatre), Affluence (Theatre 40, Los Angeles), A Couple of Nobodies (The Artistic Home, Chicago, revival by Step Up Productions), and the workshop production of Lydia Lindstrom (Raven Theatre). His plays in development include Paris Time(Cleveland and Philadelphia), Prodigal Brothers(Colorado Springs), The Shabbos Goy,  and Whozit (Chicago). Peterson is a two-time winner of the Julie Harris Playwright Award (2013 and 2014) and a winner of the Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition (2012). He lives in Chicago where he is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.


Directed by Joshua Stavros

August 14, 15, and 27 at 10 a.m.
In the Auditorium Theatre


The Civil War is raging, and President Lincoln has just been re-elected. In New York, Julius Caesar is onstage, starring the famous Booth brothers—Edwin, Junius Brutus, and John Wilkes. John is a believer in the Confederate cause; his older brothers are supporters of the Union. Before and after the play, the three spar about politics and so much more. This is a play based, as the saying goes, on true events.


Rich Rubin’s plays have been produced throughout the United States and internationally in Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, and Mexico. His work has been a co-winner of the Fratti-Newman Political Play Contest, the Neil Simon Festival New Play Contest, and the Long Beach Playhouse New Works Festival. He has been chosen as a finalist for the Julie Harris Playwright Award, Playwrights First Award, Ashland New Play Festival, Trustus Playwrights Festival, nuVoices Festival/Actors Theatre of Charlotte, Oregon Book Award, Heideman Award, and the Burbage Prize.


Directed by Drew Shirley

August 21, 22, 28 at 10 a.m.
In the Auditorium Theatre


As Brian lies dying, he is desperate to reconcile with his estranged children. His only hope is the somewhat askew, sweet, and profane Virgin Mary, who appears to him in a Percocet haze dispensing advice about children, salvation, and Hieronymus Bosch.  Closure is a drama with comedy about the endgame of a dysfunctional life and a broken family trying desperately to mend itself before its last chance is gone forever.


James McLindon’s plays have been produced or developed at theatres across America including the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Lark, PlayPenn, hotINK Festival, Irish Repertory, CAP21, Samuel French Festival, Victory Gardens, Hudson Stage Company, Abingdon, New Repertory, Lyric Stage, Detroit Rep, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Seven Devils, Telluride Playwrights Festival, Ashland New Plays Festival, Boston Playwrights Theatre, Colony Theatre, Theatricum Botanicum, Circus Theatricals, and Arkansas Rep. They have been published by Dramatic Publishing and Smith and Kraus.