Friday, April 1, 2011

BPT Alum On Location


I’ve had the chance to do a little traveling these last months, from Greece to India to California to Texas…As a playwright who is incessantly told how “risky” new works are to produce (which is why, of course, BPT is SO IMPORTANT), I was reinstated with some hope for the future of theatre and, in particular, the future of the playwright. Here’s a few things that make a playwright’s heart go pitter patter…

Nationally:
1) Bay Area Theatre Magazine is a monthly magazine published in California and March is The Playwrights’ Issue. This issue is full of not only resources for playwrights such as script submission opportunities and world renowned development opportunities such as the Playwrights’ Foundation and PlayGround, but there was also hopeful news like three Bay Area companies being awarded grants (via PlayGround) to produce a new work by a local playwright, totaling up to $50,000. Guess that’ll take some of the “risky” factor out of the production of new works.
Can we see more grants like this please? In, say, Boston?
Oh and for those of you playwrights, here’s some Bay Area theatres you can submit unsolicited scripts to (some of which aren’t in Dramatists’ Sourcebook, FYI):

Development:

Production:

2) So I went to southern California too, and guess whose play I happened to run into? Our very own BPT Alum and BU professor, Lydia Diamond’s. I had the deeply unfortunate experience of missing Stick Fly at the Huntington last season as it sold out! This wonderful, socially conscious theatre in San Diego called Mo`olelo Theatre Company produced Lydia’s hilarious, brilliant play. I was so happy to finally get to see it! Of course, I’m preaching to the choir. You all know how fabulous this play is. I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in Boston who didn’t see it at the Hunt.
Check out the theatre company (which, FYI playwrights, accepts unsolicited scripts!)
3) The Mark Cohen New Work Festival at UT, Austin. This is a six-day festival that happens every other year. I wish I could say I planned my Austin visit around the festival, but it sort of found me. I was chatting with Dave Steakley, the fabulous artistic director of the Zach Theatre in Austin, and he said to me, “So, are you going to the New Work Festival at UT?” I was like, “What new work festival? And…YES. I am NOW!” I was only able to make it for one day but it’s packed full from 9am to 11pm for six days. It draws national talents, theatre professionals, and academics. Some guest artists were John Baker, Literary Manager at Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Lana Lesley from Rude Mechanicals, Sherry Kramer, a playwright teaching at Bennington College, and tons more. New works festivals feel like the playwriting equivalent to a kid in a candy store. Next time maybe I’ll even plan my trip to Austin around it!

Internationally:
1) Allahabad University is in its first year of a Master's Program in Theatre and Film. Since most universities in India are science and technology based, I think the significance and excitement factor speaks for itself. You can read more here.

Not only a performance space, but also a community space that promotes new work and educates locals in the arts and how the arts may be utilized as a peacemaking tool. To the right, is a work of art by Nisreen Moochhala for sale at Seagull Foundation. You can look at more.
I found out about these programs in India via Theatre Without Borders, another deeply important organization committed to the "ritual, community, and the social purposes of art." Check them out!

I just blew back into Beantown yesterday. It’s been a wild ride! Now, go on, click away at all this awesome stuff!