Hopewell Theatre Seeks Original Plays for New Series

YOUNGSTOWN – Hopewell Theatre is seeking original plays for New Voices, a series of staged readings that will begin Nov. 17.

The readings, performed by local actors, will be free and open to the public. Each will be followed by a discussion with the playwright. 

For guidelines and information on how to submit a play, go to HopewellTheatre.org. There is no submission fee and no deadline to submit.

“We will accept plays on a rolling basis,” said Jeanine Rees, producer of the series. 

Rees has already shared the call for submissions with some national writing groups and has received more than three dozen from across the United States, as well as Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand. Now, she hopes to receive submissions from Mahoning Valley residents.

Rees said she started the series as a way to inject a bit of spice into the Hopewell season and as a way to support local playwrights.

“You have to select the plays for each season by what you think people will pay to see,” she said. “If it’s an unknown play, people will say ‘I don’t know that title’ and won’t go. I wanted to add some new material.”

The series is also a necessary step in the development of a play.

“For a playwright, it is important to hear their work, especially the dialogue,” said Rees. “It’s also an outlet for people who might have an interest in directing, and for actors to do new and interesting material. It’s an easy way to get all of this into play without the huge time commitment of a new production.”

Rees said the Mahoning Valley theater scene is large, adding “I want to tap into that energy.”

The scripts she has received so far cover a wide range of topics and styles, and range from 10-minute plays to full-length works. Local playwrights will get priority in the selection process, said Rees.

The Hopewell will be open to taking one of the scripts to the next level.

“One thing that I’m hoping will happen, even though it’s not the main objective, is we’ll read a play that everyone will like and we’ll turn it into a full production,” said Rees.

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