Biennial Celebration of New Work Returns with The Cohen New Works Festival


March 26, 2021

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APRIL 12-16, 2021

The Cohen New Works Festival, presented by the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin, returns in a five-day virtual festival celebrating new, student-created work April 12-16, 2021. The largest collegiate festival of its kind, the 2021 Cohen New Works Festival presents 33 all-new works, including dance and movement performances, works of theatre, installations and site-specific programming. This biennial festival continues to foster the next generation of undergraduate and graduate artists by providing the space and support for the development of innovative ideas, open discussion and interdisciplinary collaboration with the support of faculty co-producers, guest artists and scholars. The Cohen New Works Festival continues to empower students to further their creative growth by encouraging new artistic partnerships and amplifying unique and diverse voices.

“This year, The Cohen New Works Festival will be more innovative than ever,” share the Festival’s producers (Rusty Cloyes, Erica Gionfriddo, Kirk Lynn, Dorothy O’Shea Overbey, Patrick Shaw, Nanette Acosta, Mike Steele and Yessmeen Moharram). “The student creators of these pieces are expanding the boundaries of their artforms to find new ways to reach audiences. The 33 projects in this year's festival are boldly inventive, genre-bending, poignant explorations of topics such as immigration, neurodivergence, online culture, technology, food politics, gender, sexuality, isolation, gentrification and the nature of existence during a time of political and social upheaval. Running the gamut from digital operas to radio dramas to interactive online sculptures, each project is as unique and daring as the student artists behind it.”

The Cohen New Works Festival was named in honor of late David Mark Cohen, former head of playwriting for The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance, who was killed in a car crash on December 23, 1997. Throughout his life, Cohen was an adamant supporter of new work. In his honor, The Cohen New Works Festival continues to celebrate the ongoing process of creation, exploring the endless possibilities of devised and collaborative new work.

A selection of The Cohen New Works Festival projects include:

Selamatan for Austin, 20-21
Project Lead: Jeffrey Gan

Selamatan for Austin, 20-21 is part cooking show, part synchronized Zoom ritual that explores how food and cooking can connect and heal a fractured community. This project will include several interviews between Indonesian-American artist Jeffrey Gan and his friends and family, exploring the labor and stories embedded in the preparation of Indonesian food in the diaspora.

Under the Same Roof
Project Lead: Angelica Monteiro

Under the Same Roof is a dance-based short film that happens in Brazil and the United States simultaneously. The piece follows four humans in different parts of the world over the course of a dinner party. At the dinner table, they debate what it means to exist and resist in the 21st century, exploring their individualism and collective identities until they have to confront their biases and oppressors that take the form of parasitic masks that try to make them the main course of the night.

Spells of the Sea
Project Lead: Guinevere Govea

Spells of the Sea is a five-episode musical podcast for the whole family! Finley Frankfurter is a 15-year-old fisherwoman. H.S. Crank is a grumpy old lighthouse keeper. Together, this unlikely pair journeys through the ocean to find the Elixir of Life, an elusive remedy for what is ailing Finley’s father. Along the way, they discover the meaning of family, friendship and believing in yourself.

Riverside Dr.
Project Lead: Madison Cooper

Riverside Dr. is a photography exhibit aimed at dismantling toxic associations with Riverside and East Austin, home to a large population of people of color. This body of photographic work captures East Austin for what it is: a community. These photographs capture the people who live in these areas as well as some of the spaces they inhabit.

The Party, or the Myth of Iphis in Seven Sacraments on TikTok
Project Lead: Libby Carr

The Party, or the Myth of Iphis in Seven Sacraments on TikTok is a 21st century dance theatre adaptation of chapter 10 of Ovid's Metamorphoses. An exploration of obsessive romantic desperation, arbitrary markers of masculinity and the space between binaries, The Party is a whirlwind dance of queer love. 

All titles, times, locations and creative teams are subject to change.

For more information on The Cohen New Works Festival, please visit


April 12-16, 2021, The Cohen New Works Festival.

Performance times vary daily. All events are free, virtual and open to the public. For more information about the Festival lineup and scheduling, visit


The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance is a world-class educational environment that serves as the ultimate creative incubator for the next generation of artists, thinkers and leaders in theatre and performance.