New Play Arena

New Play Arena rehearsal, photo by Brian Busher

Department Performances
Friday, October 15, 2021 at 3pm
Saturday, October 16, 2021 at 2pm & 8pm
Sunday, October 17, 2021 at 2pm
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 at 8pm
Thursday, October 21, 2021 at 8pm
Friday, October 22, 2021 at 10pm
Saturday, October 23, 2021 at 8pm

Directed by Sara Katzoff, this unique production celebrates the work of UAlbany student playwrights.

Box Office

  • Advance tickets: $17 general public / $12 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
  • Day of show tickets: $22 general public / $17 students, seniors & UAlbany faculty-staff
  • Please read our current COVID safety protocols

(photo by Brian Busher)


Theatre Program Presents Student Work in Progress 

The Theatre Program of the University at Albany’s Department of Music and Theatre is pleased to present New Play Arena, a work in progress re-imagining of selected moments from two student one act plays specifically adapted for this production. Eight public performances will take place at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the Uptown Campus from October 15-23, 2021.

Both plays are currently part of an eight-week development process in which the playwrights, director, design team and ensemble of actors work together in a laboratory environment towards the fuller imagining of the plays from page to stage. Putting an emphasis on experimentation, creative risk and interdisciplinary collaboration is director Sara Katzoff.

“One of the reasons I am drawn to developing new work is that it is a living organism and a continual process of learning and discovery for everyone involved. The audience is an essential part of that dialogue,” says guest artist and curator Katzoff. “New work has an ability to subvert our collective expectations and expand our collective imagining of what a play is, whose stories are being centered and who gets to tell those stories.”

Chosen through an open submission process of plays and monologues put forward by a diverse array of UAlbany student and alumni playwrights, the two projects selected for development and included in all New Play Arena performances are Josephine by UAlbany senior Yetunde Babalola and There Was a Dent Here, it’s Gone Now by Claire Dell-Priscoli.

When Josephine Bello is approached by a mysterious figure on the subway and encouraged to cut her hair, a chain of events is set in motion that reveal her true identity as a demigod endowed with superhero-like powers.  Blending mythology, fantasy and comedy, Josephine tells the story of a teenager's coming of age as she unearths the truth about who she is and from where she comes.

There Was a Dent Here, it’s Gone Now tells the story of the Newman's, an archetypical nuclear family living in American suburbia in the 1950s. On the outside, everything seems perfect but, simmering just beneath the surface, the matron of the house is being haunted by disturbing forces no one else can see.  The play is a story of conformity, assimilation and dissonance that reveals the dark side of that over-romanticized era.

“Although our playwrights Yetunde and Claire each have a unique voice and have created their own distinct world and characters, both of their stories grapple with common themes of identity and coming of age at the intersection of societal and family expectations,” shares Katzoff.  “Both playwrights have also written extremely imaginative and theatrical plays that are poised to take a giant leap off the page and into the next phase of a development process. Being able to perform these plays in front of a curious and generous audience is so crucial to how new work is able to continue to evolve.”