High Desert Play Development was founded in 2005 as a bi-annual program that solicits new plays from 15-20 nationally renowned emerging playwrights.Two playwrights’ plays are selected to participate in a week-long developmental reading program in which a director, a dramaturg and actors prepare the script for a public staged reading. The workshop is currently managed by Dr. William Storm and Professor Larissa Lury.
Following the reading series, one of the two scripts is selected for a fully-mounted production the next season. The playwright is in-residence for one or two weeks of the rehearsal or performance process.
The program is unique in that it exists entirely to serve the needs of the playwright. As such, the workshop does not require submission fees; NMSU/High Desert does not claim ownership or a future in the play; feedback is offered to the playwright only as requested; and the playwright is allowed to classify the play as either a workshop production or as a world premiere as they see fit.
High Desert was featured in an article in The Dramatist, the national magazine for playwrights, as well as articles in several other magazines, journals and at national theatre conferences. In 2015, the program celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Now under the direction of Professors Larissa Lury and Dr. William Storm, in 2018 High Desert workshopped two plays: three girls never learnt the way home by Matthew Paul Olmos and The Uses of Enchantment by Gregory S. Moss. Both plays were presented as staged readings in March, 2018.
The 2006-2007 inaugural season included Penny Penniston’s Spin and John Walch’s The Nature of Mutation. The Nature of Mutation was fully-produced by New Mexico State University Theatre Arts in March, 2007. In 2008 there were staged readings of Lydia Stryk’s On Clarion and Matt Casarino’s Pixie. Pixie was chosen for full production in 2009.
In Spring 2010, High Desert produced a reading of Balls, by Jonathan Yukich, and produced Carol Carpenter’s Good Lonely People in Fall 2011. In Spring 2012, Carol Carpenter’s Sweet, Sweet Spirit and Andrea Stolowitz’s Antarktikos were workshopped; Sweet, Sweet Spirit was fully produced in Fall 2012. In January, 2014, the workshop produced readings of For the Falls, by Emily Dendinger and West Highland Way by Meridith Friedman. The NMSU Theatre 2014-2015 season opened with West Highland Way. In 2016 readings of both In Loco Parentis, by Adam Kraar, and Tori Keenan-Zelt’s Truth Dare… were produced.
Although High Desert does not accept unsolicited scripts, if you are a playwright and are interested in being considered for the program, please click HERE.