Readings: New Plays in Process

2023 Summer Reading Series
(click here!)

Celebrating 18 years and led by Artistic Director Risa Brainin, LAUNCH PAD is nationally recognized for its innovative contribution to new play development. As a creative laboratory for professional playwrights, UCSB theater students and faculty, and guest artists, LAUNCH PAD is collaboration and experimentation at its finest. Through the LAUNCH PAD Amplify Reading Series, the Summer Reading Series, and New Play Pop Ups, LAUNCH PAD leads the way for university students to gain the valuable first-hand experience of working alongside professionals, participating in the creative process as it’s happening.

LAUNCH PAD Amplify Reading Series Festival
in collaboration with
National New Play Network

Formerly known as the BIPOC Reading Series Festival, The LAUNCH PAD Amplify Reading Series debuted in the 2020-21 season, on April 2 & 3, 2021. Written by professional playwrights chosen from National New Play Network’s Affiliated Artists, six new plays were developed through workshops over 16 hours and presented to the public virtually. The series featured a mix of students, faculty, and professional guest artists, led by professional directors. Many of the 100 participants "zoomed" in from around the world. Each live-streamed play was followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew, providing extra insight into the new play development process for audiences and participants alike. The 2023 Festival is our third annual and the first to be in person after two years on Zoom.

Summer Reading Series

Each summer, three professional playwrights join the UC Santa Barbara community as artists-in-residence to collaborate with UCSB students enrolled in THTR 146: LAUNCH PAD: New Plays in Process. In this three-week class, playwrights, students, and professional artists come together to workshop new works. Participating as actors, stage managers, dramaturgs, and designers, everyone contributes to the development of the play. From the first moment to the last, the play is in constant evolution: actors receive new pages, new scenes, and sometimes even new characters. Each week’s work culminates in a staged reading for the public.

New Play Pop-Ups

Throughout the year, professional playwrights are invited to “pop in” for a one-time staged reading of their new play. LAUNCH PAD provides a director, actors, and a theater ~ playwrights see their work “up on its feet” and in front of an audience, adding valuable insight to the development process.

Our COVID-19 Policy 

The well-being of our students, patrons, artists, staff members, and community is our first priority. Protocols for attending in-person events continue to evolve in conjunction with evolving state, local, and university health guidelines. We appreciate your flexibility as these are updated over the course of the season. The UCSB Department of Theater and Dance will be instituting the following vaccination and mask policies for our 2022-2023 public events. 

Requirements for Patrons Attending In-Person Events

Masks are highly encouraged in our indoor venues

A note about our venues: All buildings on campus have been evaluated by UCSB Design, Facilities & Safety services in consultation with campus and outside experts, and ventilation meets standards defined by the California Department of Public Health and Cal/OSHA. Our Facilities Management colleagues have sought to maximize building ventilation and filtration levels wherever possible, consistent with best industry practices.

Please check this page regularly for updates. The department will continue to share safety updates by email, social media, and through our website as the 2021-2022 events continue. If you are feeling under the weather, please stay home and continue regular handwashing and hand sanitizing. Thanks for being a partner with the campus community to make our events accessible and safe.

CA Dept of Public Health Vaccination site:

CA Dept of Public Health Testing site:

 Driving Directions
(how to get to campus) 

Theater/Dance West Courtyard
(Location for Yellowstone reading on Sept 24, 2021
map of Theater Dance area on campus