About the Humana Festival of New American Plays
The Humana Festival of New American Plays is made possible by the generosity of the Humana Foundation.
More than 400 Humana Festival plays have been produced, including full-lengths, one-acts, monologues, T(ext) shirt, phone plays and car plays, representing the work of more than 200 playwrights.
More than three-quarters of the Humana Festival plays have been published in 21 Actors Theatre anthologies and individual acting editions, making them a part of the permanent canon of American dramatic literature.
Three Humana Festival plays have won the Pulitzer Prize: D. L. Coburn’s The Gin Game, Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart and Donald Margulies’ Dinner With Friends. Keely and Du by Jane Martin and Omnium-Gatherum by Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros and Theresa Rebeck, and Becky Shaw by Gina Gionfriddo were finalists.
Five Humana Festival plays have won the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize: How to Say Goodbye by Mary Gallagher, My Sister in this House by Wendy Kesselman, A Narrow Bed by Ellen McLaughlin, My Left Breast by Susan Miller and One Flea Spare by Naomi Wallace. Nine others have been finalists.
Naomi Iizuka’s Polaroid Stories won the Pen Center USA West Award and Bridget Carpenter’s The Faculty Room won the Kesselring Prize for playwriting.
Eight Humana Festival plays have won the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award: 2 by Romulus Linney, Dinner With Friends by Donald Margulies, Talking With by Jane Martin, Keely and Du by Jane Martin, Jack and Jill by Jane Martin, Getting Out by Marsha Norman, Anton in Show Business by Jane Martin, and Great Falls by Lee Blessing.
Four Humana Festival plays have won the OBIE Award: Slavs! by Tony Kushner, My Left Breast by Susan Miller, Marisol by José Rivera and One Flea Spare by Naomi Wallace.
Eight Humana Festival plays have been adapted for film and television and two for radio.
More than 30 foreign countries are normally represented by audience members at the festival each year.
More than 90 million Americans have seen additional productions of the many plays originated in the Humana Festival, not including film audiences who have seen Humana plays adapted for the screen.
Actors Theatre’s New Play Program encompasses the Humana Festival of New American Plays, the National Ten-Minute Play Contest and ongoing contact with more than 200 playwrights.
Approximately 2,000 scripts are received annually for consideration in the New Play Program. Nearly 75,000 scripts have been submitted since 1976.
The Humana Foundation has been sponsoring the festival for 30 years. The Humana Foundation’s support of Actors Theatre and the Humana Festival of New American Plays represents the longest, continuous and current partnership between a corporation and a theatre in the country. The Humana Foundation first sponsored the new play festival in 1980. In 1982, the festival was renamed the Humana Festival of New American Plays in honor of the Louisville-based company’s ongoing and generous support.
Since its inception, the Humana Foundation has placed an emphasis on civic and cultural development in communities where Humana has a meaningful presence. In a long-standing and thriving partnership, the Humana Foundation supports Actors Theatre of Louisville and its remarkable Humana Festival of New American Plays, demonstrating a joint commitment to artistic exploration and appreciation at home, across the region and around the globe.