The mission of New Works, Inc. is to create a high-quality regional theatre for a community with an already progressive tradition in the arts and to become a positive part of that community’s cultural, educational and economic fabric. We strive to be a leader in the field of new play development becoming a resource for the national stage by promoting not only new drama, but new ideas and advances while also innovatively revisiting the existing library. We wish to serve both audiences and artists by strengthening the integral position of drama and its literature in our society.
New Works, Inc. was founded by Stephen Currens and Matt Kelder, along with original Trustees; Theresa Gilbert, Mary Carr, Chris Ertel and Peggi Stingle, on November 13th, 2012 as a Kentucky Non-profit Corporation. Application for 501(c) 3 tax exempt status was filed with the Internal Revenue Service on May 24th, 2013 and was awarded to the company on August, 30th, 2013.
Since its founding, New Works, Inc. has presented readings and productions of eleven new American plays by way of five major events, including its inaugural event, the 3 Wednesdays Series; 3 staged readings of never before seen or heard plays by both locally and nationally know authors. Some of Central Kentucky’s finest theatrical artists participated in these readings including; Julieanne Pogue, Dr. John B. Lynaugh, Beth Kirchner, Eric Seale, Kevin Hardesty, Rachel Rogers, Melissa Rae Wilkenson, Nick Swarts, Allie Darden, Bob Campbell, Joe Ferrell, Gina Scott-Lynaugh, Edmond Desiato, Laura Blake Bowling, and Reba Carroll. The company has already received the generous support of Lexington Children’s Theatre, LexArts, Actor’s Guild of Lexington, and many others who have provided assistance, services, or other support for our beginning efforts. In addition, we have produced a staged reading of With Respect to Mrs. Carter; The American Bernhardt by Kevin Lane Dearinger. The reading employed full production values, featured the talents of Ms. Julieanne Pogue as Mrs. Carter, and was directed by Bo List. Following this very successful event, New Works presented Saint Christopher is Not a Saint Anymore by New Orleans playwright, Hunt Scarritt. The show ran sixteen performances at the Downtown Arts Center in Lexington and was extremely well received by those who attended. That production featured the beautifully realized work of cast members; Lorne Dechtenberg, Jennifer Roth Parr, Nick Swarts, Burley Thomas, Leah-Marie McDivitt, Matt Kelder, and Bethany Finley, and was directed by New Works, Inc. Artistic Director, Stephen Currens. In August of 2014 the company conducted a workshop for playwrights as well as a series of readings of as yet unproduced plays, all at the Lexington Public Library Farish Theatre. In its 2015 season, New Works, Inc. is planning a full-scale world premier production as well as a Christmas offering. Plans for Spring of 2016 are not yet finalized. The newly elected officers of the New Works, Inc. board of trustees are Dr. John B Lynaugh (President), Mr. William T. Watts (Secretary & Treasurer), and Mr. Angel Levas (Vice President) -- all are highly experienced theatrical specialists or activists and are well-regarded stalwarts of the Central Kentucky arts and theatre scene.
In its short history of just thirty-three months, New Works, Inc. has already gainfully employed in its productions thirteen artists and technicians. In addition we have furthered the development of over 11 new plays, thus advancing them as marketable theatrical literature. We have brought to light previously forgotten local theatre history through the premier of a new play (In Respect to Mrs. Carter; the American Bernhardt) depicting the career of a local actress from the turn of the twentieth century. In this way, New Works, Inc. has encouraged the local theatre community to investigate and produce new material for the stage. Several local companies are now producing more new plays as a result. We have promoted the cause of real professional theatre in Central Kentucky and improved awareness of its importance in a growing cosmopolitan community. Thus, New Works, Inc., through dauntingly hard financial times, and without corporate, foundation, or government assistance, has already had a notable and substantial impact on the Central Kentucky arts and cultural environment and even beyond.
We believe in the indispensable function of the arts in growing a healthy society and that a regional professional theatre should both reflect and challenge the community. We believe in being a supportive and effective partner to our local and regional community and we believe in employing professionals to produce professional results. We further believe in fiscal accountability and responsible sustainability as an organization.
We at New Works, Inc. believe in a fully inclusive attitude toward our theatre community, asking all, regardless of other arts organizations she or he may choose to support, to partner with us toward the goal of a fully professional regional theatre that serves the diverse audiences of Central Kentucky. We strive to become a cultural and economic entity which can employ our burgeoning community of artists while entertaining, enlightening, and enjoyably educating the greater urban area. New Works, Inc. would therefore be delighted to have you join us in our effort to establish a new American theatre company. We invite you to become a supporter and active participant in New Works, Inc. today. Work is fully underway.
