Austin Playhouse Announces Three Winners for Festival of New Texas Plays, April 27-29, 2018

Austin Playhouse is thrilled to announce the three winning plays chosen to be performed during its Festival of New Texas Plays from April 27 – 29, 2017. Eidophusikon by Reina Hardy will kick off the festival on Friday, April 27 at 8 pm, Nutshell by C. Denby Swanson will follow up on Saturday, April 28 at 8 pm, and Monroe by Lisa B. Thompson will conclude the lineup on Sunday, April 29 at 7 pm. Along with the professional staged reading, which will feature Austin Playhouse directors and company members, each of the winning playwrights will receive a $500 prize.


“For the second year of the festival, we decided to narrow the focus to Texas playwrights,” says Artistic Director Lara Toner Haddock, “By highlighting the incredible voices of local playwrights, we feel the contest has a more meaningful and direct impact on our community. The ten finalists represent a diverse range of voices in Texas theatre, and the three winning plays are relevant and compelling new works that reflect current societal interests and offer boundary-pushing theatricality. We look forward to sharing these new works with Austin.”


Eidophusikon by Reina Hardy

A mysterious man and a tiny scrappy girl are building a new machine inspired by a legendary creation out of scavenged materials in a tiny underground bunker. The machine is called an Eidophusikon and its purpose is to transcend time. When their work is interrupted by a man who needs part of the Eidophusikon to heal his own grief, the fantastic machine and everyone who works on it is in danger. A wonderfully theatrical fable that challenges audiences and performers to expand the limits of the stage and their imaginations.


Nutshell by C. Denby Swanson

Nutshell tells the story of Frances Glessner Lee, the mother of forensic science, who used her inheritance in the 1930's and 1940's to make miniatures of crime scenes, which are still used today to train investigators. In the play, she conducts a seminar, even though she is dead herself, in an attempt to understand the physical evidence of her own life and build the legacy that even today continues to help solve violent crimes.


Monroe by Lisa B. Thompson

A mysterious pregnancy, a lynching, and dreams of California haunt Cherry, a domestic who believes that God is telling her to leave the south. Although her family tolerates her eccentric ways, her friend Clyde takes her visions and dreams seriously. When Clyde invites her to go along with him to California, Cherry must decide whether being the keeper of her family’s roots and cultural traditions justifies living under Jim Crow. Set in rural Louisiana during the Great Migration, Monroe reveals how the threat and aftermath of racial terror dominates the psyches of young African Americans.


2018 Finalists


Birthrights by Kira Rockwell

Dirty Dirty by Amy Gijsbers van Wijk

Eidophusikon by Reina Hardy

Homeland by Michael Parsons

Monroe by Lisa B. Thompson

Nutshell by C. Denby Swanson

Shekinah by Blake Hackler

Small Steps by Briandaniel Oglesby

Tail End Charlie by Joey Banks

The Lady Demands Satisfaction by Arthur M. Jolly



Austin Playhouse’s 2017 – 2018 season opened with Austin playwright Steven Dietz’s poignant comedy about missed connections, This Random World, September 8 – October 1, 2017, followed by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon’s Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, an effervescent holiday story inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, December 1 – 23, 2017. Kicking off 2018 will be a revival of the Texas classic by Mark Harelik, The Immigrant, January 5 – 28, 2018. In the spring, Austin Playhouse presents the beloved romantic piece of historical fiction, Shakespeare in Love, based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard and adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, March 23 – April 22, 2018. The season will conclude with Lucky Stiff, a hilarious murder mystery farce with book and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens and music by Stephen Flaherty, running May 25 – June 24, 2018. In addition, Austin Playhouse will treat Austin families to two free theatre for young audiences (TYA) productions: a charming adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s classic story The Selfish Giant written by Kristin Walter with music and lyrics by Larisa Bryski, September 11 – 24, 2017, and Miriam Gonzales’ The Smartest Girl in the World, a heartwarming new play about family and the bravery of a third grader, April 2 – 14, 2018. In the spring, Austin Playhouse’s second new play festival will run April 27 – 29, 2018.


Austin Playhouse is a professional theatre in its 18th season. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Don Toner and Artistic Director Lara Toner Haddock, Austin Playhouse has grown from a three-play season on the campus of Concordia University, to a year-round operation producing an average of six mainstage plays a year along with two theatre for youth productions and a new play festival. Austin Playhouse is currently performing at the Austin Community College Highland campus.