The Fifth Annual New Works Festival will bring together playwrights, actors, and directors from across the country to Gulfshore Playhouse for a series of developmental workshops and staged readings.

The festival will feature four readings from playwrights chosen via a blind submission process. Each script receives 14.5 hours of rehearsal and a reading in front of an audience. The New Works Festival allows playwrights to transition from writing in a solitary environment to adding actors and ultimately an audience to help them understand how their plays work in performance. Audience feedback is a vital part of the process.

This year, the New Works Festival will also include two special readings of Miss Keller Has No Second Book by Deb Hiett, one of last year’s finalists that will have it’s World Premiere production at Gulfshore Playhouse in the spring.

The New Works Festival: Gulfshore Playhouse hosts an annual New Works Festival which consists of developmental workshops and public readings of the scripts selected. There is an open call for submissions in the fall of each season and the submission period remains open until 150 scripts are received. The festival takes place in September of each year. In order to be eligible for the New Works Festival, the play cannot have had a full production and at this time, we are unable to accept musical submissions. Keep an eye out in the fall for our formal call for submissions which will include details on when submissions open. Please note that any play submitted prior to the date and time submissions open will not be considered for the New Works Festival.

Script Submissions: Gulfshore Playhouse currently has an open submission policy for artists seeking to submit scripts for production consideration. Gulfshore Playhouse guarantees that submitted scripts will be read by a member of the Artistic staff however due to the volume of submitted scripts, we are unable to give individual feedback. You will hear back from a member of the artistic staff only if we are interested in pursuing the script for possible production. Please submit your script to

Tycho’s Fool

by Ross Peter Nelson

September 7th, 8 PM

Tycho Brahe, the greatest astronomer of the 16th century is dead, and there are whispers he was poisoned. There is no shortage of suspects, ranging from his glory-seeking student Kepler, to his relations at court: Rosenkrantz and Guildenstierne (really!), to the King of Denmark himself. Tune in as an intergalactic cabaret harnesses the electrons of a 40-year old TV show to re-enact the past and solve the mystery.

Hungarian Rhapsody

by Susan Cinoman

September 8th, 8 PM

In a little rural town outside of Budapest, Angala, a stern and judgmental farmer’s wife is left home alone, while her cheerful husband leaves for a business trip. A knock at the door announces Baysha, a mysterious gypsy, and his rabbit, who break into Angala’s home and change her perspective on love, normalcy, passion, and gypsies.

Buried Under a Blackbird Sky

by Stephen Spotswood

September 9th, 8 PM

Buried Under A Blackbird Sky: Half a lifetime ago, Eve Beecher, ran away from her hometown of Aaronsville, escaping an abusive home life and a fraught romantic relationship with her best friend, Samantha. As an adult—and one of the world’s premiere forensic anthropologists—she finds herself forced to return, tasked with examining the remains of an ancient skeleton discovered on church property. Eve wants to do her job and escape a second time, but is drawn deep into her own past, helped along by a father desperate for forgiveness and the church’s minister—her one-time love, Samantha.

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Elusive Ear

by David MacGregor

September 10th, 3 PM

London.  December 1888.  221B Baker Street.  The notorious and as-yet undiscovered genius Vincent van Gogh presents the master-sleuth Sherlock Holmes with a most unusual case.  Aided by his partner Dr. Watson and his paramour Irene Adler, the trio embarks on a rousing adventure.  Join the world’s greatest detective as he dashes forth to solve one of the most audacious crimes of the Victorian era.

Miss Keller Has No Second Book

by Deb Hiett

September 14th & 16th, 8 PM

A special workshop in preparation for the world premiere production in the spring

It’s been nearly 50 years since the notoriously reclusive Agnes Keller published her first and only book. In the wake of a life-changing event, Agnes’ small sanctuary is punctured by interruptions from a series of unwanted visitors.  Starring Playhouse favorites Amy Van Nostrand and Maureen Silliman, this funny and touching play grapples with the inevitability of change, the tangled tethers of family, and the very big question: what does an artist owe the world?

The New Works Festival plays were selected by a corps of volunteer readers from a pool of 150 blind submissions. The event allows playwrights to transition from writing, to adding actors and an audience, to understanding how the play works in a performance setting. Each staged reading will conclude with a Q&A session with the playwright.