Join us now as we begin an amazing new venture in theatrical art.
The goal of New Works, Inc. is to entertain, enlighten and educate local and visiting audiences while serving as a springboard for the talents of young artists in our community and beyond while giving voice to new dramatists in our midst. We seek to serve the national and international theatrical marketplace by discovering, developing, and producing high-quality drama, new theatrical production techniques, new concepts and styles, as well as emerging technologies. We seek to create a high-quality community of theatrical artists along with a well educated, sophisticated, and discerning audience.
In its short history of nearly three years, New Works, Inc. has already gainfully employed in its productions 13 artists, technicians and craftspersons. By doing so we have helped them to enhanced public awareness thus improving their careers. We have brought to light previously forgotten local theatre history through the production of a play depicting the career of a local actress from the turn of the twentieth century. We have encouraged the local theatre community to investigate and produce new material for the stage. Several local companies are now producing more new plays. We have promoted the cause of professional theatre in Central Kentucky and improved awareness of its importance to growing cosmopolitan community. New Works, Inc., through dauntingly hard times has already had a notable and substantial impact on the Central Kentucky community. Our fundraising capabilities have , to date, been limited to individual gifts, thus limiting our financial capabilities and forcing us to concentrate primarily on survival in this difficult financial time. New Works, Inc. reaches the magic 3-year mile-marker in November of 2015 thus making us eligible for government and major foundation grants, and allowing us to aquire basic staff and secure the basic program (i.e. play production, etc.) budget that we so desperately need at this time.
STEPHEN CURRENS has worked as a playwright, actor and director in professional, semi-professional, and educational theatre for over 43 years. His work has been seen in stock, regional theatre and Los Angeles Equity Waiver Theatre as well as Off Off Broadway, Off Broadway and on Broadway in New York City. Mr. Currens has at least 14 plays and adaptations to his credit as a playwright including GOREY STORIES (a musical based on the work of humorist Edward Gorey, score by David Aldrich) which premiered at the University of Kentucky Department of Theatre in 1974 and went on to a run Off Broadway at the WPA Theatre (1977) and on Broadway at The Booth Theatre (1978). GOREY STORIES received the Los Angeles Ovation Award as Best Musical/Intimate Theatre (2007) for a revival at The Sacred Fools Theatre in that city. The script and score are published by Samuel French, Inc. A one-act, PHARMACEUTICALS also premiered at the Univ. of Ky. and appeared Off Broadway at the Quaigh Theatre (1979) and was revived Off Off Broadway at the No Smoking Playhouse (1981). Mr. Currens is also the author of a trilogy of one-act plays entitled PASSION IN THE ART which appeared Off Off Broadway at the Douglas Fairbanks Theatre (1984) also in NYC. Another trilogy of one-acts for women, OFFICIAL BUSINESS was presented by the Kentucky Playwright’s Theatre at The Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville, Ky. (1990). Children’s adaptations of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and THE TAMING OF THE SHREW have been presented in Kentucky, Florida and Texas semi-professional theatres and in educational productions. Most recently DIVINE RIGHT’S TRIP, a musical based on the novel by Kentucky’s Poet Laureate, Gurney Norman (book & lyrics by Stephen Currens with lyrics & music by John LaMar Cole) was presented in a staged reading at the Downtown Arts Center in Lexington, Ky. (April, 2010). THE HAPPY HOUR (a journey into the life and mind of a survivor of the NYC AIDS catastrophe and other tragedies) received a charity benefit preview world premier in Lexington Ky. in 2011, and SATURDAYS (a chronicle of the life-long efforts of a displaced farmer to understand his late twentieth century son) is yet to be produced. As an actor and director, Mr. Currens has many plays and musicals to his credit including his performance in the original Off Broadway production of GREATER TUNA at The Circle in the Square Downtown, NYC (1983) and his origination of the role of Douglas Pickleman in FONTANA DE LA MONTANA at The Riverside Boat Basin, NYC (1984). Mr. Currens currently resides in Versailles, Ky. and divides his time between his home and work as Artistic Director of New Works, Inc., an new theatre company located in Lexington.
MATT KELDER is a native Lexingtonian and has theatre experience dating back to his high school and college days at the University of Kentucky. He has accumulated a great deal of educational and professional theatre experience having appeared in numerous productions including; The Innocents, The Sound of Music, Romeo and Juliet, A Christmas Carol, Hot L Baltimore, Who? and Godspell. He recently appeared as "Chance" in The Happy Hour by Stephen Currens. and as "Brother" in St. Christopher is Not a Saint Anymore for NWI. He is now happy to be using his extensive experience as a business manager and event planner to benefit New Works, Inc. by taking on the role of its General Manager in his spare time.
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