The TDF Sweepstakes is open. Enter now!

First Light Festival 2023

Opening Date: May 07, 2023

Closing Date: Jun 22, 2023

First Light Festival 2023 Show Site Icon

Playing @

Ensemble Studio Theatre

549 W 52nd St New York, NY 10019

View theatre details
When a new telescope becomes operational, the initial images it sees are called First LightEnsemble Studio Theatre and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation present the 2023 First Light Festival, part of the EST/Sloan Project to develop plays exploring science and technology.

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?

Las Borinqueñas
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.

Hello, World
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?

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.

With Fellowship
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:
Apple Bottom
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

Show Notes: All readings are free to attend, but reservations are highly encouraged.

Covid Banner Icon

COVID-19 Safety Information

Masks are optional but encouraged.

Performance Schedule:

Visit for full festival schedule.

TDF Tickets Offers:

TDF member tickets:

Not currently available for this show

Listed atTKTS


Full-price tickets




No fixed seating. Located on 2nd and 6th floors of ten-story loft building. 2nd floor seats 99. 6th floor seats 50.


Elevator: Automatic. Lobby. Accesses all floors open to public.

Passenger Loading Zone



SVI Permit.


One 8" step.


Unisex: 2nd floor, followed by two steps.

Water Fountain



2nd floor. Coin slot 65". Cord 24".

Assisted Listening System


Visual Assistance


Directions Subway

1, C, E to 50th Street

You Might Also Like



Public Transportation

Subway Icon

By Subway:

1, C, E to 50th Street

Bus Icon

By Bus: