The Disappearing Man, Ignite! 2017

New Play Development

TheRep_ingite_4c.pngIn 2012, The Rep created a venue for some of the theatre world's most celebrated playwrights to workshop their new scripts. The Ignite! Festival of New Plays has served as a launching pad for numerous fresh and exciting works, nearly all of which have gone on to enjoy full productions at The Rep and companies throughout the country.

St. Louis audiences got to see these plays before just about anyone else, at staged readings featuring professional actors. Their feedback to the playwrights at post-show talkbacks helped these scripts to further grow and mature. 

Take a look below at what our Ignite! alums have gone on to achieve. Interested in submitting a script for a future Ignite! festival? Check out our play submission guidelines.


Teenage Dick

Ignite! 2017

Playwright: Mike Lew

World premiere: Ma-Yi Theater Company (New York City) – June 2018

The story: This brilliantly hilarious take on Shakespeare’s Richard III reimagines the most famous disabled character of all time as a 16-year-old outsider in the deepest winter of his discontent: his junior year of high school. Picked on because of his cerebral palsy, Richard is determined to have his revenge and make his name by becoming senior class president.


Until the Flood

Ignite! 2016

Playwright: Dael Orlandersmith

World premiere: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis – October 2016

Additional productions:

• Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (New York City) – January 2018
• Milwaukee Repertory Theater – March 2018
• Goodman Theatre (Chicago, IL) – April 2018
• A Contemporary Theatre (Seattle, WA) – June 2018

The story: In 2015, Dael Orlandersmith spent a week in St. Louis interviewing people from throughout the region about their reactions to the social unrest in Ferguson. From these conversations, she crafted a one-woman piece that examines the St. Louis area through a diverse tapestry of community voices.



Ignite! 2016

Playwright: Mona Mansour

World premiere: The Gift Theatre (Chicago, IL) – February 2017

The story: Conflict photographer Mia wakes up in an Istanbul apartment after being found unconscious at the scene of a massacre she was photographing. Mia, her girlfriend and mother attempt to unravel what happened.



Ignite! 2016

Playwright: Mickey Fisher

World premiere: Stages Repertory Theatre (Houston, TX) – May 2018

The storyIn the near future, a terminally ill woman volunteers for an experimental procedure that will allow her memories and personality to live on in her clone. Replica explores the question, "What does it mean to be human?"


Molly's Hammer

Ignite! 2015

Playwright: Tammy Ryan

World premiere: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis – March 2016

The story: In 1980, Pittsburgh housewife Molly Rush walked into a General Electric plant and took a hammer to a nuclear warhead to protest the buildup of America’s nuclear arsenal. Molly's Hammer is the account of one woman’s unwavering beliefs and her family’s desperate attempts to protect her from infamy.​  


The Full Catastrophe

Ignite! 2015

Playwright: Michael Weller

World premiere: Contemporary American Theatre Festival (Shepherdstown, WV) – July 2015

The story: Dr. Jeremy Cook has a problem. While he is a linguist (of moderate renown), he is also unemployed, broke, and haunted by the words of an old friend who says that basically, ‘his timing sucks majorly.’ In desperation, Cook accepts an offer from the enigmatic Roy Pillow to serve as part of a research experiment, living with a married couple as their relationship counselor.



Ignite! 2014

Playwrights: West Hyler and Matt Schatz

World premiere: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis – January 2016

Additional productions:

• Great River Shakespeare Festival (Winona, MN) – June 2016
• New York Musical Festival – August 2017

The story: In the mid-1800s, John Banvard created the first georama, a three-mile long scrolled painting celebrating the majesty of the Mighty Mississippi. Once a starving sketch artist, his creation catapulted him to a life of luxury and notoriety, but also brought competition and deception that threatened to push his passion to the wayside. 


Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher About Evolution

Ignite! 2014

Playwright: Stephen Massicotte

World premiere: Next Act Theatre (Milwaukee, WI) – April 2015

The story: A biology teacher and her devoutly religious student go toe-to-toe on the nature of evolution in a fascinating, often humorous take on the faith vs. science debate.


Soups, Stews and Casseroles: 1976

Ignite! 2013

Playwright: Rebecca Gilman

World premiere: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis – March 2014

Additional productions:

• Goodman Theatre (Chicago, IL) – May 2016

The story: When the main employer in Monroe, Wisconsin is acquired by a major manufacturer, a once peaceful small town turns into a battleground as families struggle to retain their independence, identity and livelihoods. While new opportunities develop for some, difficult choices must be made, putting loyalties and relationships to the test. 


The Invisible Hand

Ignite! 2012

Playwright: Ayad Akhtar

World premiere: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis – March 2012

Additional productions:

• A Contemporary Theatre (Seattle, WA) – September 2014
• New York Theatre Workshop – November 2014
• Tricycle Theatre (London, UK) – May 2016

... And many more.

The story: In remote Pakistan, Nick Bright awaits his fate. A highly successful player at a major investment bank, Nick is kidnapped by an Islamic militant group, but with no one negotiating for his release, the prisoner must take matters into his own hands.


Gidion's Knot

Ignite! 2012

Playwright: Johnna Adams

World premiere: Contemporary American Theatre Festival (Shepherdstown, WV) – July 2012

Additional productions: 

• InterAct Theatre Company (Philadelphia, PA) – January 2014
• Aurora Theatre (Berkeley, CA) – January 2014
• Stages Repertory Theatre (Houston, TX) – March 2014
• Bridge Repertory Theatre (Boston, MA) – June 2014
• St. Louis Actors' Studio – February 2016

... And many more.

The story: Over the course of a 90-minute parent/teacher conference, a grieving mother and an emotionally overwhelmed primary school teacher have a fraught conversation about the tragic suicide of the mother's son – and the teacher's student – Gidion.