Sept 20 & 21, 2019 | 7pm CST
The West Side Show Room
1414 N Main Street, Rockford, IL 61103
Admission: FREE

In its fifth year, the Rockford New Play Festival gives established and aspiring playwrights from the Rockford Area the opportunity to have their plays presented professionally to the public alongside the work of national and international playwrights. 

This year we asked playwrights to write new ten page plays inspired by the theme “Over… The Edge.” We are interested in works that explore society's artificial boundaries: the effect they have on the people of both sides— and those who risk everything to cross over.

Six scripts were chosen as official selections of the festival, and announced on July 15th, 2019.

Each play will be presented in a staged reading in Rockford, Illinois on September 20th and 21st, 2019 at 7pm CST. The September 20th staged reading will be broadcast on Facebook Live.

Each of the six playwrights receives a $200 royalty for their play.


Promposal by Mika Doyle (Rockford, IL)
A teenage girl has a deceptively simple daughter/father talk in the family van while working up the nerve to ask her date to the prom.

Up There by Sandra Hosking (Newman Lake, WA)
A couple hikes down a steep mountain to the river’s edge and realize what comes down-- must go back up!

Why? by Chris Widney (New York, NY)
We all know the chicken wanted to get to the other side-- but what was she trying to get away from?

Rainbow Warriors by Linda Zuba (Rockford, IL)
A Rockford, Illinois lawyer keeps her promise to pass along the stories of courage, hope and love from the countless mothers she has encountered at the southern border of the United States.

Violet Mustard-Brimley,
Will You Please Be My First Kiss Please?
(If You Should So Choose)
by Matthew Weaver (Spokane, WA)
A popular vlogger and online influencer takes the Blue Kiss No. 35 challenge with Kale2927.

Starlight by Andrew Lee (Hamilton, ON)
When Alex’s partner Agnes begins to lose her sight, she starts labeling objects throughout the house with memories written in braille.




Mika Doyle is a bisexual, half-Japanese writer and poet who has written about topics such as rape culture, gender inequality, and issues facing the LGBTQ+ community in publications such as Bustle, Elite Daily, and Bitch Media. Her poetry has appeared in The Dime Show Review, Artemis journal, On Loss: An Anthology, and Dirty Girls Magazine. She lives in Rockford, Illinois, with the love of her life, an 85-pound American bulldog named Titan.



Sandra Hosking

Sandra Hosking’s plays have been performed across the U.S. and internationally, including the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, the American Globe’s 15-minute play festival in New York, Buffalo Laboratory Theatre, Chicago’s Gorilla Tango and more. A champion of new works, she is founder of Play-Makers Spokane and formerly a resident playwright at Stage Left Theatre and Spokane Civic Theatre. A member of the Dramatists Guild of America, she holds an M.F.A. in theatre from the University of Idaho and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Eastern Washington University.


Chris Widney

Chris Widney is a New York City based playwright, book writer and lyricist who tries to spend as much time as possible wandering around in the mountains. Full-length plays, “Big, Fat And Ugly With A Moustache” (Perry Street Theatre, NYC), “Family Men” (Arden, Philadelphia), “The Normals” (Luna Stage, NJ), “Consumed” (Barter Theatre, VA). Other full-lengths, one-acts, musicals and screenplays have been presented, read, work-shopped and honored in theatres and contests around the world including The Actors Theatre Of Louisville, City Theatre, Miami and The Fire Rose Theatre in Los Angeles. He is co-author of a book about squash (the sport, not the vegetable), a member of The Dramatists Guild, the BMI Workshop, and a graduate of the Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU.

Chris Widney - New Play Exchange


Linda Zuba

Linda is a Rockford, Illinois attorney and partner at Zuba & Associates, P.C. where she practices law with her husband, Jim. Linda is a community activist and human rights advocate. Linda has volunteered at an immigrant detention center in Texas and has traveled to Tijuana, Mexico on three separate occasions to help children and adults fleeing for their lives and trying to avail themselves of U.S. and international asylum laws.


Matthew Weaver

Matthew Weaver is a Spokane, WA playwright. He happily makes his return to the Rockford New Play Festival after participating last year with "The Boy on the Beach." His writing has been performed in 23 states, Canada, Ireland and Japan. Full-length plays include Bed Ride, Gluttony and Lust Are Friends, Aces are Feverish and Timmy's Big Kiss. Shorter plays include A New Play By Matthew Weaver, Another Play by Matthew Weaver and Help! I'm Trapped in a Monologue Written by Matthew Weaver! (Photo by Crystal Madsen Photography of Spokane)

Matthew Weaver - New Play Exchange

Interview With Matthew Weaver


Andrew Lee

Andrew Lee is an award winning playwright who has had 11 of his plays come to stage. Andrew particularly likes to write about memory and different ways of representing memory on stage. Often he will incorporate spoken word poetry in his plays. Andrew proudly makes his home Hamilton, Canada along with his awesome writer wife Katrine and his two amazing daughters -- Nora and Iris.



Denise Yvette Serna


Denise is a theatre practitioner and arts activist based in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago credits include La Ruta (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), The Revolutionists (Strawdog Theatre Company), LTC Carnaval 2018: ConeXion! (Latinx Theatre Commons), HIR (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Earthquakes in London (Steep Theatre Company), The View Upstairs (Circle Theatre Chicago), For the Love of (Pride Films & Plays), HOMESET (Pop Magic Productions), SPARK (20% Theatre Company), (the)forget_me\knot (inappropriate theatre company), La Chingada (inappropriate theatre company), and Climate Change Theatre Action - Chicago (Global Hive Laboratories). International credits include MEDUSA (Global Hive Laboratories), Much Ado About Nothing (The Shaw Theatre), Om Swastyastu from London - The Wailing Woman (Institut Seni Indonesia Denpasar), and Heart’s Core (CAN - Refugee Women's Theatre Programme). Denise holds an MFA in Theatre Directing and is co-founder of Global Hive Laboratories, a collective of international practitioners working toward a global theatre. She is an alumna of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Multicultural Fellowship, and serves as a member of artEquity’s diverse cadre of facilitators who support equity-based initiatives nationwide. She is committed to supporting arts organizations as they incorporate the ideals of equity, diversity, access and inclusion into their programming and internal operations, and move toward becoming transformative Anti-Racist forces in their communities.



The 2019 submissions deadline was May 15, 2019 at 5:00pm CST. Playwrights will be notified about the status of their submission no later than July 15th, 2019.

Have questions?  Please email us at newplayfest@thewssr.org.


Playwright royalties for the 2019 Rockford New Play Festival were made possible by a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois.  

The mission of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois is to serve as a catalyst for giving in order to attract, preserve, and grow an endowment for the current and future needs of the people of Northern Illinois. Since its founding in 1953, CFNIL has granted more than $65 million for charitable purposes in the region.


The 2019 Rockford New Play Festival is made possible by a generous grant from the Rockford Area Arts Council

The Rockford Area Arts Council supports, promotes, and develops the arts for everyone in the Northern Illinois region.


Denise Yvette Serna

Stephanie Anderson
Erik Strebig

Mike Werckle

Rachel León

Manu Montalvo

Sharon Nesbit-Davis, Nathan Alan Davis, Mike Werckle

The Rockford New Play Festival is in its fifth year.
Learn more about the 2018 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.