(BOSTON) — The Huntington Theatre Company’s 2015 Breaking Ground festival of new plays will be held April 23 – 25 at the Huntington’s home for new work, the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The festival is a vital part of the Huntington’s new play development efforts and highlights the work of locally-based Huntington Playwriting Fellows and national writers in partnership with the Huntington. Over the last decade, Breaking Ground plays have gone on to appear at the Huntington as well as theatres in Boston, across the country, and internationally.  

Readings are free and open to the public, though not to reviewing members of the press. Advance reservation is required. RSVP at

The three-day festival will include:

  • Non-Player Character by HPF Walt McGough, directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
    Thursday, April 23 at 7pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
  • The Royal Society of Antarctica by Mat Smart, directed by Liesl Tommy
    Friday, April 24 at 7pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
  • The Department Party by HPF Sam Marks, directed by Stella Powell-Jones
    Saturday, April 25 at 2pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
  • Tiger Style! by Mike Lew, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
    Saturday, April 25 at 7pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

“The mix of artists participating in our Breaking Ground festival of new plays is truly thrilling, some old friends and some new to Boston,” says Director of New Work Lisa Timmel. “Our Huntington Playwriting Fellows Sam Marks and Walt McGough have both written trenchant and timely plays. It's a great pleasure to welcome Mat Smart and Liesl Tommy back to the Huntington. And speaking personally, it's especially gratifying to host Michael Lew and Boston University alumnus Moritz Von Steulpnagel, both with whom I worked when they were just starting out. Directors M. Bevin O'Gara and Stella Powell-Jones round out this powerhouse group of artists. This series promises to be three days of serious fun.” 

Additionally, the Huntington is pleased to announce workshops and public readings of Catch as Catch Can by Mia Chung, Tongue Tied Tight, and Delivered by Kirsten Greenidge, Yerma by Melinda Lopez, and A Guide for the Homesick by Ken Urban for the Huntington Playwriting Fellows Summer Workshop series. Readings will be held July 25 26, 2015. More details, including directors and casting will be announced soon. 



by Walt McGough
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Thursday, April 23 at 7pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Aspiring video game designer Katja and her longtime friend Trent are an unstoppable team against animated monsters in the virtual underworlds of SpearLight, an online role-playing game. But after a humiliating falling-out, Trent marshals an army of internet trolls to wage real-life war against her. Comic and poignant, Non-Player Character is a timely, boldly theatrical exploration of the games we play and who’s winning.

Walt McGough is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow and has also held a fellowship at New Repertory Theatre. His produced plays include The Farm, Priscilla Dreams the Answer, and Pattern of Life, all of which received Best New Play Award nominations from the Independent Reviewers of New England, as well as Chalk, Dante Dies!! (and then things get weird), The Haberdasher! (a tale of derring-do), and Paper City Phoenix. He has worked around the country with companies such as The Lark Play Development Center, New Repertory Theatre, The Kennedy Center, National New Play Network, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Fresh Ink, Sideshow Theatre Company, Orfeo Group, Nu Sass Productions, Chicago Dramatists, and Argos Productions. His play Advice for Astronauts was selected as the winner of the inaugural Milken Playwriting Prize this year. He is a founding ensemble member of Chicago’s Sideshow Theatre Company, serves on the staff at SpeakEasy Stage Company, and was previously the company manager at Chicago Dramatists. He holds a BA from the University of Virginia and an MFA in playwriting from Boston University.

by Mat Smart
Directed by Liesl Tommy

Friday, April 24 at 7pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Dee is the only person ever born at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Shortly after giving birth, Dee’s mother mysteriously disappeared. Now, 24 years later, Dee returns to the otherworldly brightness at the bottom of the earth to work as a janitor — scrubbing toilets 60 hours a week and discovering something about what it means to disappear.

Mat Smart’s The Hopper Collection appeared at the Huntington in 2006. His plays include The Royal Society of Antarctica (currently having an extended run at The Gift Theatre in Chicago), Naperville (Slant Theatre Project), Samuel J. and K. (Williamstown Theatre Festival and Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Tinker to Evers to Chance (Geva Theatre Center and Merrimack Repertory Theatre in February 2016), The Hopper Collection (Magic Theatre) and The 13th of Paris (City Theatre and Seattle Public Theater). An avid baseball fan and traveler, Mr. Smart has been to all 30 of the current MLB stadiums, all 50 states, and 6 continents — including a stint working as a janitor at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. He is the recipient of the 2014 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award from the William Inge Center for the Arts.

by Sam Marks
Directed by Stella Powell-Jones

Saturday, April 25 at 2pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

As a blizzard hits, a graduate student, Frances, finds her affair with a decade-older professor, Jake, collapsing. When Jake ducks out to a faculty party, Frances is left alone at his apartment — until a surprise visitor shows up. The Department Party takes us through one evening’s delicate, nuanced look at sex, small talk, and how different phases in life drastically change our perspective.

