The Epiphanies New Works Festival was founded in 2020, seeking to explore new and innovative work. Growing exponentially year to year, the unique feedback process that we are committed to providing for our participating playwrights has become one of the things we are most known for.
The top 8 submissions each year receive a developmental table reading, and 4 of those go on to receive directed staged readings at our in-person festival. Perhaps most excitingly, the winner is given a full production of their play the following year.
So bookmark this page! Mark your calendar! We are always ready to read the next exciting piece of theatre, and we are committed to providing a meaningful platform to emerging artists.
Wild Imaginings is dedicated to promoting the development of new work, as it is the work of artists which serves to shape the identity of a place—
Are we a community which values authenticity, diversity, and charitable listening?
Are we a community in which important, albeit difficult, stories are not only heard but celebrated?
Are we a community in which artists are given permission to try new things and push the boundaries of what we expect?
Epiphanies New Works Festival hopes to further Waco’s ability to answer a resounding YES to each of these questions.
And we want you to help us do it!
Meet the 2022
The Handless King
By Harley Elias
It’s 728 BCE in the Assyrian Empire (modern Iraq) and the times, they are a-changing. DILGAN, a young scribe versed in Aramaic, has come to replace older scribe UBRU, who can only write Cuneiform. However, both scribes hold secrets that could change everything. A humorous take on obsolescence, change, and what it means to make a difference.
Harley Elias is a playwright from New York. He has been the recipient of residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, with Resonance Ensemble, a Fulbright Grant, a Samuel French OOB Award, Young Playwrights Award, the Hester-Franklin Prize, and his Play #3 is published by Samuel French. As an actor he has performed in several Broadway shows and national tours. Harley is currently in the MFA in playwriting at Brown.
Meet the 2023
The top 4 plays out of hundreds of submissions
By Rebecca Anne Nguyen
Set in current-day Chicago, this play is about a beautiful but misanthropic woman who kisses a stranger in an elevator on her way to mandatory psychotherapy. When the stranger turns out to be her new therapist, they’re forced into a professional relationship where the intimate environment is as fertile for romantic tension as it is for personal growth—until the revelation of a mutual secret threatens to bind them together or tear them apart. In an age where up to 20% of the world’s population is neurodivergent, this story shatters stereotypes about neurodiversity and Autism, arguing that neurodivergent brains are not faulty and that there’s no wrong way to be human.
Rebecca Anne Nguyen (she/her/hers) is a playwright, writer, and co-author of the award-winning memoir, Where War Ends. She studied playwriting and acting at the University of Miami and fiction with Hannah Tinti at the Sirenland Writers Workshop in Positano, Italy. Rebecca's short plays have been produced at theatres in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. She lives with her family in Milwaukee, WI.
Sunday The Thirtieth 3AM Raining Slightly Drunk
By Chandler Hubbard
Adam is fine. Well, Adam’s okay.
Adam & John are great, thank you very much.
Adam & John & Stephen are, uh, not very good at all.
Stephen doesn’t know this yet. Hell, John doesn't even know that.
Okay, Adam’s not fine. Adam's really not fine at all.
Chandler Hubbard (he/him/his) is an actor and playwright in Richmond, Va and a graduate of the University of Virginia (2012). A few of his written works include ANIMAL CONTROL, 2019 Martha Hill Newell Playwright's Fund, RTCC Best Original Work nomination, 2020 American Theatre Critics' Association / Steinberg New Play Award Citation (Firehouse Theatre; American Lives Theatre); MOLLY HOUSE, first honoree of the John Knapp and Tim Gillham New Works Program (Richmond Triangle Players). Other workshops and future productions include: SWAMP SPARROW (John Tyler Community College); and ROMAN A CLEF (The New Theatre). His screenplay SHANIDAR (Remember Tommy Productions, Mudroom Films and SideXSide Productions) is currently in post-production.
Not the Myth
By Paige Goodwin
Medea, having just killed her kids, rides off into the sun and directly to Medusa’s “Mythological Man-Haters and Co.” vengeance agency to answer a job posting. Athena arrives and asks Medusa to help her get rid of every male God so that the women can start doing things they want to do. Medusa introduces this idea to the group at the agency: Medea, Circe, Circe’s new male-victim-turned-pig she’s named Hamlet, Melpomene, Persephone, Scylla, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who serves as the head of this unruly new take on a Greek chorus. Everyone is intrigued but unsure of how to take out male gods — they can’t outdo the brute force. Circe asks the old “if a tree falls in a forest” question, which leads Medusa to her idea: If no one believes in a male God, does he exist?
Paige Goodwin's work has been read by University of California Riverside's Playworks and New Play Festival, and the Weekday Players at the University of Maryland. She has been workshopped by The Bechdel Group ("Not the Myth") and will be in an upcoming workshop with the Mid-America Theater Conference in March 2023 ("Jack was a Good Boy"). Her dramaturgical work has appeared in the New Play Festival at UC Riverside, the Charm City Fringe Festival, and the Young Playwright's Theater's New Play Festival. She is a lecturer in English and Playwriting at UC Riverside.
Wicked Bitter Beast(s)
By Kira Rockwell
A latter-day morality play about (un)forgiveness that reverberates through time, space, and realms. Estranged from her pastoral family, Zoey is a prodigal daughter on the run from her evangelical past and the hellmouth she fights to find her way through. An unruly parable that beckons you to face the wicked bitter beast(s) in your own life, especially the one looking back in the mirror.
Kira Rockwell is a neurodiverse playwright originally from the heart of Texas, now based in Atlanta, Georgia. Her plays include OH TO BE PURE AGAIN (upcoming world premiere: Actor’s Express; developed with Great Plains Theatre Commons, National New Play Network MFA Playwright’s Workshop); THE TRAGIC ECSTASY OF GIRLHOOD (workshop premiere: Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Boston Globe Critic’s Pick, Elliot Norton Nominee); NOMAD AMERICANA (Fresh Ink Theatre); and WITH MY EYES SHUT (Now available through Original Works Publishing). Her work has also been developed with The Kennedy Center, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, and Third Culture Theatre in partnership with HBO and Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network, among others. Rockwell is currently under commission with Ensemble Studio Theatre, and previously with Moonbox Productions.
The top 8 plays out of hundreds of submissions
By Brendan Healy
An unemployed Toby, lacking both prospects and confidence, has moved in with his sister Kayla. Always a slightly strained relationship, Kayla’s patience is wearing thin as she watches Toby’s growing obsession with a reality TV cooking show called Champion Chef. Toby has staked all his hopes on the idea of winning Champion Chef. The tension in Kayla’s townhouse intensifies when their mother, Evelyn, loses her condo in foreclosure and moves in with Kayla as well. In need of her own escapism, Kayla begins a secret affair with her ex-husband Kevin.
Brendan Healy is a four-time finalist and one-time recipient of the Heideman Award from Actors Theatre of Louisville. His play Picnic (pik'nik'): v.i. was published by Playscripts, Inc., and Rain City Projects included his play The Secret Recordings of Lenin to His Lost Love Mary Anne of Topeka, KS in one of their anthologies. He received his MFA in writing in 2006 and was a member of Seattle Repertory Theatre’s a writer-in-residence program from 2013 – 2015. His play Suffering, Inc. was declared one of the seven top plays of the decade by The Seattle Times. Some of his other full-length plays include Relatively We, Hotdish, City of Presidents, Mangrove Park, Not/Our Town, and two children's plays.
By Luke Sorge
With a hurricane bearing down, two estranged brothers return to their hometown to find that their oldest brother, John, has taken their mother out of her care facility and is planning to “put an end to her suffering.” When John’s daughter arrives unexpectedly, more secrets emerge. Legal ramifications, financial implications, and family history are all uncovered -- as is John’s true motive: he’s dying, too. Or is that just what he wants his family to believe?
Luke Sorge is a Denver-based playwright, actor, and librarian. His play, Zen & the Art of Profit, was recently produced by Miners Alley Playhouse as their first play back after Covid lockdown. National Bohemians was the full-length winner of The Chameleon Theatre Circle’s 20th annual new works contest, and Butterfly Effect Theatre of Colorado (BETC) presented workshop readings of three of his plays: Taco Town, Purgastory, and Historic Doubts. Benchmark Theatre also included his short play, Rations, as part of their Fever Dream Festival.
By Jonathan Cook
Two survivors of a post-apocalyptic world struggle with whether they are the last two people alive until a mysterious stranger arrives at their residence resembling a person from one of the survivor's dreams.
Jonathan Cook is heavily involved in the fine arts as an actor, writer, and filmmaker based in South Carolina. Many of his short plays have been produced in theatres around the World and he is a five-time recipient of the Porter Fleming Literary Award in the playwriting category. Several of his works have been published in anthologies by Smith & Kraus, Black Bed Sheet Books, and Ardneh. Aside from playwriting, he has also written and directed several short films that have been presented in regional film festivals and, most recently, his short film DON’T YOU DARE was licensed for distribution by ShortsTV network. In 2020, he launched a radio theater podcast called GATHER BY THE GHOST LIGHT where he is the host and producer.
Abort: The Mission
By Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend
Three Baby Boomer women take matters into their own hands as they fight (for the second time) to secure access to safe, legal abortions. A comedy about things that aren't funny.
An award-winning playwright, a member of the Dramatists Guild, and President of the Board of Arts For All, a NYC-based nonprofit bringing accessible artistic opportunities to children who face barriers to exploring the arts. I have a BFA in Film & TV from NYU and two kids who are disappointed that I don't write plays about dinosaurs. I can also lick my elbow, which is supposed to be impossible, and I have just FOUR STATES LEFT until I've hit all 50.
And our short list represents less than the top 10% of the plays submitted, which is no small feat.
Liberators by Phil Darg
This emotional drama examines the lasting effects of the post-9/11 mindset and the “War on Terror” – both on those who served their country and on those who loved and supported them from home.
FAG~GODS by John Bavoso
After being ousted from Mt. Olympus by fellow deities for being a PR nightmare, a modern-day Zeus finds a kindred spirit in the burnt-out proprietress of a Greek mythology-obsessed drag club in Athens, GA.
Em and Web by Megan Tripaldi
A queer love story not based in trauma, but simply in the particularities of two people.
Exhibitionists in Hiding by Mike Solomonson
Alfred Cheney Johnston and Norman Rockwell prepare career-defining art exhibitions while being forced to confront the moral choices that may undermine the futures of two independent women.
Desert Oceans by John Mabey
Secrets and faith collide after a loss, intertwining those left behind in a journey that explores how faith, identity, and survival are only ever understood by embracing that ambiguity.
War Bride of Mormon County by Randall Huskinson
An underdog, outsider mom’s fight to save her daughter, and ultimately herself, from
an abusive patriarchy and community where alternate facts are a way of life.
The Newlywed Game by Alyssa Haddad-Chin
A Lebanese woman and a Chinese man are engaged, and decide that Thanksgiving dinner is the perfect time for their two families, both highly traditional, to meet for the first time. What could go wrong?
The Twisted House by Ross Tedford Kendall
Abby Barnes, a famous writer and skeptic, accepts an invitation to investigate a mysterious mansion. The owner, Mitchell Carroll, wants Abby to debunk the rumors that it is haunted. Mitchell's mother has hired three paranormal investigators to prove the opposite.
Zero by Ian August
The St. Vedastus Academy for Misguided Teens is a refuge for the newly violent, mildly sinister, and willfully corrupt. In this story, two such teens, Harrison and Nil, discover a seemingly bottomless pit in the forest floor behind the school.
Wilde About Whitman by David Simpatico
In the nineteenth century, homosexuals were purged from the language and literature of the American Dream. Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman dealt with this imposed invisibility in polar opposite ways. And January 18, 1882, they spent three hours together.
The Lover and the Fighter by Sam Heyman
Lee and Shawn, two unlikely childhood friends, reconnect after years of separation and silence when Shawn, three years into service in the U.S. Army, calls Lee toward the end of his junior year of college.
All I Know by Leda Siskind
In 1979 Buenos Aries, a junta took over the country. People were 'disappearing' every day - and this seems to be the play we are watching until one of the actors breaks the fourth wall and stops the production.
Noise by Rachel Covey
When Dr. Kenton began conducting a study on a college campus, she thought she was on
the brink of a biomedical breakthrough. Today, she appears before a jury. A contemporary musical about the human instinct to assign reason to the unpredictable, and the ways we can be blinded by our ghosts.
New Oleanna by Zach Barr
Nona, a college thesis advisor, is helping her student Hudson select a play for his senior directing thesis, when she suggests David Mamet’s Oleanna. However, as the project enters rehearsals, Nona grows concerned about comments from Hudson about his perspective on the play.
Scar Tissue in the Analog Zone by Amy Tofte
In the not so distant future a woman is on trial for murder after having an abortion years ago in another state when and where it was legal. And the person prosecuting her? Her ex-boyfriend (now a religious leader and attorney) who got her pregnant in the first place.
The Sixth or the Eighth by Andy Reynolds
When Patrick James McDonough the sixth (or maybe the eighth) uncovers a secret about his Irish family’s background, it has an unsettling effect on him and his sisters.
Individual by Ben M. Jones
America wants out from the United Nations. The United Nations puts a lot of value on that word, United. Both put a lot of value in their way of looking at the world, and both want to convince the other of their point of view.
The Mad Scene by Wim Coleman
On a night in 1793, Marie Grosholtz (the future Madame Tussaud) searches a Paris
cemetery for the freshly guillotined head of Queen Marie Antoinette. While the young
sculptress makes a plaster cast of the face, she engages in a conversation with the
Crazy Bitch by Jennie Webb
After Eva, a respected scientist, is savagely attacked late at night when walking in LA, the women in her life—her ex-girlfriend, her sister and her cousin—try to assemble a picture they can live with: of the events surrounding Eva's attack, of the nature of Eva's work with the immortal jellyfish, and of their future, where "forever" may be a real possibility and
evil really exists.
Chill by Erin Dietsche
The morning after a fraternity party, Brad and Cameron find the body of their fraternity brother RJ. While the university president and RJ’s mother pick up the pieces of his death, another student, Avery, says RJ raped her on the night he died.
Ms. Dueberry's Mansion by Kinsey Lahn
Ms. Dueberry lives alone in an enormous mansion with a room for every facet of herself, including one she keeps strictly hidden: the basement. Tired of her lonely routine, she opens her home and meets Sir Charles. However, Ms. Dueberry lives in fear that he will one day wander into the basement and discover the secrets hidden there.
Adam and Evelyn by Jackson Costello
An intense two-hander that explored the age-old question of whether or not humans are able to break our cycles of mistakes. A reincarnated Adam believes he will finally be able to die when he finds, and makes amends with, Eve, whom he abandoned thousands of years ago after Cain killed Abel.