Out-the-Box New Play Festival

Free Readings and a Salon Every Saturday in October

Thank you for joining us for the third annual Out-the-Box New Play Festival.


Experience the magic of free dramatic readings of four new plays in development by world-class playwrights. 

Capacity is limited for readings, so sign up today to ensure your seat!


Masks and vaccination cards are required to attend all readings.

In Spite of My Ambivalence by Catherine Yu

Directed by Kate Hendrickson

Saturday, October 1 at 2 p.m.

In Spite of My Ambivalence is a trauma play about recovery. Lila is fighting the pains of a past. Ann is negotiating life after a miscarriage. Sunan is trying to run a successful PTSD experiment that might just save his wife. How do we find our way after an earth-shattering event? 

¡Bernarda! by Emilio Williams

Directed by Sandra Marquez

Saturday, October 8 at 2 p.m. 

¡Bernarda! is a new adaptation and English translation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s La casa de Bernarda Alba. The omnipresent shadow of Garcia Lorca’s genius on Spanish-speaking stages has always weighed heavily on Emilio Williams as a Spanish playwright and as a gay audience member. This new adaptation attempts to be faithful to the classic tragedy while heightening its original humor and playfully challenging the more traditional form of the original play.  

"Reservations are required to attend ¡Bernarda!

Cargo: A Semi Musical by Dolores Díaz

Directed by George Cederquist

Saturday, October 22 at 2 p.m.

Cargo is a throwback to the golden age of trucker narratives revitalized for the modern day. Set along the Tex-Mex border, Cargo explores the crossroads where “man” meets machine and music. But beyond the machinery of the trucks they drive, this trucker collective is worn by invisible systems that leave them isolated. For years, operators have found ways to box in independent workers and exploit the backbone of their labor force. Today, they break out.

Bump by Kimberly Dixon-Mays

Directed by Mignon McPherson Stewart

Saturday, October 29 at 2 p.m.


At rise in Bump, Ray lies in a coma as his friends Yul and Zeke try to make sense of the silence doctors can’t explain. Yul's question “How you get like this?!” propels them into Ray’s patchwork memories: We see Ray give up speech bit by bit, seemingly due to the other men's closed-mouthedness. Then Yul and Zeke take back the narrative, showing the funny, heartbreaking, audacious language they share, freeing them all.

Festival Roundtable/Salon

Saturday evening, October 15 at 7 p.m.


Join us at the festival roundtable and salon where audience members can meet the writers, actors and directors, ask questions, share insights and learn more about the new-play-development process. Enjoy light food and beverage with our extended Chicago Dramatists community. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.

Support the creative process!

Your donation is critical. Chicago Dramatists is one of the very few organizations that help dramatists evolve at all levels – from apprentices to masters – through workshops, classes, readings and collaboration with actors, directors and audiences. We create dramatic art that allows other artists to interpret and express.

Thank you for your generosity!



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