New Play Initiative
Roundabout Theatre Company was founded in 1965, and by 1995 the company was established on Broadway as a leading producer of classic and contemporary revivals. Through our work with the great living writers, Artistic Director Todd Haimes grew keenly aware of the need to produce new plays by contemporary playwrights.
In response, Roundabout built the Laura Pels Theatre as our new off-Broadway home at the Criterion Center. This 400-seat theatre, named for our board member and lead donor Laura Pels, was to be dedicated to new plays by great living writers. The inaugural season included American premieres of Harold Pinter's Moonlight
and Brian Friel's Molly Sweeney
and the launch of Roundabout's New Play Initiative with generous funding from the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.
As Roundabout grew into one of the nation's leading not-for-profit theatre companies, so did our commitment to new plays. 2004 marked the opening of the Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre thanks to the lead support of the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and the Laura Pels Foundation. Today, Roundabout's New Play Initiative cultivates new work by gifted playwrights at all stages of their careers through a three-pronged approach consisting of commissioning new works; developmental readings and workshops; and productions of new works through our Roundabout Underground program and our mainstage productions. Since 1995, we have commissioned 34 playwrights, conducted developmental readings and workshops of over 146 new works, produced 8 Roundabout Underground productions, 60 productions of new works, and employed over 5,000 artists across all aspects of the New Play Initiative.
Roundabout is firmly committed to sustaining this initiative as new plays are vital to the future of our community and the art form. However, the development of new work comes at no financial gain for Roundabout, and ticket revenue covers only 45% of program and production expense. The charitable contributions from individuals like you allows us to continue to build on the success of this program, while offering affordable ticket prices for our audiences.
Pictured at top: David West Read, Joshua Harmon, Lindsey Ferrentino, Stephen Karam and Jeff Augustin