Lights Up!

A rehearsal for the 2019 Lights Up! festival.

Lights Up, City Lights’ annual festival of new plays, brings you everything from quirky comedy to unpredictable romance to dark drama. Our up-and-coming playwrights have lots of stories to tell you.

Once a podcast series, we’re excited to bring the festival back in-person in 2024, complete with 2 new full-length play readings and a Maker’s Fair.

The 2024 festival

“Lights Up!” festival of new plays returns in-person on Sunday, Aug. 4.  The lineup features scripts by City Lights favorites, George Psarras and Max Tachis. The festival will also have a Maker’s Fair showcasing a variety of artists and hand-crafted goods. Learn more about the plays and buy your tickets here.

The 2023 festival

This year, we’ve focused on one stellar new play: Second Hand Gods, by Peggy Powell. Directed by Caitlin Papp, this radio play features voice acting by Maria Marquis and Nick Mandracchia, with music, editing and sound design by George Psarras and guitars by Paul Psarras. Listen on our website or wherever you get your podcasts.

Past festivals

Lights Up! was originally an in-person festival that also featured local visual artists showing and selling their work at the theater. During the pandemic shutdown in 2020, we moved the festival to a podcast series for a number of years. In 2024, we’re excited to bring the festival back to our theater with a Maker’s Fair.

An extra salute to everyone who was involved in the festival’s pioneering first years as a podcast series! Head to the 2022, 2021 and 2020 profiles pages to learn more about the festival playwrights, directors, and actors who were involved.