The NCT Hatchery: A New Works Incubator

A Look at Future Shows We Are Developing for You

Ghost | Return to SenderAuntie Claus | The Absent Author | Tiger Rising

NCT has developed THE NCT HATCHERY: A NEW WORKS INCUBATOR to build on the company’s 86-year history as a creative home for theatre artists.

Funded in part through a grant from Metro Arts, THE NCT HATCHERY will launch Nashville Children’s Theatre to the forefront of new plays and musicals developed specifically for young audiences. Part of a five-year commitment to create new plays, each work selected for THE NCT HATCHERY will receive a coveted four-day workshop with professional actors and directors prior to receiving a full production in the subsequent season. Multiple works are in various stages of development, each of which will get a full production on NCT’s stage every year through the 2022-23 season and beyond.

“The new works program at NCT shows the type of institutional leadership Metro Arts hopes to see from organizations in the region.” Says Jennifer Cole, Metro Arts Executive Director “THE NCT HATCHERY responds to issues that are critical to our city: racial equity, workforce development, and creating art that is both relevant and accessible.”

“We listened carefully to feedback from teachers, parents, students and other stakeholders like librarians and civic leaders and heard clearly that there aren’t enough plays with characters of color telling their own stories” says Executive Artistic Director Ernie Nolan. “THE NCT HATCHERY aims to create new works that serve as mirrors and windows to diverse lives reflected on our stage”. With the creation of THE NCT HATCHERY, NCT claims a spot as one of the few theatres offering both workshops and full productions of brand new dramatic work designed for young audiences.

Nashville Children's Theatre wishes to express our thanks to Metro Arts Nashville Office of Arts and Culture, Center for Latin American Studies, and Metro Theatre Company for their support of this initiative. 

For information on The NCT Snuggery: Theatre for the Very Young, please click here!



Idris Goodwin

Idris Goodwin

Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds

GHOST by Idris Goodwin
Based on the book Ghost © by Jason Reynolds
Originally published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Used with permission of Pippin Properties, Inc.
Co-commissioned by
Metro Theatre Company
Funded in part through a Creation Grant from
Metro Nashville Arts Commission

GHOST will workshop in Nashville June 5-8, 2018 and premiere January 17, 2019. Memberships go on sale April 1 and single tickets July 1. More information about this world premiere is available here.

Published in 2016, Ghost is the story of Ghost, Lu, Patina and Sunny – four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team – a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?

  • A National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature.

"As for “Ghost,” it’s easy to praise Reynolds’s vivid depiction of life in Ghost’s urban neighborhood as one that’s challenging and full of warmth, relationships and hope. But this book’s biggest strength is Ghost himself. Reynolds has created a character whose journey is so genuine that he’s worthy of a place alongside Ramona and Joey Pigza on the bookshelves where our most beloved, imperfect characters live." - New York Times Book Review by Kate Messner, August 26, 2016

About Idris Goodwin, the playwright
A finalist for the Dramatist Guild’s 2016 Lanford Wilson Award, the recipient of InterAct Theater’s 20/20 Award and the Blue Ink Playwriting Award, Goodwin is a playwright, rapper and essayist. One of the seven playwrights featured in Hands Up an anthology commissioned by The New Black Fest that’s been presented across the country, his one act play Black Flag was produced in Off Broadway in New York’s Summer Shorts Festival at 59E59 Theatre. Goodwin is associate professor in The Department of Theatre and Dance at Colorado College.

About Jason Reynolds, the novelist
Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author, a National Book Award honoree, a Kirkus Award winner, A Walter Dean Myers Award winner, and an NAACP Image Award winner. He is the author of the award winning young adult novel, The Boy in the Black Suit, and the co-author of All American Boys, both of which he won Coretta Scott King honors for, as well as 2016’s critically acclaimed middle grade novel, As Brave As You. Reynolds has been reviewed and profiled by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, Kirkus Reviews, The Horn Book, School Library Journal, and a host of other media outlets. But what excites him more than anything is speaking to young people around the country, not only about the power of reading, but also about the importance of telling their own stories.


