PlayGround gave me my start in play writing, provided a lab and a support structure to cut my teeth on the ten minute form, then commissions and production grants to get my full lengths off the ground. I don't know of any other opportunities where a new playwright can work so extensively and consistently with theater artists of such high caliber--the directors and actors (and audiences) of PlayGround offer an amazing community of artists. I've met so many collaborators, friends, colleagues, and now even my wife through PlayGround. I spend my (non-literary) professional life supporting a wide variety of non-profit organizations in other sectors, so it is with great appreciation of the work and dedication that makes PlayGround possible that I receive the support of an organization that has worked so tirelessly on behalf of me and of my peers.
How many organizations do you know that do several wonderful things at once? PlayGround supports emerging playwrights, brings together incredible talent so networking can occur, offers fresh and sometimes startling new work to appreciative audiences, and has now branched into film production. For me, the organization has also provided a discerning and generous group of play-writing friends who have become a support group for my writing, as I am for theirs. I was invited to be a member of the PlayGround writers pool in 2006. Since then, I have written more than forty plays for consideration in the Monday night series. It has been incredibly helpful to see really excellent actors and directors work with my scripts. More than that, it has been great for me (as I am somewhat isolated geographically) to see what other playwrights are thinking and grappling with, and how the culture can be expressed with amazing creativity and resourcefulness in new work. Jim Kleinman, co-founder and main energy, has an extraordinary organization going, and he is a wizard at creating lasting partnerships with, for example, the O'Neill Foundation and the Math Science Research Institute. This organization is foundational to theatrical innovation in the US. It deserves all support!
I've worked with, been supported by, and supported PlayGround for over a decade now. The artistic director and other staff are a rare group of dedicated, energetic and whip-smart people who have changed the landscape for emerging voices in theatre by giving a platform for those who may not have the resources or connections, but have the talent to have their works staged. I was lucky enough to have collaborated with PlayGround in their early days and am lucky enough to have crossed paths with them again today.
At a time when there is so much talk -- and activism -- around creating more opportunities for women playwrights, it's marvelous to be a winner of PlayGround's June Anne Baker award -- an award and commission for a woman playwright who is an exciting new voice for the stage. Mandy Hodge Rizvi, Diane Sampson, Erin Marie Bregman, Lauren Yee, Geetha Reddy, Maria Rokas, Martha Soukup,
Kristina Goodnight -- and me, too -- have all benefited from this award. Thanks, PlayGround.
Writing is an infamously lonely undertaking. Writing plays somehow more so. To really grow as a playwright, your plays need to be read, acted, dissected, and played with by other people. PlayGround offers playwrights this opportunity, along with a strong community to fall back on and be lifted up by. This sense of community is shared not just by the writers, but among and between the directors, actors, producers, audience, and technical staff as well. PlayGround has done a tremendous job bringing talented artists together and challenging them to keep working and playing, staving off the loneliness together. To think of all PlayGround has done with its limited resources is nothing short of amazing.
My experience the last three months with PlayGround has been nothing short of inspiring. In expanding the company's reach into Southern California, Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann has created a place where Los Angeles playwrights can work at their craft alongside seasoned professionals and experience some of the same magic their Bay Area brethren have enjoyed for more than 15 years. In such a short time, a real community of writers, actors, and directors has formed. Some, like myself, are new to the PlayGround process, but are buoyed by the generous spirit of the ex-pats and commuters who have honed their skills up north and share them with us. Jim has successfully exported a proven formula, while leaving plenty of room for PlayGround-LA to evolve its own style. I look forward to collaborating with these folks for years to come.
I am consistently impressed with this organization. Under the astute leadership of Artistic Director, Jim Kleinmann, PleayGround continues to strengthen existing programs and develop new ways to showcase the work of our playwrights. A highlight of the year is getting a group of friends together to attend the annual Best of... Festival. And this year's newest program, the Film Festival, was great a tremendous addition. I am honored to serve on the board and look forward to continued growth and amazing work.
I have been participating in PlayGround's staged readings for twelve years. I have watched as they moved into bigger and better theaters, guided more playwrights and commissioned great new plays. Their audience base is dedicated and PlayGround helps knit together a large portion of the Bay Area acting community.
When was the last time you met a professional playwright? Go ahead, I'll give you a minute to think about it. Well there you go. You very likely never have. Why is that? Because they're rare? No. There are a hell of a lot of playwrights out there. Because they're ashamed? No. A professional playwright is more than delighted to admit her career. Because many are un-produced? Yup! That's pretty much the case. There's a strong absence of organizations whose main purpose is to develop and support the emerging playwright. PlayGround Inc is a rare gem that fits this need. This organization brings together actors, directors, stage technicians, theatre administration and audience to put new works on stage all in an effort to support emerging playwrights in their profession. Check them out, read about them, go see a Monday night performance. After one show you'll be able to brag, "Hey, I know a professional playwright."
There are plenty of theatrical organizations who claim to be committed to developing new plays and nurturing new playwrights, but few actually are. PlayGround doesn't do classics. They don't do the "the hot new play" that everybody else in town is doing. PlayGround ONLY does brand new plays that nobody has seen yet. But that's not all they do. Their commitment to playwrights means that they help writers get their brand new plays produced. Many PlayGround developed plays have gone on to become "hot new plays." Over time, some may even become classics.