STAGED READING August 24, 2017 | 7pm
Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center
406 N Main Street, Rockford

FESTIVAL DIRECTOR Charlyne Blatcher Martin
PRODUCED BY Mike Werckle

The 2017 Rockford New Play Festival presented a staged reading of six new ten-minute plays on August 24th at the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center Chapel in Rockford, Illinois.

In it's third year, the purpose of the Rockford New Play Festival is to give established and aspiring playwrights from the Rockford Area the opportunity to have their work presented professionally to the public alongside the work of national and international playwrights. 

This year, playwrights were invited to share plays inspired by the question: “In light of the recent Women’s March on Washington, ‘Where Are You Going?’”

Out of 160 submissions from around the world, a curated slate of plays was assembled which best answered this question. Two of the plays were by Rockford area playwrights, three from national playwrights, and one from Canada.


Climbing To God by Dave Carley (Toronto, ON)
Mabel and Rose have decided to climb to God (whom they believe resides six miles above earth in a small box) so they can be returned to life on earth as men. 

Dinner For Dear Husband by Rachel León & Ryann Robertson (Rockford, IL)
A woman living under a repressive regime makes a radical choice.

Infinite Awareness of the Present by Mahasin D. Shamsid-Deen (Prince George, VA)
A young African American Muslim woman challenges her former Nigerian suitor.

Laundry At the Coin & Spin by Stacey Isom Campbell (Cleveland, TN)
Oleta's routine at a Georgia laundromat is interrupted when a young woman seeks refuge from her tour group.

Calypso and I by William Daer (Rockford, IL)
While sitting in a bus station, Jen meets an older gentleman with a crazy dream and is given a choice whether or not to follow hers.

Stamina by Donna Kaz (New York, NY)
Two 81 year old women set out to climb Mount Everest with courage, strength and endurance.



Stacey Isom Campbell

Stacy Isom Campbell

Stacey Isom Campbell received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Old Dominion University. A few of her plays include Smokin’ Devils, California Dreamin’, On the 8’s, Dough & Cookies, The Memory of Ice, Paper Lanterns, and Laundry at the Coin & Spin. Her work has been seen at the Barter Theatre’s Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights, Playwrights’ Theater, Pittsburgh New Works Festival, Great Plains Theatre Conference, L.A. First Stage, Third Course: Theatre, EstroGenius Xtended, Red Clay Theatre, and others. She is also a Fellow of The Hambidge Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Currently, she teaches creative writing at Lee University in Tennessee. Find out more about her work at:


William Daer

William Daer.jpg

A lifelong resident of Rockford, Illinois William Daer is the owner of Strawman Productions, a video production company. Writing is a long time hobby of his, having written an assortment of (as yet undiscovered) screenplays, short stories, and partially completed manuscripts. Calypso and I is his first stage play.


Dave Carley

Dave Carley’s plays have had over 450 productions across Canada and the United States. They include Taking Liberties, Test Drive, Conservatives in Love and The Last Liberal. His most recent work, Twelve Hours, a drama about the death penalty, premiered in Columbus, Ohio to rave reviews. Dave is based in Toronto, Ontario. For more on him, go to


Donna Kaz

Donna Kaz is a multigenre writer and a feminist activist based in New York City. She is a columnist for The Clyde Fitch Report and has written for MS. Magazine, Trivia: Voices of Feminism, The Dramatist, Ful Art magazine, Girl Drive Blog, Lilith, The Sun, Gender Across Borders, Women in Hollywood and Step Away Magazine (Pushcart prize nomination). Her plays and performances have been produced at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Harlem Stage, Trinity College/Dublin, The Spit Lit Festival/London, International Women’s Arts Festival/UK, Women Playwrights International Conference/Sweden, City of Women Festival/Slovenia, Kultury w Poznaniu/Poland and Lincoln Center. Kaz is the recipient of a Venus Theatre Lifetime Achievement Award and an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant. For her work creating activist art as the Guerrilla Girl, Aphra Behn, she has received the Yoko Ono Courage Award for the Arts, the Skowhegan medal and the Art is a Hammer Award. Her memoir, UN/MASKED, Memoirs of a Guerrilla Girl On Tour was named best nonfiction book of 2017 by Devil’s Kitchen Literary Festival. @donnakaz @GuerrillaGsOT


Rachel León

Rachel León is a fiction writer and lifelong resident of Rockford. She is a regular contributor to Chicago Review of Books, fiction editor of Arcturus, outreach coordinator for Scoundrel Time, and works with Writers Resist. Dinner For Dear Husband is her first play.


Ryann Robertson

Ryann Robertson is a freelance writer and lifelong resident of Rockford. She works with Writers Resist, including as editor of their e-zine, and works with various community groups to oppose bigotry and help support those most vulnerable to it. Dinner For Dear Husband is her first play.


Mahasin D. Shamsid-Deen

Mahasin D. Shamsid-Deen is a world renowned author, poet and published playwright with plays performed, staged and or read in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. Her play One God was translated into Arabic, Spanish and Malay and presented in private audience to the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Her other writings include poetry, online blogs and articles, technical manuals and articles in academic journals - the latest being a December 2016 issue at Mahasin feels there is a need for more variables in the artistic expression of women and ethnic minorities and has written a number of pieces that explore faith, identity, subculture and struggle. Her plays are a regular addition to the Richmond Virginia Annual Acts of Faith Festival. She is a long time board member of IWA and member of the International Centre of Women Playwrights and Artistic Director of Woven Orbits.



Rockford Area Arts Council

The 2017 Rockford New Play Festival is made possible by a grant from the Rockford Area Arts Council.  


Playwright Awards are made possible by a generous grant from an anonymous grandmother who sees women as the key to making the world a better place for everyone, including her beloved grandchildren Angelmax, Gabrielle, Gavin, Scott, Elan, and Kai.


Linda Abronski
Stella Adams
Erin Brady
David Causey
George Davis
Erin Farste
Dereis Lambert

Festival Director: Charlyne Blatcher Martin
Festival Producer & Staged Reading Director: Mike Werckle
Festival Coordinator: Beth Edgerton

Rockford New Play Festival
Founders: Nathan Alan Davis, Sharon Nesbit-Davis, Mike Werckle

The Rockford New Play Festival is in its fifth year.
Learn more about the 2015 RNPF...

The West Side Show Room believes in freedom of expression and we present all works in their entirety. We encourage people of all ages to expose themselves to a wide range of art, and to engage in critical discussions about the content they encounter. For specific information about the language, content, and effects in a particular production, please contact us.