The Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival is an opportunity for playwrights to showcase their work, and for universities nationwide to identify new plays with dynamic roles for collegiate actors at their institution. It features staged readings of the five Official Selection plays, as well as workshops and seminars on playwrighting and new play development.

Mission statement

The Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival identifies and supports new plays that feature robust roles for college-aged actors while providing a laboratory to train students in the skills and ethics inherent to work with living playwrights on new works. The festival accepts submissions of full-length plays from playwrights nationwide and one-act plays from residents of the state of Missouri and/or students enrolled at universities in Missouri.

Festival details

The 2021 Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival will be held in person at the Dobbins Conservatory of Theatre and Dance on the River Campus of Southeast Missouri State University from June 14-19. All appropriate COVID safety protocols will be followed.

The festival will feature staged readings of the five Official Selection plays, as well as workshops and seminars on playwrighting and new play development.

At the conclusion of the festival, one play will be selected for the festival’s top prize and will receive its world premiere in the 2021-2022 Dobbins Conservatory Mainstage Season and will be considered for publication by Concord Theatricals, the world’s most significant theatrical company, comprising the catalogs of R&H Theatricals, Samuel French, Tams-Witmark, and The Andrew Lloyd Webber Collection.

All festival events are free!


2021 Official Selections

Randi & Roxanne
By Rachel Graf Evans

Monday, June 14 at 7:00 p.m.


Randi Beaudelaire, junior year transfer and secret poet, has a major inconvenience: she’s totally in love with her best friend Roxanne and can’t seem to stop writing sappy poetry about it. So when Kristy, the new star of the softball team, asks Randi for help on how to woo Roxanne, what’s she supposed to do? Tell the truth? A queer romantic comedy about secrets, sonnets, and softball. 

Jungle Juice
By Kevin Renn

Tuesday, June 15 at 7:00 p.m. 


On the eve of their college graduation, six friends gather together to celebrate with one final rager – but after the night takes a surprising turn, the group is forced to confront both their uncertain futures and a troubling secret that looms between them.

All Eight
By Lilly Camp

Wednesday, June 16 at 7:00 p.m. 


Nine freshmen women sit in one boat on their collegiate rowing team, competing with each other up for best times, lowest body weights, and most influential seats, until race day when they row as one. And rumor has it their coach is sleeping with at least one of them.

Civics and Humanities for Non-Majors
By Jeff Talbott

Thursday, June 17 at 7:00 p.m. 


Two new student groups are forming on two different campuses. Both have to write a statement saying who they are, and both are falling apart. Two stories become one story in this thorny comic drama about getting things started.

The Romantic Movement
By Emily Bohannon

 Friday, June 18 at 7:00 p.m. 


Summer of 1967. High school students gather in rural Florida to study classical music in the heart of the Vietnam War and the Summer of Love. Will the college-aged Resident Assistants survive a summer of babysitting high schoolers? Does studying music even matter during a time of war?

 2021 Short Play Selections 

  • The Bee That Declared A War by Cary J. Simowitz 
  • Don’t Toy With Me by Andrew Black 
  • Lawncare by Paul Vintner 
  • Remembering Morgan by Annie Brown 
  • Rising by Gabrielle Freitas

Special Guest Speakers 

  • Hana Sharif, Artistic Director, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis
  • David Crespy, Professor, University of Missouri; Founding Artistic Director Missouri Playwrights Workshop 
  • Jerzy Gwiazdowski, Managing Director, The CRY HAVOC Company, NYC
  • Sujotta Pace, Producer of the Professional Training Company and Casting Associate, Actors Theatre of Louisville 

39 Revolutions by Alex Lin

Below the Fold by Matthew Stoffel

Blue Whale Heart by Max Henry

Boner: A Symphony by Elijah Cox

The Closet Pigeon by Kwik Jones

The Divine Buoyancy of Being by Cary J. Simowitz

Earworm by Shualee Cook

Everlasting Chocolate Therapy by Steven Hayet

Fury, or the frat play by Justice Hehir

Hysterical! by Elenna Stauffer

Like a Queen or Whatever by Grant MacDermott

Little Women.....NOW by Donna Hoke

Oh Righteous God And Sinful Me by Linsey Watkins

The Scrambling Class by Amy Tofte

The Showcase by Matt Schutz

The Silver Tureen by James Armstrong

The Tower by Keyanna Khatiblou

The Velvet Ditch by Kate Leslie

The Young Ladies Of The Class Of 1902 Of Wesleyan University Present, “As You Like It” by Natalie Sacks

Way Down Here by Emily Garrison

Office Location
River Campus Seminary, 454
Mailing Address
One University Plaza, MS 7850
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701