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 120 not for profit, professional 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...
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 120 not for profit, professional 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 Premieres and NNPN Playwright and Producer Residency programs. Nan took over the Network’s administration full time in 2013. Since then she has led NNPN through the development and launch of its field-altering database, the New Play Exchange, earned The Washington Post’s Award for Innovative Leadership in the Theater Community, tripled its membership, and dramatically increased funding for the Network. She is currently spearheading collaborative partnerships between NNPN and, among others, the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, The Kennedy Center, and Theatre Development Fund, in addition to strengthening its other successful programs and projects.

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, Florida Stage. During her twenty-four seasons there she oversaw the development and production of hundreds of new plays and musicals for both emerging and veteran playwrights including Lee Blessing, William Mastrosimone, Tammy Ryan, Steven Dietz, Jeffrey Hatcher, Catherine Trieschmann, Christopher McGovern, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Christopher Demos-Brown, and Nilo Cruz. Nan is the winner of 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 and is on the Artistic Council of the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center and PlayPenn. Nan regularly leads board and artist training sessions across the country about the impact and business of new works, field innovation, gender parity, and a life in the theater, and is a frequent featured speaker at events ranging from playwright workshops to national convenings including the CityWrights Playwrights Conference, Florida Repertory Theatre's New Voices, the Denver Center New Play Summit, Theatre Communications Group’s Conference, American College Theater Festival, NY’s Good to Go Summit, The Women in Theater Conference, and the Austin Film Festival.

Nan was a Coordinating Producer for 2015's nationally acclaimed Women’s Voices Theater Festival in the nation's capital region, where she currently resides and produced the recent 2018 Festival and the Inaugural 2018 International Women's Voices Day, which generated more than 275 readings of unproduced plays by female playwrights in celebration of the first anniversary of the Women's Marches.

Recommended by Nan Barnett

  • 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.
  • The Burdens
    2 Jul. 2018
    Sharp, witty, surprising, and twisted enough to leave you laughing at yourself for laughing at it. This sibling story is so perfectly now that you'll wonder why it hasn't actually already happened. Or maybe it has. Texting, technology, and terrible typing make for some great comedy.

  • Through the Elevated Line
    9 May. 2018
    This play was a revelation to me. A haunting look at a soul destroyed by fear, injustice, hatred, and the scars left by secrets both revealed and kept hidden. Its echoes of Streetcar bring a classic foundation to this very modern story of immigration, assimilation, and trauma, and reminds us how things unspoken can often become the loudest voice in a life of lies and love. A great opportunity for diverse casting and theaters wanting to explore the intersection of cultures within a home, a community, and the world.