Winning Playwrights Announced for LaBute New Theatre Festival

St. Louis Actors’ Studio will produce the 6th  annual LaBute New Theater Festival, which will run July 6 – 29 at the Gaslight Theater, 358 North Boyle.

Professional and high school submissions were accepted October through December 2017. To be considered, entries had to have no more than four characters, and be crafted specifically to exploit our intimate performance space. (18′ x 18′ stage). Changes in scenery or setting should be achievable in a few seconds and with few major set moves.  Our focus is on fundamental dramaturgy: plot, character, theme.

Professional, new, previously unproduced one act play submissions (45 minutes or less) included a letter of inquiry, a synopsis and a 10-page sample from the script.

Five winning plays by high school students will be presented in readings at 11 a.m. on July 7 at the Gaslight Theater. Admission to the reading is free.

Six plays were chosen: One group to be performed in the first two weeks of July, the final group in the second two weeks.“The Fourth Reich,”a U.S. premiere from Neil LaBute will be performed every night for the run of the festival.  

“We are thrilled that Neil will be working with us again. Lending his name and talents to foster new works in the theater is just another example of his generosity and commitment to the arts, and we could not be more proud to host this ongoing event,” says William Roth, Founder and Producing Director of St. Louis Actors’ Studio.

 Festival Creative Team

  • Neil LaBute – Film Director, Screenwriter and Playwright
  • William Roth – Actor, Founder, Artistic Director St. Louis Actors’ Studio
  • Nathan Bush – Actor, Professor of Theatre Arts -Oregon State University
  • Emily Baker – Actor, High School Performing Arts Teacher
  • Ann Haubrich – Writer, Arts Administrator
  • Michael Hogan – Actor, Director
  • Edward Scott Ibur – Middle School English Teacher (Webster Groves), Novelist and Co-Founder of the Gifted Writers & Artist Project for Middle School & High School
  • John Pierson – Actor, Teacher English and Theatre Departments John Burroughs School
  • Julie B. Schoettley – Documentary Film Editor, Script Development Editor
  • Elizabeth Helman – Actor, Writer, Director, Professor of Theatre Arts -Oregon State University
  • Patrick Huber – Associate Director, St. Louis Actors’ Studio-Set Design and Lighting, Teacher Theater, Design and Architecture Mary Institute, Country Day Prep School

The following is a list of finalists for the Festival

July 6 – 15, Set One

“The Fourth Reich” by Neil LaBute, Directed by John Pierson
“Shut up and Dance” by Barbara Blumenthal-Ehrlich (Montclair, NJ), Directed by Wendy Greenwood
“Advantage God” by Norman Kline (NY,NY), Directed by John Pierson
“Hipster Noir” by James McLindon (Northampton, MA), Directed by John Pierson

July 20-29, Set Two

“The Fourth Reich” by Neil LaBute
“Unabridged” by Sean Abley (Los Angeles, CA), Directed by Ryan Foizey
“The Gettier Problem” by Michael Long (AlexandriaVA), Directed by Wendy Greenwood
“The Process” by Peter McDonough (Chicago, IL), Directed by Ryan Foizey

High School Finalists

Sydney Cimarolli, Prodigal,  (Webster Groves High, Senior)
Erica O’Brien, This Is Piracy, (Webster Groves High, Senior)
Nick Kime, Our Last Kiss, (John Burroughs, Senior)
Ann Zhang, In Utero, (John Burroughs, Sophomore )

St. Louis Actors’ Studio (STLAS) strives to bring a fresh vision to theatre in St. Louis. Housed in The Gaslight Theater, a historic Gaslight Square, STLAS is committed to bringing engaging theatrical experiences to our community of actors, writers, producers, filmmakers and all patrons of the arts; and to provide a strong ensemble environment to foster learning and artistic expression.

WHEN:           July 6 – 29, 2018
Evening Performances – Thursday – Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 3 p.m.

WHERE:        The Gaslight Theater
358 N Boyle
St. Louis, MO  63108

TICKETS:       $30-Student Seniors, $35 Adult

Individual tickets are available for purchase through, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers or Charge by Phone at 1-800-982-2787. Tickets will also be available at the theater box office one hour prior to performances.

For more information, call 314-458-2978 or visit

Nancy Bell and Chauncy Thomas in “Percentage America,” part of the 2017 LaBute New Theater Festival. Carter W. Lewis’ one-act was named Best New Play by the St. Louis Theater Circle in March. Photo by John Lamb.

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