This year’s virtual festival will feature inspiring new plays exploring themes of mental illness, wellness and resilience, performed with live streaming on American Stage’s Virtual Stage, across two weekends, Jan. 15-17 and Jan. 22-24. The festival will feature four play readings, each featuring a post-show discussion with the playwright and a mental health clinician, as well as panel discussions, wellness workshops, a community mental health conversation and more.
“Our hope is that this festival will not only continue our commitment to the development of vital and relevant new works for the stage,” said Stephanie Gularte, CEO/Producing Artistic Director, “but will also create an open space to allow people to talk about mental health as a way of opening up pathways for support and destigmatizing mental illness.”
After receiving over 200 submissions from all over the world, a new play committee of over 30 members, read, evaluated and discussed each play. Four of these plays have been selected to receive professional, digital staged readings in the annual festival. Topics covered in selected plays include dementia, PTSD, trauma, depression, anxiety and suicide.
The festival will include a partnership with clinicians and mental health experts. Post-show discussions will include mental health professionals helping to guide discussions, answering questions and opening up a dialogue among audiences and artists. The festival will also feature a Community Conversation featuring April Lott, the CEO for Directions for Living, along with other mental health clinicians addressing issues surrounding mental health and our community.
Mental Health Clinicians
Workshops supporting mental health and wellbeing will be featured during both weekends of the festival. Additionally, throughout 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival, American Stage will provide resources to audiences and creative team members, helping to link those in need with support offered throughout our community.
Content advisories can be viewed under each selected play below.
Share your thoughts with us! Fill out the audience festival feedback form here.
“We’re grateful to American Stage for creating a unique platform that enables our community to share in conversations about mental health,” said Bill Goede, Tampa Bay market president for Bank of America. “Supporting the physical, financial and emotional wellbeing of individuals and employees is more important now than ever, and the arts’ ability to help translate these stories is a valuable connection.”
Playwrights Welcome is a new program developed for Dramatists Guild of America Members by Samuel French along with Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing, Music Theatre International, Playscripts and Rodgers and Hammerstein. The goal is simple: to provide free access to theatre for playwrights, composers and lyricists. We are invested in the success and artistic health of our industry’s writers, and by extension the vibrancy of the American theatre. We’re also aware that attending theatre is an integral part to how writers learn their craft and grow as artists.
We are proud to take part in Playwrights Welcome, which offers available tickets to professional playwrights on the day of a performance, free of charge. To receive a ticket through Playwrights Welcome at American Stage, call or come to the box office on the day of the show. You must present your current valid DGA membership card to pick up your ticket, one ticket per member.
For more information on this national program, and to learn which theaters around the country are involved, please visit https://samuelfrench.com/resources/playwrights-welcome.