[PBTS] - New Voices Y4 - Homepage Slider
[PBTS] - New Voices Y4 - Logo.png

Created in 2016 and inspired by new play development programs across the country, New Voices aims to develop the next wave of American voices right here in Jacksonville. In previous years, the program selects 1-2 established OR aspiring playwrights to embark on a yearlong developmental journey and pairs them with mentors who help guide the process from conception to final draft. The program culminates in a fully mounted production of their new play. 


As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take center stage, we’re reimagining New Voices! To continue this program, we are pivoting to a virtual process. 


The first installment in this reimagined program is New Voices: Voices Unheard. We’ve selected 3 playwrights through a blind submission process to begin a 12 week development and writing journey. Through mentorship, workshopping, and writing sessions, our selected playwrights will be ready to rehearse and showcase their 15-20 minute short play that uplifts and highlights the voices of the unheard — whatever that may look like. 



The Space Between by Chelsea Black


“Nina is a young woman who just wants her mother Maria to accept her. When they find out her brother Kenneth’s spinal injury may be cured by a new medical breakthrough, Maria takes the opportunity to talk to her daughter about her weight. Mother and daughter must navigate their fraught relationship while also being there for Kenneth.”


MARIA: Late 40s-early 50s, Latinx woman. Mother of Nina and Kenneth. Average height and  weight. Always looks professional and well-dressed.


NINA: Early 20s, Latinx woman of mixed heritage. Maria’s daughter. Very overweight for her  height. Ideally at least a size 20.*


KENNETH: Late teens, Latinx man of mixed heritage. Maria’s son. Average height, perhaps  slightly overweight, in a wheelchair.


God's God by Ken Pederson


Do you sometimes wonder about what really happens once you die? What if you arrived in the afterlife and you discovered that God himself was praying for a better life? That is the situation we encounter in "God's God."

GG delivers an avant garde exploration of what might happen once we ‘meet our maker.’  Its world is populated with a passive agnostic, a prickly non-believer, a deity overwhelmed by his day-to-day responsibilities, and the angels that run the place. God’s God examines the role of hope, belief, and purpose in a 30-minute package that seeks to get its audience to reconsider how their choices here on earth might best bring out the divinity in all us.


GOD: spritely, wise, barefoot old man also plays BABALU

CASSIA: also plays DAUGHTER, female, dies and is taken to heaven where she meets KAFIR and GOD. Gratitude never crossed her mind before going to heaven.

KAFIR: also plays FISH, male, a skeptic in prayer. He is used to confirming theories through tests. He's not interested in helping God answer his prayer mail. 

ANGEL SANA: female assistant to God

ANGEL URIEL: male assistant to God


Diverted by Matt Mercurio


In a not too distant future, two minorities of different color meet in a senseless war they can't be sure of each other's allegiance in. An unknown, looming threat to their survival lingers along with everything else that comes with being a minority in America thrusts upon its citizens. In a time where civilities die more each day, can these two very different men find some common ground


SHAKIR: mid 30 to late 50’s, Black. He is a jaded, hardened man on the exterior scarred  by a world that constantly betrays him. Quick witted and even quicker to anger. He is  unflinchingly honest and there’s a poetic rhythm to how speaks. Fiercely devoted to  those close to him and the causes he believes in. 


SALVADOR: slightly older than SHAKIR, Brown. He carries a remarkable lightness about  him despite the circumstances. Glass half full kind of guy. Speaks with a slight accent.  Everyone’s big brother. Fiercely devoted to those close to him and the causes he  believes in. 


CHASTITY: early 20’s, white. She is physically imposing and speaks as though she owns  every room because she more than likely does. A leader, but lacks the patience to  understand the totality of people.  


SOLDIERS 1 & 2: early 30’s, white. Do as they’re told. Not particularly sharp.



Virtual Workshops

Our playwrights will spend 6 weeks attending weekly virtual workshops on the journey of storytelling, led by our professional mentors.


Writing & Development

Our playwrights will develop and hone their concept and scripts based on instruction and feedback during the workshop process.



Every step of the way, our playwrights will be guided by industry professionals who are helping them take their play from page to stage.


Readings & Performance

Our playwrights will have the opportunity to get their scripts performance ready through readings, rehearsals, and work with actors.


We'll be making updates to our Blog to feature news and information about the New Voices journey! Stay tuned.


We are so excited to introduce the three playwrights selected for this year's New Voices: Voices Unheard!

Click the link below to be redirected to a blog post with their biographies!


Matt Mercurio


Chelsea Black

Ken Pedersen.jpeg

Ken Pedersen


We are so excited to introduce the three professional mentors that are working with our playwrights this year, guiding them from page to stage!

Click the link below to be redirected to a blog post with their biographies!


Arklow, Ireland

Dr. Nadia Ramoutar


POS-KCedit (162 of 380)-2-2.jpeg

Chicago, Illinois

Paul Oakley



Jacksonville, Florida

Kelby Siddons