GPTC PlayFest 2022/23

Omaha’s (Free!) Season of New, Contemporary Performance

PlayFest makes more plays for more people in Omaha. As part of the Great Plains Theatre Commons, PlayFest broadens public access by providing a season of free, high-quality theatrical events. Community organizations and artists (both local and national) participate in the storytelling we see on stage. Evening performances are held at geographically diverse venues. PlayFest gives voice to the stories that have the power to unite and inspire diverse audiences.  The form of these works can vary, including traditional plays, devised work, short forms, music and dance. Much of the content celebrates Omaha stories. Neighborhood Tapestries is a program that puts Omaha stories on stage. Each year this program presents work based on the lives of Nebraskans. The result is a vibrant portrait of our city.

The 2022/23 season includes two plays that were developed as PlayLabs at the GPTC New Play Conference. The other play is by local playwright and GPTC staff member, Ellen Struve.



OLD BAT by Ellen Struve

Having lived through a fire, a plague and a war, a desperate woman hunts for treasure on a mythological island populated by monsters, heroes and storytellers. This time she may not survive.


A Co-Production with Benson Theatre.



March 23rd and 24th @ 7:30pm.

Benson Theatre, 6054 Maple St.

Click here for reservations to March 23rd

To join the livestream of the show on March 23rd click here between 7:15 pm and 7:30pm on that evening. The meeting ID is: 811 0932 3487.    The passcode is: 834994.

Click here for reservations to March 24th


This is a new play by Omaha playwright, Ellen Struve. The play is being workshopped throughout March with support from a director and cast, a dramaturge and a designer. The performances are both staged readings.


Play Description – In league with a hero, Kira hunts for an unknown treasure guarded by a nymph and a cyclops. She is an ordinary woman beset by extraordinary times. She’s survived a fire, a plague and a war, and is driven by her child’s survival. Finding the treasure is as difficult as finding her place in these ancient stories. She enlists the help of the elements, betrays her companions and is betrayed and discovers the need for transformation.















Written by Ellen Struve

Directed by Amy Lane

Cast: AJ Adhiambo, Francisco Franco, Nils Haaland, Haley Haas, Moira Mangiameli & Dennis Stessman

Stage Manager: Grace Luis

Designer: Anita Sibony de Adelsberg

Dramaturg: Amy Wegener

Poster Design: @qmetalc


Ellen Struve (Playwright) Plays include Recommended Reading for Girls published by PlayScripts Inc. (O’Neill National Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist, GPTC Stage Write Award), Prince Max’s Trewly Awful Trip to the Desolat Interior (selected for the 2015 PlayPenn Playwrights’ Conference, Great Plains Theatre Conference PlayFest Production), EPIC (GPTC PlayFest Production), The Octopus Play(EST/Sloan Commission at BLUEBARN Theatre), The Dairy Maid-Right (Mid-America Arts Alliance Artistic Innovation Grant), Untitled Series #7 (Theatre Arts Guild Best Comedy), among others. She was playwright-in-residence at Creighton University where she co-taught Theatre for Social Justice. She has conducted community arts residencies for ten years, beginning as a Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts Community Fellow and continuing as a WhyArts Resident Artist. She served as a peer facilitator for Amplify Arts’ Artist Inc. cohorts. She is a Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist Fellow. She served on the board of Shelterbelt Theatre 2009-2019 and is currently on the board of Comunidad Maya Pixan Ixim. During the pandemic, she founded Picture Window Puppet Theatre. She has degrees from University of Iowa and School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

A handful of tickets are held back for walkups at each performance. All performance venues are ADA compliant for accessibility. For any accessibility questions or needs please contact Quinn at Recommended for ages 10+ The show will run approximately 90 minutes and will be followed by a talkback. All public performances are at Benson Theatre, ​6054 Maple St.




PRACTICE HOUSE by Rachael Carnes

“Practice House” explores a world turned upside-down, and finds a path towards fragile hope.

Directed by Susie Baer Collins

World Premiere

Developed as a GPTC New Play Conference PlayLab in 2021.

May 31 – June 2 @ 7:30pm

All public performances at Yates Illuminates, ​3260 Davenport St.

Based on a real chapter in American education, in which babies were leased from local orphanages for the purpose of training women in the new and improved “scientific parenting methods” —

Playwright Rachael Carnes received a 2020 Oregon Literary Fellowship, and has had productions of her work across the U.S., U.K., the Middle East, Canada and Asia, with invitations to develop work at the Inge Theatre Festival, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Playwriting Intensive, the Midwestern Dramatists Center Conference, the Mid-America Theater Conference, the American Association for Theatre in Higher Education New Play Development Series, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop, the Cambridge U.K. WriteON Festival and the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival. Her work is seen in many literary journals. She and her family live in Oregon.





GOOSE by Michael Yichao

GOOSE is a play about family, getting older… and a magical interstellar space goose.


All public performances at Yates Illuminates, ​3260 Davenport St.

November 18 and 19 @ 7:30pm

November 20 @ 6:00pm

Click here to reserve your seats!

A handful of tickets are held back for walkups at each performance. All performance venues are ADA compliant for accessibility. For any accessibility questions or needs please contact Quinn at Recommended for ages 10+

Dallin is getting older, and nothing is quite as he expected. In act one, he turns 13 and no one shows up to his birthday party. In act two, he returns home after a long time away, now with his own 13 year old daughter. As he confronts challenges and his ever evolving relationships with his family and himself, an unexpected old friend appears to take him on a journey through time and space.


GPTC PlayFest: Goose image


Written by Michael Yichao

Directed by TammyRa’

Cast: Artie Shaw, Darryl Brown, Jr. & Aniyah Skanes

Scenic Design: Kevin Lawler

Props Design: Savannah Savick

Audio Engineer: Craig Marsh/Pink Giraffe

Stage Manager: Nicholas A. Jansen

House Manager: Katie Cameron

Poster Design: @qmetalc


Michael Yichao is a playwright and actor currently residing in Seattle, WA. His plays have received recognition from the O’Neill Theater’s National Playwright’s Conference and the John F Kennedy Performing Arts Center, among others, and have been produced across the US and Canada. Yichao has been an invited playwright at the Last Frontier Theater Conference, Great Plains Theatre Conference, and the Association of Theater in Higher Education (ATHE) Conference. When not writing plays, Yichao works in video games, currently serving as Lead Narrative Designer at Phoenix Labs. Find him on Twitter and online @michaelyichao |

A warm thanks to our current 2022/2023 PlayFest Sponsors: Nebraska Arts Council, Mutual of Omaha and the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit


2016 PlayFest Highlights
2015 PlayFest Highlights

All performance venues are ADA compliant for accessibility.  For any accessibility questions or needs please contact us at 402-370-8259.  Thank you.

PlayFest is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.  To find out more about how NEA grants impact individuals and communities, visit