After DPI’s original play “Saying Goodbye” went on to Humana Fest, John Riley conceived the idea of an annual festival of new plays. In 1990 he developed the framework and in 1991, with the help and dedication of Dodie Lockwood, Jim Payne and countless volunteers, FutureFest was born. At the first committee meeting with Dodie and Jim, Dodie came up with the name FutureFest.
Nancy Campbell and her group of play readers had to read 2 years of plays (over 600) so the plays would be produced in a timely manner. Since then we regularly receive around 300 plays a year which the play reading committee whittles down to 12, with each play getting at least 3 reads, and semifinalists getting read by the full committee. A second committee consisting of professionals and DPI representatives determine the final five selections. The final winner is decided by six adjudicators made up of professional theater critics, academics, and directors from New York, Chicago, and around the country. There is also an additional category for audience favorite.
Each play is produced for the first time by DPI as either a full production or a staged reading, and all are presented in one festival weekend by DPI. The plays are judged both as raw scripts, and how the production is translated to stage, and the playwrights are brought out to the festival where they receive free professional criticism and get to mingle with the FF audience.
Previous FF Winners:
- 1991 – Deep Six Holiday – David Landau
- 1992 – I Witness – Mary Miller
- 1993 – Power in the Blood – Sarah Bewley
- 1994 – Return of Crane – Stuart Boyce
- 1995 – Somewhere in Between – Craig Pospisil
- 1996 – Moments from Meanwhile – Glenn Rawls
- 1997 – The Interview – Faye Sholiton
- 1998 – Asher’s Command – Marilyn Felt
- 1999 – Scales of Justice – William Kovacsik
- 2000 – Full Bloom – Suzanne Bradbeer
- 2001 – Four Beers – David Van Vleck
- 2002 – Silent Heroes – Linda Escalera Baggs
- 2003 – Fateville – Gary Blackwood
- 2004 – Fellow Travellers – Margaret Lewis
- 2005 – Farragut North – Beau Willimon
- 2006 – Estelle Singerman – David Rush
- 2007 – Dawn and Sean – Joe Lauinger
- 2008 – Heartland – Anita Simons and Lauren Simon
- 2009 – Night and Fog – M J Feely
- 2010 – An Uncommon Language – Evan Guilford-Blake
- 2011 – Jinxed – Stacey Luftig
- 2012 – Nureyev’s Eyes – David Rush
- 2013 – TIE: A Position of Relative Importance – Hal Borden
The King’s Face – Steven Young
- 2014 – Sugarhill – Linda Ramsay-Detherage
While many of our authors and winning shows have gone onto future success, Farragut North was the first to become a film; The Ides of March, directed by George Clooney, released by Sony Pictures in October 2011, almost six years to the day after the play was submitted to FF.
The first production was at FF 2005, and was Directed by Hilary Damaser who was also a winning FF director for the third year in a row. The director and several of the cast members were actual attorneys, fitting for this political drama.
- Stephen – Jeff Horst
- Paul – Ray Geiger
- Molly – Annie Pesch
- Ben – Eric Ng
- Tom – Bob Schuerman
- Ida – Jennifer Lockwood
- Frank – George C. L’Heureux, Jr.
- Waitress – Missy Kidd