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 have been a member of PlayGround for 8 years. They are an exceptional group of extremely hard working theater professionals dedicated to nurturing Playwrights and supporting local actors and directors. PlayGround is the main source of my inspiration as a writer and has given me the essential support and feedback that a writer needs to grow. And the great work continues; each season brings new programs and new opportunities. Above all, PlayGround has created a welcoming community for theater artists who collaborate not just on PlayGround projects, but on projects of all kinds. PlayGround is a powerful engine that drives new work and performance. This is all done on a tiny budget. If you are interested in the development of new work, consider joining PlayGround as a subscriber, writer, actor, director, or supporter.
PlayGround is the premiere play development theater company in the bay area. I had been a playwright in high school and college, but had abandoned it for a number of years. When I joined PlayGround in 2001, I was excited about renewing this part of my creative life. PlayGround immediately gave me a home -- including support such as peer support, dramaturgs and established playwrights, directors, and the best actors in the San Francisco Bay Area. I immediately had a network of talented and knowledgeable theater professionals, and best of all, I got produced! I got staged readings! I got visibility! My work got directed and acted by the best, most talented people I've ever worked with. Since then, PlayGround has expanded their services and their influence -- from adding coproductions with major Bay Area theaters (several years ago), to extending to Los Angeles (this year) and adding film to their theater credentials (also this year). In addition, they have in recent years given a good deal of attention to playwrights of color and diversity is a very important part of their vision. PlayGround is a model that works, and a non-profit that is brilliantly run and is not only surviving but thriving in this difficult economic atmosphere. Being associated with PlayGround has changed my life.
Far and away, the best non-profit theater company I have ever encountered. They do more program than you can imagine - and they continue to expand, respond to client needs and promote community, creativity and collaboration. I simply cannot say enough about PlayGround, and if I keep going, it might sound too effusive. Suffice it to say that I owe my entire career as a playwright (and now a producer with my own production company) to PlayGround. Not only am I a client, I am also a volunteer and active donor. As a donor, I couldn't be more pleased with resource allocation and dollars managed and spent. They are terrific.