Last Chance New Play Fest: Identity Crisis

Authors from across Montana share new plays Nov. 3-12 in Helena

On Stage

Helena’s 10th annual Last Chance New Play Fest, the longest running festival of its kind in Montana, will run Nov. 3-12 at Helena Avenue Theatre (aka HAT). This grassroots theatre event celebrates new works by local and regional playwrights.

"Wolves and Pigs 2050"  by Theresa Cardiello. is among  the Indy offerings at this year's Last Chance New Play Fest.
“Wolves and Pigs 2050” by Theresa Cardiello. is among the Indy offerings at this year’s Last Chance New Play Fest.Photo © Last Chance New Play Fest

Montana Short Cuts, a program of 10-minute plays, returns to the fest with different authors across the state interpreting the theme “Identity Crisis.” Seven plays were selected from the largest number of entrants the festival has ever seen.

The lineup includes: A Nissan Maxima Sort of Thing – Rebecca Ryland​; All the Lost Fathers – Steve Palmer​; Clown Memo – Emily Walborn; ​Gun Man – Barry Stambaugh; Tetrachromacy – Leigh Ann Ruggiero; ​ Unwritten – Lily Hoelscher; and Who is Joe Hill? – Ross Peter Nelson​.

In addition to the Short Cuts, a program of independently produced project will also appear. The Indys include three short one-act plays: The Interview – Rebecca Ryland; True Story – Steve Palmer; and Wolves and Pigs 2050  – Theresa Cardiello.

Finally, the Last Chance New Play Fest will also include a reading of a full-length new play, Nelson’s Saint J, followed by an audience feedback session.

Evening performances are at 7:30 p.m. with weekend matinees at 1:30 p.m. The theatre is located at 1319 Helena Avenue.

Tickets for individual performances are $18 (adult) or $15 (student/senior) and are available at the door or online; $30 passes, which admit holders to any performance throughout the fest, are also available. Tickets for the Fest can be purchased online.

Rebecca Ryland is executive producer of the Fest and Steve Palmer and Ross Peter Nelson serve as associate producers. A list of all the projects, writers, and actors, along with the full schedule can be found online or in the Fest Guide, available at the Fire Tower Coffee House.

This year’s Fest is sponsored by donations from K. L. Milliron, Mountain View Meadows, Montana Radio Company and Northwestern Energy.

The Last Chance New Play Fest was inaugurated in 2015 and is an annual event. It serves as a showcase for new and recent work by Montana-affiliated writers and features the talents of some of the best actors, directors, and stage technicians in the Helena area. Follow the Fest on Facebook at