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The Next Draft Series is Avalanche Theatre's ongoing new play incubator.

Over the course of 4 months, Avalanche develops new work by 3 Chicago playwrights through readings, feedback sessions, and mentorship, culminating in a workshop presentation of the plays at the end of the process. Chicago theatre leaders such as artistic directors, literary managers, and creative producers are invited to the workshop readings in order to provide playwrights access to companies who may be interested in producing the plays. The purpose of the Next Draft Series is to fully develop the most exciting and challenging new plays being written in Chicago today, to foster a community that is supportive of writers, and to provide opportunities for these plays to go on to receive full productions.

For information on how to get involved, visit our Submissions page.

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Cycle 1: June 2023

Black Bear Island

by Karissa Murrell Myers

Black Bear Island is haunted by a monstrous man-killing bear, or so everyone says. Amitra never believed the myth about her old hometown. But when Warren, her estranged childhood sweetheart, dies mysteriously and bequeaths her everything he owned, she returns to the island one last time. As the forest begins to engulf the house and her past begins to collide with the present, she is determined to find out who Warren really was and what happened to him. This gothic magical-realism suspense thriller explores regret, the unreliableness of our own memories, and the paths we choose to become who we are.

Time is a Color and the Color is Blue

by Melanie Coffey

Time is a Color and the Color is Blue follows a glaciologist who has been searching for the oldest recorded cave paintings for years and finally finds them, only to then get snowed in. The play stays trapped in the cave with her as she begins to spiral. Her memories and guilt begin to meld and fold in together, just as pressurized ice does thousands of feet below the surface of the Earth. Time is a Color and the Color is Blue is a meditative and poetic play about climate change, forgiveness, and letting go.


by Camilla Dwyer

In Lucid, a not-so-young-anymore couple tries to fight their way out of the rut they’ve fallen into, a very hungry lighting technician just wants to have their food in peace, a woman finds the love of her life sitting in the kitchen one day, and a young writer sits in a kitchen hoping to finally become the-one-capital-o. From there, the tangle of their shared lives starts to unravel into a haze that none of them seem able to work through. Lucid is a daring play that challenges its characters to ask what to hang onto and what to leave behind in their collective nightmare.

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