Headwaters New Play Festival

August 25-26
Ruth Theatre

Now in its 6th 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. We look for plays set in the current, historic, or mystic western United States; plays by playwrights originally from or living in the West; plays that deal with themes connected to the real or mythic West; and plays that 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 also features the Headwaters World Premiere General Store by Brian Watkins, a New Dramatist Resident Playwright.

About the Festival Weekend

The 2017 Headwaters New Play Festival is on August 25th from 10:00AM to 4:00PM and August 26th from 10:00AM to 12:30PM. Your ticket includes staged readings of new plays, lunch on Friday, and the opening performance of CRT’s bi-lingual Young Audience Outreach Tour that will later travel around the southwest serving over 22,000 students!

Festival Weekend Schedule

Friday 8/25 at the Ruth Theatre

9am-9:45am – Audience Enrichment Event “The Art of Feedback”

10am – Introduction/Welcome

10:15am – Reading: The Mess of Us by Moss Kaplan and Greg Ungar

12:30pm – Lunch in the Lobby

1:15pm – Reading: Caliban’s Island by Diana Burbano

2:15pm – Reading: Visible From Four States by Barbara Hammond

Come see General Store, 7:30pm at The Main Stage – GET TICKETS

Saturday 8/26 at the Ruth Theatre

10am – World Premiere of Young Audience Outreach Tour
Albert Porter: Boy Explorer/Niño Explorarador 

11am-12:30pm – Moderated talkback with directors and playwrights

Come see General Store, 1:30pm at The Main Stage – GET TICKETS
Join us for a Small Business Panel Discussion after the show

2017 Headwaters New Play Festival Line-Up

We received over 250 submissions this year.
CRT is proud to announce our three selections for the 2017 season.

Visible from Four States
by Barbara Hammond

This subtle, profound story will grip you until the final blackout. Visible from Four States centers around a small American town wrestling with whether to put a cross or a cellphone tower on its only hilltop. As the townspeople grapple over their core beliefs, the local prison warden’s friendship deepens with a young man on death row. Barbara Hammond explores the deepest issues of responsibility, tradition, and mercy by placing each of her characters at the modern crossroads of belief and communication. Can an individual carry the moral burden of a nation?

Director – Kent Thompson
Stage Manager – Nia Sciarretta
Dramaturg – Jessica Kahkoska

Daniel – Stuart Rider
Joanna – Anne F. Butler
Pastor Al – Ben Newman
Ike – Logan Ernstthal
Pilgrim/Guitarist – John S. Green
2nd Musician – TBD
Stage Directions – Bethany Talley

The Mess of Us
by Moss Kaplan and Greg Ungar

Sam and Ross’s life is getting a bit messy: their 15 year-old daughter Ruby is caught sexting, a job opportunity threatens to uproot the family, Sam’s mother has become something of a hoarder, and now the family’s off to Vermont to help clean out her ramshackle home. But there’s more to clean up than is possible for this combustible family. The Mess of Us is an intelligent, big-hearted comedy that will test the bounds of a family’s love and leave audiences rolling in the aisles. As Nagle Jackson put it: “CRT audiences will bless you for this!”

Director – Lynne Collins
Stage Manager – Alex Skaar
Dramaturg – Jessica Kahkoska

Cheryl – Christy Brandt
Sam – Kate Berry
Ross – Rick D. Wasserman
Ruby – Wren Green
Dennis – Jim Hunt
Stage Directions – Zoe Ruth Sisson Silberblatt

Caliban’s Island
by Diana Burbano

Characters from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and The Tempest intertwine when a set of twins is shipwrecked on an island. As the siblings race to reunite, they encounter a young girl with magical powers, a deceptively cute fairy, and a horned monster with a heart of gold. Caliban’s Island explores the struggle between wishes, dreams and wisdom. Bring the entire family to this witty, whimsical celebration of language and life. Part Peter and the Starcatcher, part Shakespeare, Burbano writes with a unique voice all her own.

Director – Charlie Oates
Stage Manager – Aaron McEachran

Mira – Portland Thomas
Caliban – Graham Ward
Fluffy – Caitlin Wise
Vi – Rachel Irwin
Bast – Claudio Venancio
Stage Directions – Lucas Bareis-Golumb


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.


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 week (August 21-26, 2017). 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 a female playwright. We will continue this at this season’s festival.

For more information, visit our SUBMISSION page.

 “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


History of the Headwaters New Play Festival


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.