The Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) is one of the premiere off-Broadway theatres which produces new plays. For the past 19 years, the theater has partnered with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to commission new science-themed plays, and provide development as well as production support. So far, over one million dollars have been awarded. EST’s annual First Light Festival stages science-themed plays over the course of three months.

Each year there is one full production of a play–writer and director Leah Fondakowski’s SPILL is about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. Fondakowski went to Southern Louisiana and conducted over 200 hours of interviews with residents affected by the environmental disaster. The play will run from March 8 until April 2.


EST will produce ten staged readings of new plays in development. Highlights from the wide-ranging subject matter include: THE RADIO BOYS about the invention of radio broadcasting, DAMAGE CTRL about the conflict between traditional modes of teaching and educational gaming, and THE FLAMINGOS about a face-transplant recipient struggling with his identity.

The full lineup, including times, dates, and tickets, is available online. The First Light Festival runs from January 30 through April 2, 2017. Stay tuned to Science & Film more on these plays.