Headwaters New Play Program

August 23rd & 24th

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North Star by Georgette Kelly

Summer in the north woods of Minnesota. The days are long. The stars are bright. But when it gets dark, it gets really dark. NORTH STAR is a new play that centers around an all-female group of campers and counselors coping with violence that leaves them utterly vulnerable. At the crux of this play is the question: what happens when social contracts are broken, when gun violence breaks through places that should feel safe, and when young people lose trust in the adults in their lives? Their stories are entwined with the French Canadian myth of La Chasse-Galerie, in which a group of voyageurs made a deal with the devil to journey home in a flying canoe in order to see their lost loved ones. This play takes a hard look at wilderness, both historical and contemporary: from the isolation of the woods in the 19th century to the wild rash of gun violence currently sweeping our nation. The characters in NORTH STAR are all explorers, trying to find a path through their own frontiers.

Into Place by Skye Robinson Hillis

In a small town in Indiana, Frank Wheelan has lived every day the same since he can remember. Work, beer, bingo, Amazing Race night. When a former childhood crush returns to town with her ailing son, he begins to see things in a new way and his small life begins to grow and soon fills him to the brim with emotions and motivations he doesn’t understand. As she grapples with potentially losing her son, Frank and his friends learn to open themselves up to new possibilities and prepare for what may await them outside county lines.


To foster the development of new plays for CRT’s stages and beyond. Unleash vibrant new work into the world of theatre, because new voices and stories reflect back to us the shared anxieties and aspirations of our age.


Now in its 8th season, the Headwaters New Play Festival is a weeklong workshop where selected plays are developed with a team of professional theatre artists and receive public readings. Headwaters is the source of new plays of the West. However, our definition of West is extremely broad. It may include plays set in the current, historic, or mythic western United States; plays that reflect the diverse cultures and experiences of the West; plays that examine the American urban/rural divide; and plays that completely re-imagine what “West” means.

Festival audiences get a front row seat into the adventurous process of bringing a play to life: untested material, instant feedback, engaging talk-backs, and you’ll even see our original Young Audience Outreach Tour before it hits the road. CRT’s 52nd season featured the Headwaters World Premiere General Store by Brian Watkins, a New Dramatist Resident Playwright.

“As a playwright, if I were to conjure my perfect new play development experience, it would look a lot like the experience I just thoroughly enjoyed at Creede Repertory Theatre. The high level of artistry at CRT in general, combined with the uniquely peaceful natural environment, made this the perfect place for me to spend time away from the demands and pressures of real life to work on Sisyphus, Wyoming. It was a tremendous gift to work with a director, cast, dramaturg, guest playwright, and stage manager, all with considerable talents and insights, all on board for the single purpose of supporting me in the development of this play. Wow. As much as I enjoyed the incredible experience of working on my script, the shows I got to see during my time at CRT provided significant artistic rejuvenation and excitement in and of themselves. I’ve never had a better experience working on a new play.”

– Greg Owens, author of “Sisyphus, Wyoming” – 2012 Headwaters Festival Selection


To be considered for the Headwaters New Play Festival, a play must never have had a professional production and the playwright must be available to attend the workshop typically in late August.

Since 2015’s festival, our goal has been to more accurately reflect the diversity of human experience by reserving one of our two slots for women and playwrights of color. We are seeking full-length plays, one submission per playwright.

Submissions for 2019 are now closed. We’ve reached 250 scripts. Thank you to everyone who participated. Submissions for 2020 will open October 1st, 2019.

For more information, visit our SUBMISSION page.


2018 Season Page

SANCTUARY, NORTH by R.W. Schneider

2017 Season Page

THE MESS OF US by Moss Kaplan and Greg Ungar
CALIBAN’S ISLAND by Diana Burbano


GENERAL STORE* by Brian Watkins
LONE RIDERS by Carol Wright Krause


THE HISTORY ROOM* by Charlie Thurston
WISH KEY by Candyce Rusk


KIND OF RED* by John DiAntonio
GHOST LIGHT* by Nagle Jackson


LULLABY BAY* Book and Lyrics by Jeff Carey and Music by Jessica Jackson
THE ACTRESS by Peter Quiller


BEHOLD! THE FIG LEAF APRON by Steven Cole Hughes
CONCESSIONS by Tosin Morohunfola


HARRY THE GREAT* by John DiAntonio

* Produced at Creede Repertory Theatre

In addition to the Creede Rep stage, Headwaters’ plays have been produced at the Lone Tree Arts Center in Denver, Karis House in St. Louis, Green Valley Theatre in Sacramento, the University of Colorado Boulder, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and The Coterie Theatre in Kansas City.