Lanford Wilson white and black text logo

The Lanford Wilson New American Play Festival honors new American plays that provide dynamic performance opportunities for college-aged actors.

The festival endeavors both to recognize playwrights for their outstanding work and to provide a resource for universities across the country to identify dynamic plays with robust roles for college-aged actors for production at their institutions. The festival features both a full-length and short play division.

The 2023 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 May 28-June 3 of 2023.

The festival will feature staged readings of five Official Selection full-length plays and ten Official Selection short plays, as well as workshops and seminars on playwriting and new play development.

At the conclusion of the festival, one full-length play will be selected for the festival’s top prize and will receive its world premiere in the 2023-2024 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.

2023 Full-Length Official Selections

Insignificant Bugs

by Keiko Green Synopsis: In the cutthroat world of high school theatre, Annie has spent years “paying her dues,” and it's finally time to make her way into the spotlight. But when a 23-year-old sub takes over the Drama department, all rules and tradition fly out the window. In this loose, darkly comedic adaptation of the "Ant and the Grasshopper" fable, Insignificant Bugs explores the dangerous consequences of the live-to-work mentality, and how society fails young women. Monday, May 29 at 7 p.m.

The Light Keepers

by Lindsay Partain Synopsis: When a window to another timeline opens in the quiet Oregon hillside, high school seniors, Carmen and Max are given with the opportunity of a lifetime to reunite with lost loved ones, find their courage, and to see their skies full of stars for the very first time. Tuesday, May 30 at 7 p.m.

Power Play

by Rachel Greene Synopsis: When overachieving, agreeable, and undeniably fat undergrad Sarah gets cast as historical sex symbol Helen of Troy in a student production, she and her peers are forced to confront their understandings of beauty, sex, and fatness. To complicate matters, a budding tension between Sarah and on-stage love interest Chris begs the students to ask where the characters end and the real bodies begin. With a cast of all-too familiar characters, Power Play puts a magnifying glass to the underbelly of “liberal” and educational theatre-making and the bodies it continues to marginalize. Wednesday, May 31 at 7 p.m.

Our Play

by Jessica Moss Synopsis: Uh hi. Yeah. Welcome to...this play that we're doing. Our Town. We're gonna show you some...well, like, I'm just going to show you around our rehearsal. We go up in a month. We're not ready. But here we are. (The cast of a high school production of Our Town rehearses). Thursday, June 1 at 7 p.m.

The Lost Girls

by C Meaker Synopsis: In 2008 before the recession and Obama’s first presidential win, five recent college grads are charged with keeping a slew of hormonal teenagers alive at an all-girls summer camp. Saddled with crippling student loans and terror over what they’ll do next in life, the counselors forego their actual work to have one last hurrah before adulthood kicks in. But the camp has many mysteries around its history and there are more monsters here than their looming debts. Friday, June 2 at 7 p.m.


Our 2023 featured guest speakers will announced soon!


SUNDAY, MAY 28 at 7 p.m.
Seriously, Really, Our Parents Are What!? by Adam Szudrich
Lookout by Jim Moss
Stars and Stripes by Matt Morse
Out of Body/On a Train by Erin Moughon
tequila sunrise by Emma Swain

SATURDAY, JUNE 3 at 2 p.m.
Arms Length Romance (a Duologue) by John Busser
Maybe for a Minute by Tori Rice
Exophilia by Keith Whalen
Road Trip by James McLindon
Young Women of Valor by Shara Feit


After this Episode by Brianna Barrett
Alone Together by Walter Dodd
The Golden Door by Lia Romeo
let's talk about anything else by Anthony Anello
The Marginals by Kate Brennan
Misfits & Mustangs by John Mabey
N0 D@Y BU+ +0d@y by Jan Rosenberg
No Entrance by Courtney Taylor
Once on Rumspringa by Elis Abigail Stump
Passive Shooter by J.S. Puller
rosaline by Ryan Stevens
They Played in Peoria by Maggie Lou Rader
A Wife in the Shadows by Julius Galacki


A complete schedule of events is coming soon.


Attendance at the evening and Saturday afternoon staged readings are free. To register for the daytime conference sessions, please follow the link below.

Registration for the full week of events is:

$225 for general audience
$125 for students
$125 for Cape Girardeau Residents and Southeast Missouri State University alumni

There is no charge for current Southeast Missouri State University students, faculty, and staff.

On-campus housing is available for $15/night for double occupancy and $20/night for single occupancy.


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.


Artistic Director, Kitt Lavoie
Executive Director, Kenneth L. Stilson
Associate Artistic Director, Olivia Wheeler
Associate Executive Director, Noah Hinton
Guest Artist Liaison, Drew Post
Conference Coordinator, Kirsten Freiman
Volunteer Staff Coordinator, Brecken Styles
Education Programs Coordinator, Peighton Robinson
Events Coordinator, Cameron Cai
Marketing Manager, Isabel Kissel
Social Media Manager, Julianne Ledford
Events and Volunteer Coordinator, Gabriel Lawrence
Archivist, Kelly Cavanagh

Contact Us

For additional information, please contact Kitt Lavoie, Artistic Director, at

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