Marisela Treviño Orta

Marisela Treviño Orta

Julia Alvarez

Julia Alvarez

RETURN TO SENDER adapted by Marisela Treviño Orta
From the book RETURN TO SENDER © by Julia Alvarez
Co-commissioned by
Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University

Sponsored by Ensworth School

After Tyler’s father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Tyler isn’t sure what to make of these workers. Are they undocumented? And what about the three daughters, particularly Mari, the oldest, who is proud of her Mexican heritage but also increasingly connected to her American life. Her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences?
In a novel full of hope, but with no easy answers, Julia Alvarez weaves a beautiful and timely story that will stay with readers long after they finish it.

  • Winner of the Pura Belpré Award

  • Winner of the Américas Award

  • An NCSS-CBC Notable Children’s Trade Book in the Field of Social Studies

“Communicates in compassionate and expressive prose the more difficult points of perhaps the most pressing social issue of our day.” San Antonio Express-News

“This timely novel, torn right from the newspaper headlines, conveys a positive message of cooperation and understanding.” School Library Journal

“The plot is purposive, with messages about the historical connections between migrant workers today and the Indians’ displacement, the Underground Railroad, and earlier immigrants seeking refuge. . . . The questions raised about the meaning of patriotism will spark debate.”Booklist

About Marisela Treviño Orta, the playwright
Marisela Treviño Orta is an accidental playwright. She found her way to the genre while completing an MFA in Writing at the University of San Francisco (USF) where she studied poetry exclusively. During her time at USF, Marisela became the Resident Poet of El Teatro Jornalero!, a theatre company comprised of Latino immigrants who devised work inspired by social justice issues. Marisela’s first play BRAIDED SORRROW won the 2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama, received its World Premiere in 2008 at Su Teatro in Denver, CO and won the 2009 PEN Center USA Literary Award in Drama. Marisela’s other plays include: AMERICAN TRIAGE (Marin Theatre Company commission and Repertorio Español 2012 MetLife Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Runner-Up); HEART SHAPED NEBULA (2012 O’Neill Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist, 2013 Aurora Theatre Global Age Project Finalist, and 2013 Halcyon Theatre developmental production); and WOMAN ON FIRE (2007 Latino Playwrights Initiative commission). Marisela is an alumna of the Playwrights Foundation’s Resident Playwright Initiative and a founding member of the Bay Area Latino Theatre Artists Network (BALTAN). Currently Marisela is working on cycle of Latino fairy tale plays which include THE RIVER BRIDE (2013 National Latino Playwriting Award Co-Winner), WOLF AT THE DOOR, and ALCIRA. Most recently, Marisela was accepted to the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and began her studies there in the Fall of 2015. 

About Julia Alvarez, the novelist
Born in New York City, Julia Alvarez moved to the Dominican Republic with her Dominican American parents when she was an infant. In 1960, though, the political situation forced the family to return to New York. Alvarez has explained that the experience of being forced to refine her English upon returning to the United States made her very aware of language—good training for a writer. 
Alvarez’s poetry often explores her identity as a Dominican American. She writes about childhood memories and the experience of being an immigrant living between two cultures. Alvarez has also written a number of novels, including How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents (1991) and In the Time of Butterflies (1994), which was set during the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic and adapted into a motion picture released in 2001.


Elise Primavera

Elise Primavera

Marcy Heisler

Marcy Heisler

Zina Goldrich

Zina Goldrich

Book and Lyrics by Marcy Heisler
Music by Zina Goldrich

From the book AUNTIE CLAUS
© 1999 by Elise Primavera

Auntie Claus is just another eccentric New Yorker--or is she? Young Sophie has often wondered about her unusual great-aunt, Auntie Claus. She lives in penthouse 25C at the Bing Cherry Hotel and is so curioso! After all, Auntie Claus serves Christmas cookies all year long and her tree is always the best-decorated in the city. And then there's her annual "business trip," right around the holidays. This year Sophie is determined to get to the bottom of Auntie Claus's mysterious ways. Put on your mittens and bundle up for an adventure beyond your wildest dreams. Ho, ho, ho!