5 shows: $55; 4 shows: $45; 3 shows: $35; 2 shows: $25     Box Office: 1-866-811-4111

All performances at The Norris Center
755 8th Avenue South, Naples, Florida 34102

Office:  239-261-PLAY (7529)

Please contact us for Group Rates. Office: 239-261-PLAY (7529)

or email us at:

Susan Cinoman

Susan Cinoman is a playwright and screenwriter whose work is published and produced internationally. She began as a comedy writer and performer in the all-woman comedy group, “The Soubrettes,” in Philadelphia which resulted in one of its hit songs playing on the local radio, “Bimbo Rap.” Her story “Mama Drama” was featured on the hit ABC comedy “The Goldbergs” in the 2014-15 season. Her one act play Fitting Rooms has been called “a great American one act” and is featured in Applause Books’ “Best Short Plays of 1996”. Her Off-Broadway plays include Gin and Bitters and Cinoman and Rebeck, which was hailed as “an evening of talent and promise” by The New York Times. Her plays have received numerous workshop productions at The Ensemble Studio Theatre and Naked Angels. The plays Beds and Truth and Sex were recently made into short films by Akvarious Productions in Mumbai, India. Work in development includes the screenplay My Girlfriend at the Time (directed by Susan Seidelman); the pilot, “Blackmail U.” (co-written with ABC Family writer Andrea Abbate); the new play Love and Class in Connecticut (directed by Karen Carpenter of Love, Loss and What I Wore). Cinoman’s new play Guenevere is being developed as part of the Women’s Playwright Initiative at the Ivortyon Playhouse. She is the recipient of The Best Connecticut Filmmaker Award in 2009; The Best Narrative Film at New England Film and Video Festival; an Official Selection by The International Berkshire Film Festival; The Maxwell Anderson Playwrights Prize, and The Aristos Award with Theresa Rebeck. Susan lives with her husband in Connecticut. They have two daughters, a cat, a dog and a horse.

Ross Peter Nelson

Ross Peter Nelson earned his Playwriting MFA from the University of New Orleans. His most recent productions have been last year’s premier of his black comedy on internet surveillance, Becoming Number Six and the Montana production of Colter’s Hell, an ecological fable set in the Rockies.

David MacGregor

David is a playwright and screenwriter.  He is a resident artist at Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theatre in Michigan, where five of his plays have been produced.  His newest play, Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of the Elusive Ear, will premiere at the Purple Rose in 2018.  He has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama, his plays have been performed from New York to Tasmania, and his work has been published by Dramatic Publishing, Playscripts, and Heuer Publishing.  He wrote the screenplay for the dark comedy, Vino Veritas (2013), which stars Carrie Preston (Emmy-winner for The Good Wife), and his screenplay In the Land of Fire and Ice is a 2016 Athena List Winner (best screenplays featuring female protagonists).  In 2017, he has optioned two screenplays: Shadowplayers (Fishbowl Films) and The Malthus Directive (Fire Starter Studios).  (

Stephen Spotswood

Stephen Spotswood is a DC-based playwright, educator, and journalist. Produced works include: Doublewide (Florida Rep; Florida Studio Theatre); Girl in the Red Corner (The Welders); The Last Burlesque (Pinky Swear Productions); Walking The City Of Silence And Stone (Forum Theatre); In The Forest, She Grew Fangs (defunkt Theatre; Washington Rogues); We Tiresias (Best Drama, Capital Fringe Festival 2012); When the Stars Go Out (Bright Alchemy Theatre); Sisters of Ellery Hollow; The Resurrectionist King (Active Cultures Theatre); Off A Broken Road (Imagination Stage); and A Cre@tion Story for Naomi (Bright Alchemy). He is part of Forum Theatre’s artist ensemble and a member of the current generation of The Welders playwrights’ collective. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram at @playwrightsteve.

Deb Hiett

Playwright Deb Hiett moved to Los Angeles after years of living in New York City, where she performed as an actress, writer, dancer (scholarship with The American Dancemachine), and musician (founding member of the band “Orson Welk”). Deb’s play, “The Super Variety Match Bonus Round!” had its world premiere at L.A.’s Rogue Machine Theatre last fall, and The Los Angeles Times called it “ingenious”. Her ten-minute play, “The Presentation,” was selected for the 2017 Samuel French OOB Festival, as well as being a Finalist for the 2017 Heideman Award (Actors Theatre of Louisville). Deb’s play “Holding” was a Semifinalist in the 2015 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference.  Deb is a proud member of the Dramatist’s Guild, Playwrights Union, New Play Exchange, Actors’ Equity, and SAG-AFTRA, and she heads up Sweet Biscuit Productions. More at

“The Gulfshore Playhouse New Works Festival has restored my faith that even in a time of reduced budget for the arts in this country, there is still a place nurturing new voices.”

– Laura Maria Censabella (Playwright of Paradise, featured in the Fourth Annual New Works Festival)

Special Thanks To:

Season Angels: Jane and Steve Akin
Season Benefactors: 
Patty and Jay Baker
Season Ambassadors: Linda & Bob Harden, Dottie and John Remondi
Corporate Partners: Cohen and Grigsby Law Firm
Executive Producers: Christine and Terrance Flynn, Valerie and Nizar Ghoussaini, Rosemary  and Don Gunther, Christine Paddock