Since 1998, the EST/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project has developed hundreds of new plays that question and broaden the view of science in the popular imagination. Each play’s life onstage begins with the First Light Festival, an annual presentation of new readings, workshops and productions. This season's festival includes six public readings; two closed readings for internal development; one satellite event; and a Youngblood Brunch, in conjunction with the festival, which will feature five short plays by members of EST’s early career playwrights collective. The Satellite Reading of The Kit: Made by Martha will be at Alchemical Studios (50 W 17th Street, 12th floor).
The 2023 First Light Festival includes free public presentations of the following works-in-progress as well as a Satellite Event:
By Nikki Brake-Sillá
Thursday, May 18 at 3:00 pm
ReWombed asks, in a world where nothing is believed until it can be replicated, when did science lose its faith?
By Sam Mueller
Thursday, May 25 at 3:00 pm
In a world structurally designed around binary gender and sex, what would it mean to not only protect transnonbinary kids, but to also let them thrive?
By Nelson Diaz-Marcano
Thursday, June 1 at 3:00 pm
Everyone remembers who created the birth control pill but nobody remembers the women that made it possible. This is their story.
By Margot Connolly
Directed by Alex Keegan
Thursday, June 8 at 3:00 pm
In a coding competition, two teams of teenage girls need to create an app that changes the world for the better – but who decides which app and cause is most worthy?
S P A C E
By L M Feldman
Directed by Larissa Lury
Thursday, June 15 at 3:00 pm
Drawing on history (female aviators, Congress, Civil Rights, & the Space Race), S P A C E unearths the forces at work in our time – and imagines a radical re-start.
By Amanda Keating
Thursday, June 23 at 3:00 pm
Women scientists study the fossilized dental plaque of medieval nuns while one of those nuns is hard at work illuminating manuscripts, the latest plague raging around her.
Satellite Event: Developed with support from Bechdel Project's year-long ROO Residency
The Kit: Made by Martha
By Jeanne Dorsey
Sunday, May 7 at 3:00 pm & Monday, May 8 at 7:00 pm
Alchemical Studios (50 W 17th Street, 12th floor)
The Kit: Made by Martha explores the life and work of Martha Goddard, inventor of the first standardized rape kit.
In addition, the 2023 First Light Festival will include the following plays, presented by invitation only, for internal development:
By Karina Billini
When a humble neighbor, Andrea, and social media influencer, Belinda, arrive as new post-BBL patients, Apple Bottom Spa struggles to keep both women and the house afloat.
By Emily Chadick Weiss
Rachel Carson sparked the environmental movement of the 1960s with her research on deadly insecticide while stuck with a trying nephew and resisting romance with a woman.
The Youngblood Science Lunch, presented in collaboration with the First Light Festival, will be held on Sunday, May 21 at EST. Tickets for this event are $25 for general admission and will be available beginning May 12th. The Brunch will feature new short plays centered on science and technology by Jake Brasch, Phanésia Pharel, Lizzie Stern, Danny Tejera and Susan Yassky.
Show Notes: All readings are free to attend, but reservations are highly encouraged.
COVID-19 Safety Information
Masks are optional but encouraged.
Visit ensemblestudiotheatre.org for full festival schedule.