The University of Texas at Austin - What Starts Here Changes The World
College of Fine Arts

About The Festival

The Cohen New Works Festival presented by the University Co-op, is a week-long showcase of new work created by UT students held every other Spring in various locations in and around the Winship Drama Building and the University of Texas campus. It is not just an event, but a celebration of a continuously ongoing process–the creation of new work.

Inaugurated in 2001 as a ‘new play festival’, The Cohen New Works Festival was created and named in honor of David Mark Cohen, former head of playwriting within The University of Texas at Austin Department of Theatre and Dance. Cohen was killed in a car crash on December 23, 1997, but during his life, he was an adamant supporter of new work. In his honor, and through the generous and continuous support of the University Co-op, the Cohen New Works Festival continues to explore the endless possibilities of devised and collaborative new work with no strings attached.

Today, the Festival has evolved to include not just plays, but all mediums of student-generated new work. It is the largest festival of its kind, being run and organized entirely by a committee of graduate and undergraduate students, with the support of faculty co-producers.

Our Mission

The Cohen New Works Festival presented by the University Co-op exists as an incubator for innovative and original forms of theatre, dance, music, film, design, visual art and architecture. It provides a nurturing environment and practical resources for the creation, development, production and discussion of new and interdisciplinary work by students, faculty, guest artists and scholars who come together in the spirit of collaboration and critical inquiry.

Our Vision

Embraced and invigorated by the energy of a university setting, the Festival provides a safe place for artists to take risks, a bridge between potential and the profession, and a forum for a national conversation on the value and future of the arts in society.

Three Core Values:

 1. Empowerment and Responsibility

Our goal is to create an environment in which each individual is empowered to take responsibility for his or her own artistic, entrepreneurial and intellectual development with the support of mentors who care.

2. Access

Our goal is to provide access to the production resources and guidance necessary to realize individual creative visions and to encourage collaborative connections with guest artists and scholars on a national level.

3. Integration

Our goal is that the Festival will serve as a positive and productive force within the cultural ecosystem of the Department of Theatre and Dance, the College of Fine Arts, the University of Texas and ultimately within the arts themselves to further the development of new works and new artists.