Nan Barnett

Nan Barnett

Nan Barnett is a new play developer and producer and an advocate for theater-makers and the theater they make. She is the Executive Director of National New Play Network, the country's alliance of more than 125 theaters that collaborate in innovative ways to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays.

During her previous tenures on NNPN’s Executive Committee and as its President...
Nan Barnett is a new play developer and producer and an advocate for theater-makers and the theater they make. She is the Executive Director of National New Play Network, the country's alliance of more than 125 theaters that collaborate in innovative ways to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays.

During her previous tenures on NNPN’s Executive Committee and as its President she worked to create and implement several of the organization’s revolutionary initiatives, including the acclaimed NNPN Rolling World Premiere and NNPN Playwright and Producer Residency programs. She took over the Network’s administration full time in 2013. She guided NNPN through the development and launch of its field-altering database, the New Play Exchange, which is now home to information on more than 24,000 plays by living writers and has users around the world. Under Nan’s leadership, NNPN received The Washington Post’s Award for Innovative Leadership in the Theater Community, quadrupled its membership, built a strong base of nationwide support, and dramatically increased both earned and unearned income.

Most recently she has led the Network’s constituencies through a two-year strategic planning process that resulted in a complete renovation of the organization’s governance structure to achieve racial and gender parity at the Board level. She is also, in addition to growing and strengthening NNPN’s programs and support, currently spearheading collaborative partnerships between the Network and, among others, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, The Kennedy Center, and Theatre Development Fund.

Nan was the Coordinating Producer for the 2015 and 2018 iterations of the nationally acclaimed Women’s Voices Theater Festival in the nation's capital region. She was a founding company member and the long-time Managing Director of the nation’s largest regional theater producing exclusively new and developing plays and musicals, Florida Stage. During her twenty-four seasons there she oversaw the development and production of hundreds of new works for both emerging and veteran playwrights and won the Theatre League of South Florida’s Remy Award for service to the theatrical community and the Fallon Award for Excellence from the Florida Professional Theatre Association.

A graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts Professional Actors Training Program, Nan was a three-time nominee and twice won South Florida’s Carbonell Award as an actress. She was a member of the inaugural Helen Hayes Awards’ New Play Panel for the national capital region and is on the Artistic Council of the O’Neill Theater Center and PlayPenn, and was inducted into the National Theatre Conference in 2017.

Nan regularly leads board and artist training sessions across the country and is a frequent featured speaker and panelist at events ranging from playwright workshops to national convenings including this year’s Theatre Communications Group, National Alliance of Musical Theaters, TYA/USA, and Association of Performing Arts Service Organizations National Conferences and the Humana Festival of New American Plays.

Recommended by Nan Barnett

  • miku, and the gods.
    16 Sep. 2019
    Oh I love these characters and this play. Funny, touching, and inspiring, provocative and powerful, this one deserves your attention, especially if you are interested in seeing smart, funny, characters of color on your stage and have a desire to work with a flexibly sized chorus.
  • In Every Generation
    16 Sep. 2019
    A gorgeous, lush look at the lives of three generations and the impact of the Holocaust on them. Past, present, and future combine as the story moves back and forth, giving us glimpses of how their love both protects and hinders them. A beautiful play from a writer to watch.
  • Djarum Vanilla
    8 Aug. 2018
    A look at the lives of those rarely seen on stage - two young people, living on the margins of society, each attempting to be their best possible selves while pushing back against the forces of poverty, the criminal justice system, the failures of America's social services, and the prevailing winds of racial tension. Their friendship is a delight, their resilience empowering, but the story is steeped in the truths of where and when we live. This is a play for those looking to reflect all aspects of their community in programming.
  • You Must Wear a Hat
    7 Aug. 2018
    I love this play and can't wait to see it produced. This story of two people brought together by climate and cirumstance is Beckett-like in its approach to communication, setting the stage for two remarkable performances. This is your play if you'd like a dark comedy about the connections humans make and break, and the magic that can result from a bond beween humans. (Oh, and a rabbit.)
  • Mothers
    6 Aug. 2018
    What a twist! This comedy about the perils of mothering in the post-modern (and slightly post-present) age turns from a delightful and very funny examination of class, female friendship, and the eccentricities of being “a good mother” to a post-civilization as we know it life and death trial. At first humorous and then increasingly horrifying, this is a strong play for a smart audience and a multiracial cast of 4 women and one man.