High Desert Play Development
High Desert Play Development was founded in 2005 under the co-drection of Professors Tom Smith and Dr. William Storm.
High Desert is a bi-annual program that solicits new plays from 15-20 nationally-renowned emerging playwrights. Two scripts are selected to participate in a week-long developmental reading program in which the playwright, a director, a dramaturg and actors prepare the script for a public staged reading.
Following the reading series, one of the two scripts is selected for a fully-mounted production the next season. The playwright is in-residence for one or two weeks of the rehearsal or performance process.
What is unique about our program is that we are here entirely to serve the needs of the playwright. As such, we do not require submission fees; we do not claim ownership or a future in the play; we offer feedback to the playwright only as requested; and we allow the playwright to classify the play as either a workshop production or as a world premiere as they see fit.
High Desert was featured in an article in The Dramatist, the national magazine for playwrights, as well as articles in several other magazines, journals and at national theatre conferences. In 2015, the program celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Our 2006-2007 inaugural season included Penny Penniston's Spin and John Walch's The Nature of Mutation. The Nature of Mutation was fully-produced by New Mexico State University Theatre Arts in March, 2007. In 2008, we staged a reading of Lydia Stryk’s On Clarion and Matt Casarino’s Pixie. Pixie was chosen for full production in 2009. In Spring 2010, we produced a reading of Balls, by Jonathan Yukich, and produced Carol Carpenter’s Good Lonely People in Fall 2011. In Spring 2012, Carol Carpenter’s Sweet, Sweet Spirit and Andrea Stolowitz’s Antarktikos were workshopped; Sweet, Sweet Spirit was fully produced in Fall 2012. In January, 2014, we produced readings of For the Falls, by Emily Dendinger and West Highland Way by Meridith Friedman. We opened out 2014-2015 season with West Highland Way. We also hosted a second workshop of For the Falls. In 2016 we presented readings of both In Loco Parentis, by Adam Kraar, and Tori Keenan-Zelt's Truth Dare...
Although we do not accept unsolicited scripts, if you are a playwright and are interested in being considered for our program, please contact us
High Desert's 10 anniversary celebration in 2015