New Works Festival

January 19, 2017

Update on the Historic Elitch Theatre’s New Works Festival

Following a busy and exciting 125th Anniversary of the Historic Elitch Theatre in 2016, including the second year of the New Works Festival, the Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to discontinue the festival.

The Historic Elitch Theatre is an all-volunteer organization and relies on the hard work of an incredibly dedicated crew of people who manage the organization, oversee the 125-year old historic building, facilitate multiple committees, and run multiple fundraisers and events to pay for the ongoing operations of the building. In 2016 our volunteers did over 10,000 hours of work to support the theatre.

As the board of directors for a small nonprofit organization, one of our fundamental tasks is to make decisions that use our resources — the financial resources, as well as the time and energy of our volunteers — the best way that we can. This means making difficult decisions and admitting that we can’t do everything that we’d like to do.

At this time, the board feels we need to use our limited time and resources to focus on the long-term future of the theatre. We’ve completed two major phases of the restoration and we are now going to begin planning phase three.

We apologize to our winning playwrights who shared their wonderful plays and we had hoped to see them progress through the three years of the festival. Siegmund Fuchs’ play, In The Closet, was the big winner of this past year and we had hoped to do a full production this year. Sandra Marie Vago’s play, Listen, and Prince Gomolvilas’ play, The Brothers Paranormal, were selected as the two best readings this past summer and were to go on to workshops this coming summer. We regret that we are not able to continue with these amazing plays and we wish the playwrights great success with their unique and exciting works.

We also apologize to our Historic Elitch Theatre alumna, Christina Crawford, who graciously created the Mary Elitch Award for Female Playwrights. Hopefully the decision to focus on the future of the theatre will mean that we can find a way to continue this award again when we have a theatre that is fully restored and ready to celebrate new playwrights.

Thank you to David Nehls and Gavin Mayer for creating and running the festival for the past two years and thank you to Rachel Peoples for managing the 2016 festival.

Please visit our website at for information on our 2017 events.

— The Board of The Historic Elitch Theatre

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