Theatre Program’s Festival of New Plays to Showcase Student Talent

A dozen young people sit in auditorium seats with laptops, notebooks and books and pose for a photo.
UAlbany playwrights, directors and stage managers gather to prepare for Fresh Acts: A Festival of New Plays, which will feature readings of plays written and performed by students at the Performing Arts Center this week. (Photo provided)

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 9, 2024) — Students in the Theatre Program of UAlbany’s Department of Music and Theatre will perform plays they have written at Fresh Acts: A Festival of New Plays, happening Wednesday through Saturday at the Performing Arts Center.

The festival, now in its sixth year, is a collaboration involving over 40 students and features readings of six one-act plays written, directed, stage managed and performed by students under the mentorship of Kate Walat, associate professor and playwright-in-residence in the Theatre Program and artistic director of Fresh Acts.

The plays were chosen from a competitive, blind submission process, with final selections made by Brooklyn playwright Amina Henry, whose play Little Rapes was performed by UAlbany students at the New York State Writers Institute’s annual Author’s Theatre event earlier this month.

There will be five performances, with shows on Wednesday at 8 p.m., Thursday at 8 p.m., Friday at 3 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The Friday performance will include “fresh bites,” featuring excerpts of works-in-progress by students currently in UAlbany’s Advanced Playwriting class.

“Fresh Acts provides UAlbany playwrights with the opportunity to be in rehearsal with their new plays, as actors become the first to give voice to their characters and directors begin to envision the plays’ theatrical potential,” Walat said. “This year’s plays showcase the incredible range of creative voices and perspectives of UAlbany’s community of writers and theater-makers.”

This year’s festival includes two different programs of plays presented by two ensembles of student performers. Featured playwrights include theatre majors, as well as students studying English/creative writing, music, business and political science.

One of this year’s plays, Hiatus by Donnie-Lee Frazier, was previously selected by a national search to appear in the New South Young Playwrights Festival at Horizon Theater in Atlanta. Plays that have appeared in Fresh Acts have gone on to be selected for Capital Repertory Theatre’s NEXT ACT! festival. In fall 2020, two plays that were previously part of the festival went on to be fully produced with a faculty director in the Theatre Program’s NEW WORKS/NEW WAYS.

Tickets can be purchased on the PAC website. Questions? Contact PAC at 518-442-3995 or [email protected].