Ignition New Play Program

The Ignition New Play Program comprises two annual events devoted to fostering a community of support for the development of outstanding new plays, and nurturing relationships with emerging and established playwrights. All Ignition New Play Program events are free and open to the public.

Ignite Chicago is a yearlong reading series, presenting new plays from October through June. Readings are hosted by partner organizations across the city or presented live at the Biograph Theater.

The 20/50 Festival takes place annually in late June, and features readings of three new works from playwrights over 50, staged by Victory Gardens Director’s Inclusion Fellows. These exciting collaborations between established playwrights and the next generation of directors are hosted at the Biograph Theater.

The Ignition New Play Program was founded in 2010 as a weekend-long play festival, featuring up to six readings of new plays. To date, Ignition has presented 55 plays from 52 playwrights, 14 of which have gone on to later have their world premiere at Victory Gardens.

2021/22 Ignite Chicago Reading Series

Join us for a full season of new readings! Registration will open on our website approximately one month before each Ignite Chicago reading, and is free for all. Readings will take place at Victory Gardens Theater and across the city of Chicago, with locations available once registration opens.

Tokens of Promise
The Bottoming Process
exercise your demons: a play on the trauma of a gay male body
Primary Trust
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  • October 2021: Mexodus by Nygel D. Robinson & Brian Quijada
  • December 2021: Tokens of Promise by Ada A.
  • December 2021: The Bottoming Process by Nicholas Pilapil
  • February 2022: exercise your demons: a play on the trauma of a gay male body by Gage Tarlton
  • April 2022: Primary Trust by Eboni Booth
  • July 2022: Nancy by Rhiana Yazzie

Production History

  • #NEWSLAVES by KEELAY GIPSON
  • THEY COULD GIVE NO NAME by EXAL IRAHETA
  • RECKONING: FURIES FROM A NEW QUEER NATION by GERALDINE INOA
  • THE TASTERS by MEGHAN BROWN
  • [hieroglyph] by ERIKA DICKERSON-DESPENZA
  • THE GRADIENT by STEPH DEL ROSSO


  • PROSTHESIS by ROBERT ASKINS
  • YOUNG AMERICANS by LAUREN YEE
  • WHITE HISTORY by DAVE HARRIS
  • HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF by LILY PADILLA
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2019
  • SEEING EYE by NICK MALAKHOW
  • THE FIRST DEEP BREATH by LEE EDWARD COLSTON II
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2019


  • SPIN MOVES by KEN WEITZMAN
  • SUSPENSION by KRISTIANA RAE COLÓN
  • TELL THEM I’M STILL YOUNG by JULIA DOOLITTLE
  • THIS LAND WAS MADE by TORI SAMPSON
  • TUVALU, OR THE SADDEST SONG, by ANTOINETTE NWANDU
  • WOLF PLAY by HANSOL JUNG


  • THE WAYWARD BUNNY by GREG KOTIS
  • BREACH: A MANIFESTO ON RACE IN AMERICA THROUGH THE EYES OF A BLACK GIRL RECOVERING FROM SELF-HATE by ANTOINETTE NWANDU
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2018
  • EOM (END OF MESSAGE) by LAURA JACQMIN
  • KILL MOVE PARADISE by JAMES IJAMES
  • GAZA REHEARSAL by KAREN HARTMAN
  • GIRLS IN CARS UNDERWATER by TEGAN McLEOD


  • CONFESSIONS OF A P.I.M.P. by ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2016
  • QUEEN by MADHURI SHEKAR
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2017
  • SLAY & EAT by A. ZELL WILLIAMS
  • THE LAST BOOK OF HOMER by JOSÉ RIVERA
  • MUTHALAND by MINITA GANDHI
  • OFFICE HOUR by JULIA CHO
  • SADIE RIVER’S DRAG BALL ON THE LAWN by BASIL KREIMENDAHL


  • WHERE DID WE SIT ON THE BUS? by BRIAN QUIJADA
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2017
  • LACK ON LACK by APRIL FOOLS
  • SENDER by IKE HOLTER
  • SLINGSHOT by KIA CORTHRON
  • HILLARY AND CLINTON by LUCAS HNATH
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2016
  • FOR TOMORROW, PLEASE PREPARE by PAUL DOWNS COLAIZZO
  • COCKED by SARAH GUBBINS
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2016


  • SEVEN SPOTS ON THE SUN by MARTIN ZIMMERMAN
  • SAMSARA by LAUREN YEE
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2015
  • THE SHOTGUN MESSAGE by A. REY PAMATMAT
  • DR. ALI GOES NATIVE by YUSSEF EL GUINDI
  • APPROPRIATE by BRANDEN JACOBS-JENKINS
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2013
    OBIE — Best New American Play, 2014


  • THE SUBJECT by CHISA HUTCHINSON
  • AURORA by LEONARD MADRID
  • EDITH CAN SHOOT THINGS AND HIT THEM by A. REY PAMATMAT
  • MALA HIERBA by TANYA SARACHO
  • WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT A PRESENTATION ABOUT THE HERERO OF NAMIBIA, FORMERLY KNOWN AS SOUTH-WEST AFRICA, FROM THE GERMAN SUDWESTAFRIKA, BETWEEN THE YEARS 1884-1915 by JACKIE SIBBLIES
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2012
  • UNDONE by ANDREA THOME


  • THE IMAGINE MAN by CHRISTOPHER DE PAOLA
  • A BETTER BABYLON by MICHAEL LEW
  • THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY by KRISTOFFER DIAZ
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2009
    Finalist For Pulitzer Prize, 2010
    OBIE — Best New American Play, 2011
  • BATHING VAN GOGH by BRIAN TUCKER
  • YEAR ZERO by MICHAEL GOLAMCO
    Victory Gardens Theater World Premiere, 2009
    Grand Prize Winner, Chicago Dramatists Many Voices Project, 2008
  • FATI’S LAST DANCE by FRANCE-LUCE BENSON

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