Building on the writing tradition of William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, and other players in Mississippi's literary heritage, New Stage Theatre populates its stages with contemporary and classic works by American playwrights. Often comical, often challenging, each season's flock of five musicals and straight plays spreads across colorfully set stages with an aim to attract a culturally diverse audience. The artistic staff balances works by the likes of Lorraine Hansberry, Arthur Miller, and Horton Foote with new and developing productions through the Eudora Welty New Play Series, named for the writer who served on the board of directors.
New Stage Theatre staff complements their theatre's strong artistic vision with educational programs for youth and adults, including touring programs. These outreach endeavors earned theater staff the 1995 Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts. While the original New Stage Theatre was founded in an old church 46 years ago, all of its performances currently fill the large and small theaters at Jane Reid Petty Theatre Center.