The Arkansas New Play Festival is headed back to the stage with three in-person readings of new works in its first installment at TheatreSquared on Aug. 22. Additional festival offerings will continue on digital platforms throughout the fall.

These readings serve as a capstone showcase for the playwrights who have spent the previous weeks hosted by T2 developing their new scripts. Featured works will include “FLEX” by Arkansan playwright Candrice Jones, a filmed showcase of “Remedios” by the LatinX Theatre Project (LXTP) and “The Heart’s Desire” by José Cruz González—whose play “American Mariachi” is opening this week on TheatreSquared’s West Theatre stage.

“We’re so excited to bring in Candrice Jones and José Cruz González to Northwest Arkansas to share their work and ideas with our audience, and to celebrate this new work by the LatinX Theatre Project,” said Dexter Singleton, T2’s director of new play development.
A screening of the short film “Remedios” will kick off the festival followed by a talkback with members of LXTP at 1 p.m. Following the screening will be a 3:30 p.m. reading of “FLEX” with a talkback. Finally, after a break for dinner, “The Heart’s Desire” will begin its performance followed by a talkback at 7 p.m.
Additional virtual and in-person events are in the planning stages for an extended festival continuing into the fall. The theater is hosting United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo as its 2021 Artist in Residence for the development of her new work “We Were There When Jazz Was Invented.”
The showcase will take place in Walker Hall at TheatreSquared, 477 West Spring Street in Fayetteville. Tickets are extremely limited and cost $10 per reading, or $30 for a festival pass that gives patrons access to all the events on Aug. 22 and future events throughout the fall.
About the Arkansas New Play Festival
Now in its 14th year, TheatreSquared’s Arkansas New Play Festival seeks to champion diverse plays that address important social, economic, and racial issues; to be a place our community can see themselves reflected on stage, and to present socially conscious new work.  The festival has launched more than 60 new plays and now allows for artistic collaboration in both digital and in-person workshop formats. During 2020, the Arkansas New Play Festival workshop for Russian Troll Farm by Sarah Gancher launched that play toward being named as New York Times Best Theater of the year.
The 2021 Arkansas New Play Festival is supported by Barbara Shadden, in memory of Harry Shadden, and by the National Endowment for the Arts.

About the Plays
by Candrice Jones:
It’s 1997 and the WNBA is changing the game. Every player on Plainnole’s Lady Train basketball team now dreams of going pro—but first, they’ll have to navigate the pressures of being young, black and female in rural Arkansas. Will their fouls off the court tear their team apart? Or can they keep their pact to stick together through hell or high water? With all the adrenaline and swagger of a four-quarter game, Candrice Jones’s powerful new play celebrates the fierce athleticism of women’s basketball.
The Heart’s Desire
by José Cruz González:
A drama about a Mexican-American WWII veteran who returns home with not only a new, young French wife, but also a new outlook on life. As he tries to make the best out of his situation and settle down to farm on a small plot of land, he is reminded that his hometown still carries prejudices from his father’s generation.
Remedios (short film)
directed by The LatinX Theatre Project (LXTP)
Remedios is a video project that explores the different ways of healing through art, and is meant to reveal how opportunity and access, and the lack thereof, can effect the change and outcome of how stories are told and perceived in communities. LatinX Theatre Project (LXTP) is a socially engaged theatre group of professionals and young artists-in-training that is committed to continuing an inclusive conversation about community identity through its devised theatre performances, Focused on authentic representation of the latinx communities of northwest arkansas, LXTP is supported by regional stakeholders, including the Walton Family Foundation, and is an artistic affiliate of TheatreSquared.
About TheatreSquared
TheatreSquared’s signature offering of bold new plays in an intimate setting has driven its growth to become the state’s largest theatre, offering more than 300 performances annually in two intimate spaces and online. The playwright-led company is one of mid-America’s leading laboratories for new work, having launched more than 60 new plays. Notable collaborators have included Bryna Turner, Anne García-Romero, Pulitzer Prize finalist Lisa D’Amour, Qui Nguyen, Mona Mansour, Tony Award nominee Lee Blessing, Mary Kathryn Nagle, Amy Evans, and many others. TheatreSquared’s remarkable expansion—with a twentyfold increase in audience in just the past decade—parallels the emergence of its home region in the northwest corner of Arkansas as a booming population center and destination for American art.  Offering far-reaching access and education programs and an open-all-day gathering space, the Commons Bar/Café,  TheatreSquared remains rooted in its founding vision, that “theatre—done well and with passion—can transform lives and communities.”