The Colorado New Play Festival was founded in Steamboat Springs in 1996 as a way to connect playwrights with actors and directors to develop new works. Today CNPF partners with theatre companies throughout the country to provide a unique opportunity for artists to create new work for the American stage.
Over the course of a week, playwrights develop new plays in collaboration with directors and actors. All rehearsals are free and open to the public. The week culminates with the actors performing a first reading on stage. CNPF has an enviable track record with more than 70% of its work moving on to regional and New York stages in short order. Many of these go on to have multiple productions.
Theaters that have gone on to produce work created at CNPF include: The Public Theater (New York), Atlantic Theater Company (New York), Yale Repertory Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New World Stages (New York), Manhattan Theatre Club, Primary Stages (new York), South Coast Repertory (Costa Mesa, CA), Steppenwolf Theatre, The Old Globe (San Diego, CA), Milwaukee Rep, American Conservatory Theatre (San Francisco, CA), City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh, PA), Denver Center Theatre Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Portland Center Stage, Curious Theatre (Denver), Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (New York), Chance Theatre (Los Angeles), and many more.
Playwrights include Pulitzer Prize winners, a Presidential Medal of the Arts winner and a McArthur Genius, as well as EMMY & TONY nominees. Performers include many well-known theatre/television actors.
CNPF is the only organization in the country to work with theatre companies directly to take plays from page to stage. Written up by the New York Times, CNPF has been hailed as "one of the top North American Theatre Festivals."