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new play development lab

In 2002, the New Play Development Lab was created to commission and develop new work to expand the canon of LGBT-themed plays, give voice to new and diverse playwrights, and add to the list of over 40 World Premieres NCTC has produced since 1981.


Learn about becoming a Producer for NCTC's New Play Development Lab!


Works In Progress


Bruising The Fruit

by Ryan Fogarty


Due to his latent homosexuality, strict Catholic upbringing, and public shaming from a false accusation that he had a relationship with a student, Frances leads the life of a shut-in. He is victim to a crime he did not commit, but harboring shame for feelings he may have had. Bruising the Fruit takes a deep look at desire and the fall from grace.  



This Bitter Earth

by Harrison David Rivers 


After his white lover, a vocal #blacklivesmatter activist, is brutally attacked, Jesse, a black man, is forced to confront his own political apathy. This Bitter Earth, a new play by Harrison David Rivers, asks, in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s death, George Zimmerman’s acquittal, and the tragedies in Ferguson, Baltimore, Chicago, Minneapolis and Cleveland, what is the real cost of standing on the sidelines?


Leaving the Blues

by Jewelle Gomez

Waiting for Giovanni playwright Jewelle Gomez continues her work at NCTC with a commission to create Leaving the Blues, a new play about the life of Black lesbian blues singer/songwriter and actress Alberta Hunter (1895-1984). The story opens in the early 1960s with Hunter making the decision to make a professional comeback despite knowing how many doors to the past it may open. It was a period when public acknowledgement of lesbian life was not only disapproved of, but often treated as an illegal act. Framed by Alberta Hunter’s triumphant return to singing, the play is a backstage story which lays bare the tension this history creates for Hunter. Premiering in the 2016-17 Season.


War Play

by JC Lee


NCTC has commissioned up-and-coming screenwriter and playwright JC Lee to write War Play, a love story inspired by The Iliad that centers on the relationship of Achilles & Patroclus— Achilles’s closest companion.  Premiering in the 2016-17 Season.




Everything That’s Beautiful

by Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder


Southern playwright Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder joins the NCTC family to complete her play Everything That’s Beautiful, a play about a family’s internal and external struggles when their 8-year-old identifies as a girl.  Premiering in the 2016-17 Season.




New Play Development Lab launched in 2002 and has commissioned and produced the following World Premieres:


2003 - Mysterious Skin by Prince Gomolvilas

2004 - Breakfast with Scot by Michael Downing

2005 - Crucifixion by Terrence McNally

2006 - The War At Home by Brad Erickson. Recently

2008 - It's Murder, Mary! by Andrew Black and Patricia Milton

2011 - Waiting for Giovanni by Jewelle Gomez, in collaboration with Harry Waters, Jr

2012 - Rights of Passage by Ed Decker & Robert Leone

2013 - Pansy by Evan Johnson, in collaboration with Ben Randle (as part of Emerging Artist Program)

2013 - American Dream by Brad Erickson


New Play Development Lab is supported in part by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, and the generosity of our Individual Donors.




Plays From NCTC

The following plays commissioned and produced by NCTC are available for future productions.


For performance rights, please contact Ed Decker at ed@nctcsf.org


Waiting for Giovanni

by Jewelle Gomez, in collaboration with Harry Water’s Jr.


World Premiere, 2011-2012 Season


The year is 1956. A young black writer from the stoops of Harlem has become a literary success. He has a social circle that praises him, a profession that he loves, and an eager line of lovers. While writing his second novel however, Jimmy encounters hostility not only from his community of activists and writers, but from his white editor William. William warns Jimmy that the novel, filled with sensual homosexual content, will end his hard earned career. While Jimmy struggles with his peers, he also finds himself in conflict with Giovanni, the embodiment of his desire. Based on a split second if indecision in the mind of world renown author James Baldwin, Waiting for Giovanni explores the emotional and professional dilemmas that loom over this fierce Harlem man - a man who insists on being true to love, to politics, and to the ghosts that live in his head.



Rights of Passage

by Ed Decker & Robert Leone


World Premiere, 2012-2013 Season


Mixing traditional forms of storytelling, including puppetry, mask, and dance, with modern devices such as digital media, Rights of Passage deftly explores the struggle that each of us faces in establishing our identity and living in a way that is true to ourselves. At the center of the play is Wayan, a young, gay, Hindu man, who searches for a way to reconcile who he is with what his family and community expects of him. From the central story of Wayan’s journey, the play reaches out to tell true stories of struggles and triumphs from around the world. Each story fits into the play’s overall narrative, which is built around three key rites of passage in life – childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.


Purchase a copy of Rights of Passage


American Dream

by Brad Erickson

World Premiere, 2013-2014 Season


American Dream is set in San Diego, California and a Spanish colonial town deep in the heart of Mexico. The story straddles the border and explores the literal and spiritual frontiers the characters are challenged to cross. In the play, Tom, a recently divorced, and recently out, 40-something architect finds himself unexpectedly falling in love with his handsome Spanish teacher, Salvador, in the beautiful city of San Miguel, Mexico. Tom’s ex-wife, Cara, bitterly clings to the life that has been torn away from her and vows to keep Tom from bringing Salvador home to San Diego. Tom enlists the help of Cara’s beau, an influential Republican attorney, and that of an unlikely Minute Man, in an attempt to smuggle Salvador across the border.





NCTC is also committed to producing second and third productions of new work in San Francisco, enabling playwrights to realize productions of their plays beyond the world premiere.


For a complete list of NCTC's production history, click here.


NCTC is only accepting agency submissions at this time. Agents, to submit a play, please follow the guidelines here.