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Due to COVID-19, the New Voices One-Act Festival will occur virtually this summer. Students will apply, interview, audition, and rehearse online. Despite the absence of a physical performance space, students will perform and participate in online readings for a virtual audience. Performances will be live-streamed on June 30 on the Olney Theatre Center Youtube page.

New Voices is a two-week production process for students ages 13-19 that takes original one-act plays from script to stage for public performance. These plays will be written, directed, designed, performed, and technically managed by program participants, running from June 21-June 30. No previous theatrical experience required! Production mentorship will be provided by experienced members of the Olney Theatre Center staff. The program culminates in a final virtual performance of the one-act plays on June 30, 2021. With New Voices, students can be extensively involved in all aspects of the theater, not just performance.

About the Program

Why Join?

This program…

  • allows students a chance to create their own work with guidance and resources from professionals

  • has participation opportunities in writing, technical theatre, production design, and directing, for those who do not wish to perform

  • requires no previous experience

  • gives teenagers the opportunity to build their community and collaborate with one another

*Due to the conditions present by the recent COVID-19 outbreak, students are welcome to participate in this program free of charge.


Program Structure

The theme for this year’s production will be the ways we all have experienced the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are invited to choose one of six pathways to explore this theme during a two-week production process. For some of the pathways, participation requires meeting certain deadlines and/or a weekly time commitment prior to the start of the festival on June 30. Attached are the details and requirements specific to each pathway.

New Voices Pathways

Click a pathway to learn more, apply or register!

Playwriting (deadline: May 1)

Production Design (extended deadline: May 14)

Directing (extended deadline: May 14)

Performance (deadline: May 28

To see program dates and a preliminary rehearsal schedule, please visit our calendar.

We understand that AP testing days are spread over the course of multiple weeks this year and may cause conflict with our schedule. If you feel that your AP testing schedule will preclude you from participation in the program, please let us know and we will do our best to work with you.

Note that the deadline for play submissions is on May 1. For more information on the submission process & guidelines, click here.

Register Online Today


To Register:

  1. Parents/Guardians must complete the New Voices Registration form. 

  2. Students must click a pathway below with further instructions to apply.

Playwriting (first deadline: June 6)

Production Design (first deadline: June 6)

Directing (first deadline: June 6)

Performance (first deadline: June 6)


Questions? Send an email to to contact this year’s student program leaders, Sabina Jafri, Ella Gatlin, Joe Huddle, and Reese Schenkel.

If you need to reach the Olney Theatre administrator that is overseeing this project, email


Box Office: 301.924.3400

Open Wednesday - Saturday: 12:00PM - 6:00PM

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