Five actors face the audience, their hands forming binoculars as they hold them up to their faces.

Ruth Easton New Play Series

The Ruth Easton New Play Series gives playwrights 35 hours of development time to explore, evolve, and experiment with their new plays.

Five featured writers hand-select their own team of artistic collaborators to workshop their plays-in-progress and share them through public readings. More than half of the plays developed through this series have gone on to full productions at theaters around the world.

This series is one of the most resource- and time-generous development opportunities in the field. It is in its 19th year and is made possible by the Ruth Easton Fund of the Edelstein Family Foundation. This season, we once again invite remote audiences to be part of bringing these bold new plays to life, as we offer both in-person and filmed performances.

Funders of the Ruth Easton New Play Series

Actress Ruth Easton (nee Edelstein) was born in North Branch, Minnesota and graduated from North Branch High School. She attended the University of Minnesota for one year and the following year attended Macalester College before finishing her collegiate career at Cumnock School in Los Angeles. She went on to New York where she studied acting with Oliver Morosco. Mr. Morosco opened a stock theater company in upstate New York where Ms. Easton starred in several plays. After performing with other stock theater companies she returned to New York City where she appeared in five Broadway plays over a period of seven years. They included Exceedingly Small, Privilege Car, Town Bay, Buckaroo and Charlie Chan. Exceedingly Small was directed by Ethel Barrymore and Easton played opposite Eric Dressler. New York critics praised her performance as “thoroughly touching” and “highly spirited and excellent.” She starred in radio dramas on the Rudy Vallee Hour and the Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour opposite such actors as Walter Huston, Judith Anderson and Lionel Barrymore. She also appeared with Clark Gable, Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson during the course of her career. Ms. Easton’s legacy, her commitment to theater and the development of new works continues through the charitable gifts made by the Ruth Easton Fund of the Edelstein Family Foundation.

This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.