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Pittsburgh New Works Festival Playwrights at home in 'art-oriented' Carnegie

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

One-act plays from playwrights both local and worldwide will be performed this month as the Pittsburgh New Works Festival finds a home in Carnegie.

The festival began with script readings at the end of August, and the first weekend of performances playing out last weekend. Performances are being held at the Off the Wall Theater.

“It's a festival dedicated to giving playwrights the opportunity to see their work produced and work with a director and company and actors to help them mold it and define it and make it a better piece,” said Lora Oxenreiter, managing director of the festival.

In its 23rd year, the festival, she said, received about 250 submissions from around the world, with some playwrights coming in from as far as Tel Aviv and Germany.

“It is truly, at this point, an international festival,” she said.

Started in 1990 by Pittsburgh native Donna Rae, the festival spent the first few years moving from venue to venue.

“We never had a permanent home per se, and we were looking for a venue to fit the festival and what we do,” Oxenreiter said.

The festival spent some time in McKees Rocks before administrators decided to move to a more “art-oriented community.”

“Carnegie filled the bill very well,” she said. “Off the Wall invited us to move the festival there, and we're thrilled to be there.”

Thrilled enough to sign a four-year contract with the theater, she said, with the hope of an extension.

The festival consists of 12 plays grouped into four programs. Programs A and B run for the first two weekends of September and programs C and D run the last two weekends. There is a gala at the end of the month, and audience members can vote on their favorite plays.

Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or mguza@tribweb.com.

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