Sam Marks is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow. His play The Old Masters will be produced in New York City at The Flea Theater this spring after having its premiere at Steppenwolf’s First Look Repertory of New Work series in Chicago. His play The Delling Shore received a world premiere at the 2013 Humana Festival for New American Plays. Other New York City productions include The Joke at Studio Dante (dir. by Sam Gold), Brack’s Last Bachelor Party at 59E59 Theaters, Nelson and the Bigger Man with Partial Comfort Productions, and Craft with The Bats (dir. by Robert O’Hara). He attended the Sundance Theater Institute at Banff Center and has had recent workshops at New York Stage and Film, Atlantic Theater Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Theatre Workshop, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Vineyard Theatre, and many others. Mr. Marks was selected as one of the “50 Playwrights to Watch” by The Dramatist. He is currently developing a project at HBO produced by Steve Buscemi and Stanley Tucci. He has developed several television series including a project for CBS that was produced by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. He currently teaches playwriting at Harvard University.

by Mike Lew
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel

Saturday, April 25 at 7pm; Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA

Albert and Jennifer Chen were at the pinnacle of academic achievement. But now they suck at adult life. Albert's just been passed up for promotion and Jennifer's been dumped by her loser boyfriend. So they do what any reasonable egghead brother and sister would do and go on an Asian Freedom Tour! From California to Shenzen, Tiger Style! examines the successes and failures of tiger parenting from the point of view of a playwright who's actually been through it. 

Mike Lew is the author of Teenage Dick (The Public Theater/NYSF, Playwrights Foundation, and Ma-Yi Theater Company workshops), Bike America (Ma-Yi Theater Company and Alliance Theatre productions; The Juilliard School, The Lark Center for New Play Development, The Kennedy Center, and Playwrights Foundation workshops), and microcrisis (Ma-Yi Theater Company, InterAct Theatre Company, and Next Act productions). Tiger Style! has also received readings at The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Center Theatre Group, The Juilliard School, and InterAct Theatre Company. His plays are published by Sam French and Playscripts. He is a Dramatists Guild Council member and Tony Award voter, co-director of Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and recipient of the Lanford Wilson Award, Helen Merrill Award, Kendeda and AracaWorks Graduate Playwriting Awards, Heideman Award, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. He has held residencies with The Lark Center for New Play Development and Ensemble Studio Theatre. He received his training from The Juilliard School and Yale.


The Huntington Theatre Company is a national leader in the development of new plays. The cornerstone of activity is the Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program, a two-year fellowship for selected local writers. A three-year, $245,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation adds local playwrights Melinda Lopez to the Huntington’s full-time staff as playwright-in-residence. The annual two-week Summer Workshop and Breaking Ground festival of new plays allows selected HPFs and national writers to develop their plays in two and three dimensions. At the end of the 2014-2015 Season, the Huntington will have produced 115 world, American, or New England premieres.

The cornerstone of the Huntington’s new works activities, the Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program creates relationships between a local community of writers and a nationally prominent producing theatre, forges those bonds through authentic conversation and artistic collaboration and encourages dialogue between local artists. Huntington productions of plays by Fellows include Ryan Landry’s “M” and Psyched by Ryan Landry, Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge, Before I Leave You by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, Stick Fly and Smart People by Lydia R. Diamond, The Atheist, Brendan, and The Second Girl by Ronan Noone, Sonia Flew and Becoming Cuba by Melinda Lopez, The Cry of the Reed by Sinan Ünel, Shakespeare’s Actresses in America by Rebekah Maggor, and next season’s Milk Like Sugar by Kirsten Greenidge.

Since 2003, the HPF program has invited writers to participate in two-year residencies, during which playwrights receive a modest honorarium, join in a biweekly writers’ collective with artistic staff, attend Huntington productions and events, and are eligible for readings and support through the Breaking Ground festival of new plays. 

The primary focus of the program is creating relationships with writers at all stages of their careers, from emerging talent to established professionals. The program provides a framework for an in-depth, two-year artistic conversation and a long-term professional relationship. The Summer Workshop, which began in 2012, was developed from conversations at convenings with Fellows past and present to solicit ideas about how to improve and expand the program.

In 2009, the Huntington instituted an open application process with submissions solicited each spring from any writer primarily based within commuting distance of Boston. The theatre selects two to three writers whose terms overlap with adjacent cohorts.

The Huntington is now accepting application for the 2015-2017 cohort of HPFs.
Visit for more information.


Recipient of the 2013 Regional Theatre Tony Award and named Best of Boston 2013 and 2014 by Boston magazine, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading professional theatre and one of the region’s premier cultural assets since its founding in 1982. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current to create award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. Under the direction of Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso and in residence at Boston University, the Huntington cultivates, celebrates, and champions theatre as an art form. For more information, visit

#                             #                             #

© 2021 Huntington Theatre Company. All rights reserved | Trouble viewing this site? Please download Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.