The Coast News Group
San Diego-based playwright Robert Novak will present his play “Lost Apollonia” as part of the New Village Art Theatre’s New Play Festival. Courtesy photo

Theatre gives voice to emerging playwrights

CARLSBAD — Audiences can virtually watch a play come to fruition when the New Play Festival series begins Jan. 13.

The series, which began last year, gives new playwrights a chance to workshop their still-developing plays in a weekend-long production complete with actors and director, including staged readings with audiences.

“For me, I think it’s so important that we foster new works and new works within our community,” said Kristianne Kurner, executive artistic director of New Village Arts Theatre. “I think that’s the way theater continues to grow, is by enabling the new works.”

It’s the first time New Village Arts and the Playwrights Project have teamed up for a whole series of productions like this, she explained.

Sometimes the new works aren’t quite ready for a full production.

“So what this new play festival does is it allows a work that still might be in an earlier stage of development to get the process of a full production in a shortened period of time.

“It’s a chance for a playwright and for a community to really see a play come to life from the page to being on stage,” she said.

Kurner selected the plays from a list of emerging writers participating in the Playwrights Project’s Play By Play program.

San Diego-based writers Rob Novak and Karen Li had their plays selected to kick off the series.
Novak will premier “Lost Apollonia,” a romantic thriller that jumps in time and location and brings the silent film era in Hollywood to life.

Li’s “M” merges the worlds of art and academia, and finds a dancer attempting to help her fiancé solve the mysteries of string theory through the movement of the human body.

Aided by a mysterious team of scientists and artists “M” asks us to question how many realities we are aware of, and how our current actions can affect many more lives than we might know.

“They both have somewhat of a thriller aspect to them, which is fun — that just seemed like the right place to start off the New Year, as well,” Kurner added.

Both productions will be directed by Chelsea Whitmore, the former producer and program director at Playwrights Project.

“It’s so helpful for the playwrights and also for everybody involved. It’s a great challenge for the actors and the director, as well,” Kurner said.

“Lost Appolonia” runs Jan. 13 through Jan. 15. “M” runs Jan. 20 through Jan. 22.

Tickets are $15 and may be purchased by visiting, or by calling (760) 433-3245.