A grand...cousin to William Joyce's Santa Calls. Smug little rich girl Sophie Kringle has a great-aunt who lives in high style atop the palatial Bing Cherry Hotel, vacating only for her mysterious annual "business trip" between Halloween and Valentine's Day...A promising bid for holiday bestsellerdom. - Kirkus Reviews 1999

About Elise Primavera, the novelist
Elise Primavera is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Auntie Claus series and the popular Ms. Rapscott’s Girls. She is also the author of the Louise the Big Cheese books and other award-winning titles. She lives in New Jersey, and you can visit her at

About Heisler and Goldrich, the playwrights
Marcy Heisler (Author/Lyricist) and Zina Goldrich (Composer) have been collaborating together since 1993. They were the first women ever honored with the Fred Ebb Award for Musical Theatre Songwriting, and Heisler was honored with the 2012 Kleban Prize for Outstanding Lyrics. Current projects include EVER AFTER, (Paper Mill Playhouse/NJ), Junie B’s Essential Survival Guide to School (Lucille Lortel, Off-Broadway), Hollywood Romance (Scott Sanders Productions) and a musical adaptation of a Universal Studios romantic classic (Universal Stage Productions). In 2012, Goodspeed Opera House premiered The Great American Mousical, based on the bestselling book by author/director Julie Andrews. In 2016, Goldrich and Heisler continued their collaboration with Andrews, contributing songs to her Netflix series Julie’s Green Room.They earned 2009 Drama Desk nominations for Outstanding Lyrics and Music for their musical Dear Edwina, a Lucille Lortel Award nomination for Theatreworks USA’s JUNIE B. JONES (based on the popular children’s book) and a Helen Hayes Award nomination for their Kennedy Center production of SNOW WHITE ROSE RED (and FRED). They have provided original songs for The Disney Channel, Disney Interactive and Feature Animation projects, Disney Theatricals, PBS, Nickelodeon, and others. As performers, they have toured domestically and internationally with The Marcy and Zina Show. November 2009 marked the release of MARCY AND ZINA: The Album on Yellow Sound Label. They are both active members of The Dramatist Guild, and have served as contributing writers to Dramatist magazine.


The Absent Author.jpg
Ron Roy

Ron Roy


When famous mystery writer Wallis Wallace comes to town to do a book signing, Dink is excited and nervous to meet him! But once Dink and his friends arrive at the book store, they find Wallis missing! Has the mystery writer been kidnapped? The kids are determined to find Wallis and solve this mystery.

About Ron Roy, the novelist

I was born in Hartford, Connecticut. My parents named me Wallace Ronald Roy, but I shortened the name to Ron Roy.

I was a shy kid, and spent much of my time studying nature and reading. I loved school and used to win all the spelling bees. 

My favorite teacher was Mr. Ben Hancock. He taught me to love books and showed me how to hit a baseball and catch a fish. Because of Mr. Hancock's influence, I decided to become a teacher myself some day. 

After college and graduate school, I became a fourth grade teacher. But somewhere along the way I started writing children's stories and sending them to publishing companies. No one wanted to buy my stories, but I didn't give up. Each week I would write a story and send it out. Each week the story came back with "No, thank you." written on the manuscript. 

Then in 1978, I sold my first children's book. That was one of the most exciting days of my life. Soon I left teaching and became a full time writer.

In 1997 I started writing the A to Z Mysteries series. Now I am working on Capital Mysteries. Millions of children are reading these books, which makes me very happy. But I still remember the day I sold my first book.


Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo

Based on the book Tiger Rising, by Kate DiCamillo
Originally published in 2001 by Candlewick Press
Used with the permission of Pippin Properties, Inc.

Walking through the misty Florida woods one morning, twelve-year-old Rob Horton is stunned to encounter a tiger—a real-life, very large tiger—pacing back and forth in a cage. What’s more, on the same extraordinary day, he meets Sistine Bailey, a girl who shows her feelings as readily as Rob hides his. As they learn to trust each other, and ultimately, to be friends, Rob and Sistine prove that some things—like memories, and heartaches, and tigers—can’t be locked up forever.

About Kate DiCamillo, the novelist

I was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, raised in Clermont, Florida, and currently live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I write for both children and adults and I like to think of myself as a storyteller.

Here are a few more facts about me: I am short. And loud. I hate to cook and love to eat. I am single and childless, but I have lots of friends and I am an aunt to three lovely children (Luke, Roxanne, and Max) and one not so lovely dog (Henry).

I think of myself as an enormously lucky person: I get to tell stories for a living.

Nashville Children's Theatre does not accept unsolicited scripts. For information on auditions, and other ways to work with us, please visit our Careers and Volunteer pages.