Cohen New Works Festival

Presented by Broadway Bank

The Cohen New Works Festival presented by Broadway Bank is a biennial, week-long showcase of new work created by UT students held in various locations in and around The University of Texas at Austin campus. It is not just an event, but a celebration of a continuously ongoing process–the creation of new work.

Inaugurated in 2001, The Cohen New Works Festival was created and named in honor of David Mark Cohen, former head of playwriting for The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance. Cohen was killed in a car crash on December 23, 1997, but during his life, he was an adamant supporter of new work. In his honor, and through the generous support of Broadway Bank, the Cohen New Works Festival continues to explore the endless possibilities of devised and collaborative new work with no strings attached.

Today, the Festival has evolved to include not just plays, but all mediums of student-generated new work. It is the largest festival of its kind, being run and organized entirely by a committee of graduate and undergraduate students, with the support of faculty co-producers.

behind the festival

The rhythm of The Cohen New Works Festival has become the heartbeat of the Department of Theatre and Dance and a call to action for The College of Fine Arts. There are four components that keep The Cohen New Works Festival pulsating through its off year, during the event and throughout the nation; the projects, the committees, the guest artists and the audiences. 

The Executive Committee produces and facilitates the Festival. The Committee-at-Large, the Guest Artist Sub-Committee, Engaging Research Sub-Committee, and the Information Technology Sub-Committee assist them. The Executive Committee is called to action the year before each festival. One of their first tasks is coordinating the submission process for the selection of the coming festival’s projects.

The Projects range from new plays, dance, multimedia, installations, to site-specific performances. All are produced and performed by UT students. On average, more than 70 individuals and teams submit a project. Over 30 shows are selected and produced.

The Filaments: Sparked by Suzan Zeder: Three projects are selected to be apart of The Filaments. The selected projects are given a space for three-staged reading with the goal of having a unique experience to experiment, manifest their work and receive constructive attention.

Go! Grants: Applicants can also apply for a Go! Grant. Go! Grants are given to projects that collaborate with different departments at the university in an artistic undertaking. The grant’s intent is to help foster the development of these projects between their selection and the Festival.

Guest artists are brought to campus in order to continue the collaborative process during the Festival. The guest artists are nationally acclaimed and from a variety of disciplines. Selected artists attend the festival, correspond with a multiple pre-selected projects and connect our students to a national network.

Audiences grow in number and diversity every year of the Festival. With the support of Broadway Bank, the Festival is FREE for the public.

Visit The Cohen New Works Festival website to learn more!

View the Festival Guide for the 2015 Cohen New Works Festival. 

past festivals

Cohen New Works Festival 2015
Cohen New Works Festival 2013

Cohen New Works Festival 2011
Cohen New Works Festival 2009
Cohen New Works Festival 2007