IGNITION Festival of New Plays is a national annual festival devoted to fostering a community of support for the development of outstanding new plays and nurturing relationships with emerging and established playwrights.

All readings are free and open to the public. General Admission, but seating will be reserved for Members, Subscribers and Donors of Victory Gardens Theater.


Six New Plays

Antoinette Nwandu Tuvalu, or The Saddest Song
by Antoinette Nwandu
Friday, August 4 | 7:30pmIt is Los Angeles in the mid-nineties, and Jackie-girl is at a crossroads. This lyrical and powerful coming of age story with a soundtrack asks how the girls whose mothers’ lives have been tainted by abuse, violence, poverty, and shame ever grow into healthy and empowered women.
Tori Sampson This Land Was Made
by Tori Sampson
Saturday, August 5 | 3:00pmOakland in 1967 was a powder keg of social activism about to boil over into radical action that would soon change how the whole country engaged in politics. For the patrons of Miss Trish’s Bar, however, these ain’t nothing but talking points—that is, until the full seductive and explosive force of the revolution walks through the door.
Ken Weitzman Spin Moves
by Ken Weitzman
Saturday, August 5 | 7:30pmIt’s 1996, the inaugural year of the WNBA, and Maja dreams of playing high school basketball – but having escaped to the U.S. from the war in Bosnia, panic attacks prevent her from playing the game she loves. That is, until a new coach appears at her high school. He helps Maja to face her fears, but his unorthodox tactics alarm Maja’s fiercely protective mother.
Julia Doolittle Tell Them I’m Still Young
by Julia Doolittle
Sunday, August 6 | 12:00pmAllen and Kay are approaching sixty-five when their only daughter is killed in a car crash. Now parents without children, the two struggle to renegotiate their identities and their marriage, as the entrance of two young people revives a painful longing for what’s been lost: their family and their futures.
Hansol Jung Wolf Play
by Hansol Jung
Sunday, August 6 | 3:00pmAn American father un-adopts a Korean boy but just before he leaves the new house, the ex-father finds out that the new couple to whom he has “re-homed” his ex-son, is lesbian. This doesn’t sit well with ex-father at all. The boy is actually not a real boy. He is a puppet. And his puppeteer is the Emcee of the evening, and spinner of the night’s tale: a lone wolf.
Kristiana Rae Colón Suspension
by Kristiana Rae Colón
Sunday, August 6 | 7:30pmOn the 100th day of 45’s first term, two Black teen girls stage a coup of the authoritarian regime of Climb & Succeed Charter Academy, a not-so-dystopian high school where campus security patrols the halls in riot gear and a new disciplinary code takes in-school suspension to a haunting extreme. Voltaire & Yansa, guided by a mystic teaching artist, learn to wield their ancestral magic and blackgirl badassery to combat the harrowing militarization of public education.


Join Us For These Special Events

IGNITION Opening Night Kick-Off
Victory Gardens Lobby | 9:30 p.m.

Stick around for this opening night celebration with a live DJ, delicious appetizers, and complimentary drinks as we raise a glass to kick off our IGNITION Festival of New Plays.

Bringing New Plays To Life
Panel Conversation | Richard Christiansen Theater | 5:00 p.m.

Victory Gardens is home to some of the richest and boldest new plays premiering across the country. In a city where audiences are hungry for new theatre work, what is the current state of new play development and its future? What are the best practices for new play collaborations? Join this timeless conversation on the new play process featuring IGNITION playwrights Antoinette Nwandu, Tori Sampson, Ken Weitzman, Julia Doolittle, Hansol Jung, and Kristiana Rae Colón.

VIP Lounge
Pre-show Drinks | Rehearsal Room | 6:00 p.m.

Need a break from all the new-play excitement? Head up to the Rehearsal Room across from the Richard Christiansen Theater and enjoy some (complimentary/discount) pre-show cocktails/beer and wine/drinks before the reading of SPIN MOVES.

Artist Meet, Greet, & Ice Cream Social
Victory Gardens Lobby | 9:30 p.m.

Hang out with the artists themselves and cool off with boozy ice cream floats at this post-show artist meet & greet.

VIP Lounge
Pre-show Mimosas | Rehearsal Room | 10:00 a.m.

Ease into a full Sunday of new work in our VIP Lounge. Relax and enjoy coffee and mimosas before our final three plays by Julia Doolittle, Hansol Jung, and Kristiana Rae Colón.

The Race Race
Panel Conversation | Richard Christiansen Theater | 5:00 p.m.

In a country so divided and polarized by topics of race, how are these conflicts reflected in the dramatic arts? What role does theater play in conversations around race and how can it begin the process of healing and understanding Join IGNITION and Chicago-based playwrights as we begin to uncover the role race plays in creating new work.