PNWF – New Works from Around the World: Part 1

PNWF LOGOIf you are a regular reader of Pittsburgh in the Round I’m sure you have realized that the Pittsburgh area has quite the active theatre scene. From productions at the Cultural District theatres, to small professional theatres, university theatres and community theatres there is a lot going on here. It also means there are lots of opportunities for directors, choreographers, actors, designers and crew to practice their craft.

There is no better place to see many of our non-Equity actors than the Pittsburgh New Works Festival (PNWF) which runs August 20th to September 24th. There will be eighteen new one-act plays produced during the six weeks of the festival all performed at the Carnegie Stage.

“For our 27th season we have playwrights from around the world.”

Dek Ingraham, Festival Director

For playwrights, workshops and staged readings are an important step in the process of the development of a new play. Until a playwright can put their work in front of an audience the script is merely words on paper. To test the plays emotional connection an audience is required. At the PNWF audience members have an opportunity to provide valuable feedback to the playwright, actors and directors. The festival environment gives all participants a unique chance to see several plays in one sitting. One can compare the works of emerging and establish playwrights and observe trends in topics. Lastly any theatre town worth its salt needs to contribute to the development of new works.

“One of my favorite parts about the festival is that since they are all new plays, the stories are all a surprise.”

Andy Coleman, PNWF Communications Director

The six-week-long Festival opens on Sunday August 20th with two consecutive Sunday’s of different plays branded as LabWorks followed by four programs of one-acts rotating over the course of four weeks.

Detailed information regarding tickets is provided at the end of this piece. For further information visit http://www.pittsburghnewworks.org/about-pnwf/

The following play descriptions and playwright bios are courtesy of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival.

This first post covers the LabWorks portion of the festival. To help the playwrights continue to develop their work, the Festival invites the audience to give feedback and ask questions at the end of the performances. Tickets for LabWorks are “Pay What You Want” and include drinks and light refreshments as well as the talkback after the performance.

“The LabWorks format is designed to allow our production companies the most flexibility to present their piece in a truly lab setting. Some will choose to have actors on-book with full staging, others may choose to operate under a “readers theater” style with someone reading stage directions.” 

Andy Coleman

The plays on Sunday, August 20th at 7pm are from three different playwrights, each produced by a different Pittsburgh area theatre company.



Wilderness Survival

by Hamilton Kreeger

Baltimore, MD

Produced by The Bobcat Players

An incident on a wilderness survival camp out brings secrets to light and forces difficult choices on those trying to uncover the truth.

Hamilton Kreeger is a lawyer and playwright living in Baltimore, Maryland. His play Sleeping Aide was a previous main stage production at the Pittsburgh New Works Festival.FORERUNNERS


by David Healey

Toronto, Ontario

Produced by Little Lake Theatre

Forerunners is a comedy that focuses on storytelling and incorporates some of the folk tales from my home province of Nova Scotia. It takes place in Nova Scotia in the late 1960’s and it is non-traditional in the sense that it foregoes the usual advancement of the story through plot and instead the play is propelled forward by the use of relationship, character development and storytelling. The play revolves around Donald and Jamie who compete to be the best story teller.

David Healey studied as an actor and improviser before turning to writing. His one-man shows have played at numerous fringe festivals.


Golden Land

by John Adams

Richmond Heights, MO

Produced by Prime Stage Theatre


Freddy and Emma meet on a front stoop of a tenement in a New York City’s lower east side, circa 1904. Freddy is a barber and innkeeper with a wife and a daughter. Emma is a reflective, seminal thinker and writer, a former sweatshop seamstress. Freddy intrudes on Emma’s moment of writing and forcing her to listen to stories about his life and success, as he prepares to return to Germany with his wife and newborn daughter…

John Adams was awarded the Ontario College Graduate Certificate in creative writing from the Humber School for Writers. During the past summer, his full-length play In The Shadow of a Dream was staged during the New York City Midtown International Theatre Festival.

On Sunday August 27th, LabWorks presents the second series of three plays, authors and companies.


Where the Wild Ones Play

by Job Ethan Christenson

New York, NY

Produced by Stage Right


A man delves into his past and discovers more than he can allow himself to remember. David recounts his childhood friend, Rachel, a mother figure, friend and delves into a past that brings them together.

Job Ethan Christenson has written The Theist, Mfundo, Out of the Human Town, Where the Wild Ones Play, The Living Trees, In Bed, and Therapy. Job was recently published by Indie Theatre Now.


by Sean Lenhart

Pittsburgh, PA

Produced by Split Stage Productions


A husband and wife argue over the new addition to their family, the husband’s robotic arm. While he sees it as a medical necessity, she views it as symbolic of his trust in long-term relationships. Everything comes to a head when the husband brings in the doctor who installed the arm, exacerbating the whole situation, and leading to a unique solution.

Sean Lenhart is a graduate of Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts with a degree in Musical Theatre, Sean has been seen on stages across Pittsburgh, Sean acted in the 2016 Pittsburgh New Works Festival.

Chinese PuzzlePUZZLE

by Kate Kasten

Iowa City, IA

Produced by Retro Red Productions


A woman sits in a friend’s kitchen. The woman is upset and tells her friend the story of what’s happened. She’s afraid she’s been banned from the Mennonite second-hand clothing store where she buys much of her wardrobe, especially her beloved “June Cleaver” dresses. After inadvertently breaking store rules on several occasions and incurring the disapproval of the retirees who volunteer there, she commits a further crime by disemboweling a down coat while trying to make it fit.

Kate Kasten is the co-author, with Sandra de Helen, of a musical satire of the Nancy Drew mystery genre, The Clue in the Old Birdbath. She is also the author of three novels (The De-Conversion of Kit Lamb, Ten Small Beds, and Better Days) and Wildwood: Fairy Tales and Fables Re-imagined a book of fairy tales for adults.

The Pittsburgh New Works Festival is a great opportunity for you to checkout new plays as well as the work of our region’s many talented actors, directors and companies.

Check out our next PNWF post for Program A, B, C, and D details.

For tickets:

Visit https://www.showclix.com/events/14074 or 1-888-71-TICKETS (1-888-718-4253) to reserve your seats by phone.

Tickets for LabWorks are “Pay What You Want” and include drinks and light refreshments as well as a talkback after the performance.

Carnegie Stage is located at 25 W. Main Street, Carnegie, PA  15106.  There is plenty of free parking and a great variety of restaurants and shops within easy walking distance of the theater.

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