Play Development


The development of new works has been a large part of our mission here at The Actors Studio of Newburyport (TASN). Participating in the three programs described below, writers, actors, directors, and our audiences have the opportunity to participate in this dynamic process.


4th Annual TASN Short Play Festival – 2021

The Actors Studio of Newburyport, MA is dedicated to New Play Development and will be holding its fourth annual Short Play Festival in the Fall, 2021. The submission window opened on January 1, 2021 and was to close March 1, 2021, or until 200 plays have been received, whichever occurs first.  Due to the overwhelming response, more than 300 plays were accepted and the submissions window was closed before the end of January.  Thank you to everyone who contact TASN for involvement.

Guidelines for submissions were:

Length: 5-15 minutes. Send us your best. There is no theme and no restrictions on content.
Workshops, readings, and several previous productions are okay.
Limit: One play per playwright. There is no fee to submit.

As we enter 2021, we are hedging our bets. It’s possible that we’ll be back on the boards by the Fall, producing and performing live theater in front of our wonderful audiences. It’s also possible that live theater will remain elusive, shifting to 2022, and that our offerings will remain virtual for the coming year.

So, your play should be easily adaptable to the Zoom format AND be meant for the stage. A play with 10 characters, elaborate settings, and a lot of props, isn’t going to work. A play with four or less characters with simple requirements probably will.

Please email to:

A PDF of your script (PDF’s only) which includes all your contact information. No Bios please. We’d like the work to speak for itself.

In the past, we’ve requested a $5.00 donation per submission. TASN is non-profit and your tax deductible donations have been used to help defray the cost of producing our Festivals which are dedicated to the development of New Work.

If you’d like to make a donation, our mailing address is :(made payable) to The Actors Studio of Newburyport, The Tannery, Mill #1, Suite 5, Newburyport, MA, 01950.

Our judges will participate in multiple rounds of reading and after 24 semi-finalists are chosen, we will hold an All-Day Selection Sunday, putting all semi-finalists on their feet. The winners will be announced in summer, 2021, with the top-scoring play receiving the coveted Clopton Prize.

This Festival is sponsored by our Weekend Writers Workshop whose playwrights have been produced at more than 250 venues around the country. This Festival brought together by playwrights, for playwrights, and will be directed and performed by our amazing TASN talent. Good luck and see you at the show!

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Holiday Meshugas 2020

We’re planning to present Extended Holiday Meshugas in December of 2021. This is not yet an official call for submissions. We’re sending this out as an encouragement to all who wish to write for Extended Holiday Meshugas in 2021. We invite you to spend time while experiencing the Holidays to observe as a writer, think like a writer, steal special moments (like all good writers do), so that we will have a collection of excellent new scripts to present to our audiences next year.  As in past years, we consider all holidays from all traditions that occur beginning around Thanksgiving and running through Epiphany (January 6) as part of Holiday Meshugas.



For any inquiries, please email

Founded in 2003 by Leslie Powell & Hailey Klein, this group is dedicated to the incubation of emerging new plays. Once a month, TASN hosts an evening workshop for cold readings of scripts in various stages of development. Writers bring copies of their piece, a maximum of 10 pages (ten minutes), and enough copies for all participating actors. The actors who are present that evening take on the roles as a cold reading. The reading is then followed by a moderated talk back, providing feedback to the writer. People are encouraged to share what did and did not work for them. Writers may provide questions where they are looking for feedback on specific aspects of their work.

The limit is four (4) pieces per so that everyone’s piece gets a fair share of attention. Each month fills up fast, so please let us know ASAP if you would like to be on the roster as a writer. We encourage all writers to show up whether you have something being read or not, as your feedback is greatly valued.

Actors, this is made possible in large part thanks to your invaluable participation. In order to help us plan for the evening, please let us know ahead of time, if possible, if you will be attending.
Writers and actors interested in participating, please email Hailey Klein:

Suggested donation $10 accepted at the door.



Established in 2006, NSRTC presents six readings a year at TASN. On the second Saturday in the months of October, November, December, March April, & May, new plays from local and regional playwrights are presented in a Readers Theatre setting before an audience, followed by a moderated talkback. This provides playwrights an essential step in play development, and gives local actors and directors the opportunity to work in the Readers Theatre style. A number of plays in the series have won awards and have been produced locally and internationally. Submissions can be emailed to:



For any inquiries, please email

A professional theater laboratory experience designed to advance the development of new works. TASN annually produces one new work that has gone through the stages of play development described above.*  This production is full-scale in terms of sets, costumes, lighting, and staging. It differs from a premier because the play remains eligible for entry into contests and festivals around the world. The director and cast work with the playwright, getting the play on its feet in a physical setting to see what works and what doesn’t before the play makes its actual premier.

* In an effort to provide maximum opportunities to our community members, we occasionally make an exception for a play that comes through another source. If you would like to submit a work for consideration, contact Marc Clopton at or 978.465.1229