Unveiling the Lineup for the 2016 Arkansas New Play Festival

TheatreSquared announces lineup for


June 17-26, Fayetteville & Bentonville

Four trailblazing new plays and one bold new Shakeseparean adaptation

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS — May 18, 2016 —TheatreSquared Artistic Director Robert Ford and Executive Director Martin Miller announced today the lineup of new plays for the eighth annual Arkansas New Play Festival. The festival’s fully staged workshop production will be Andromeda by Gayle Pazerski in a limited run featuring Natalie West (Roseanne) and Joslyn Jones. New plays featured in staged reading performances will include The Champion by Amy Evans; A Little War in Little Rock, written by David Eshelman, with original folk music by Charley Sandage and Charlie T. Crow; and Tectonic Mélange by Deborah Yarchun. With support from a major grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts, the theatre will also feature the first staged reading of Romeo and Juliet: Damascus, a new adaptation based on the play by William Shakespeare directed and co-adapted by Kholoud Sawaf, the first step in a three-year process leading to a full production. 

Performances will be held in Bentonville at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (600 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR 72712) and in Fayetteville at the studio theatre in Walton Arts Center’s Nadine Baum Studios (505 W. Spring St.) June 17-26, 2016. New Play Passes, granting access to all Northwest Arkansas performances, are on sale now for an early bird price of $40 through May 31 ($45 after June 1). Passes can be purchased at the Walton Arts Center Box Office and may be reserved by calling (479) 443-5600 or visiting arkansasnewplayfest.com

“This is a prime selection of the best of what’s next, fresh new plays by talented national playwrights coming to Northwest Arkansas to bring each script to the next level,” said T2 Artistic Director Robert Ford. “It’s a playwright’s dream: a top-notch professional cast, an experienced director, and the time and focus to workshop each new play. And, most importantly, they’ll hear from our local community to find out what’s working in performance—well before the world premiere.” 

The 2016 New Play Festival will feature a fully staged reading of Andromeda by Gayle Pazerski, a Pittsburgh-based playwright. Two women—both old enough to retire, but both on the financial brink—find themselves vying for the same low-paying job at a planetarium. Out of this conflict comes an unlikely friendship, and Alma (Joslyn Jones), a former nurse, offers to help Myra (Natalie West) with the central dilemma in her life: her ailing husband. This unflinching comic drama takes a fresh look at the “black holes” that litter our human universe. Fully staged performances at TheatreSquared will be held June 24 at 8:00pm, June 25 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and June 26 at 2:00pm. Tickets range from $15-$25.

Three new works will receive staged readings at the 2016 Arkansas New Play Festival. The Champion, by Brooklyn-based playwright Amy Evans, is set in 1962, and finds R&B legend Nina Simone holed up during a snowstorm in a small-town café somewhere in North Carolina. Tempers flare between band members, and as secrets start to surface, it’s soon clear this small room in unfriendly territory may well be the place where life-changing decisions are made. Performances of this sharply-drawn new play will first be held on June 16 at 2:00pm in the Great Hall at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and on June 25 at 5:30pm at TheatreSquared. Tickets are $10.

A Little War in Little Rock is a new folk musical-in-progress inspired by one of the most bizarre episodes in Arkansas history: the 30 days of near-anarchy in 1874 when the state had two sitting governors, each backed by his own militia. Amid the high-stakes madness and political mayhem, Helena, a former slave, tries to just run her boarding house — but it’s easier said than done. Featuring a book by David Eshelman and original folk music by Charley Sandage and Charlie T. Crow, this is a piece of history not to be missed.  This large-cast new musical will have just one performance on June 26 at 5:30pm at TheatreSquared. Tickets are $10, with priority reservations given to passholders.

Romeo and Juliet: Damascus will be presented at the Arkansas New Play Festival as the first phase of a three-year project supported by a major grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts. TheatreSquared will reimagine Shakespeare’sRomeo and Juliet in contemporary Damascus, Syria through a free adaptation that will be developed in collaboration with Syrian theatre director Kholoud Sawaf. The reading is the first step towards a fully staged production as part of a future season. Performances will be held at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on June 17 at 7:00pm and at TheatreSquared June 23 at 8:00pm. Tickets are $10.

“The tension between love and violence—between the will of a group and an individual’s choice to defy fate—in a city where any spark can ignite conflict,” said Ford, “these are timeless themes in Romeo and Juliet, and they’re as relevant on the world’s stage today.” 

TheatreSquared is also proud to present the sixth annual the Arkansas Young Playwright’s Showcase. Students from across the state have submitted one-act scripts, and the top submission will be selected for mentorship from a professional playwright and a public reading at the Arkansas New Play Festival. A free performance will be held at TheatreSquared June 26 at 4:30pm. 


Festival Schedule



in the Great Hall at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
600 Museum Way, Bentonville, AR 72712

Friday, 6/17
7:00pm: Romeo & Juliet: Damascus

Saturday, 6/19
2:00pm: The Champion
4:00pm: Tectonic Mélange


at TheatreSquared
Walton Arts Center's Nadine Baum Studios
505 W. Spring St., Fayetteville, Arkansas

Thursday, 6/23
6:30pm: Festival Reception open to all passholders
8:00pm: Romeo & Juliet: Damascus

Friday, 6/24
5:30pm: Tectonic Mélange
8:00pm: Andromeda

Saturday, 6/25
2:00pm: Andromeda
5:30pm: The Champion
8:00pm: Andromeda

Sunday, 6/26
2:00pm: Andromeda
4:30pm: Young Playwright’s Showcase
5:30pm: A Little War in Little Rock

All-Access Pass & Ticket Info

Passes for the 2016 Arkansas New Play Festival are on sale now for an early bird price of $40 ($45 after June 1) and include admission to all staged reading performances, one performance of Andromeda, and the Festival Reception over two weekends in Bentonville and Fayetteville. To reserve passes, patrons should call (479) 443-5600 or visit arkansasnewplayfest.com. A limited number of 30 Under 30 passes for patrons under the age of 30 are available as well. Single tickets go on sale on May 23. 

Martin MillerComment