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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer Blog Series: New Boston Companies To Make Playwrights Swoon #1

Hello Boston,

We don’t know if you’ve heard, but Playwrights’ Commons has launched! As a playwright development organization, our mission is to strengthen the local theatre ecology through workshops, fiscal support, and innovative collaborative opportunities. We love New England, and we love our artists; we aim to be that really great friend who somehow manages to offer dead-on advice and knows when to buy you a strong drink. 

We’re ramping up steadily over the next few months, so be on the look-out for upcoming programs like the Donut Hole lab (if you’re feeling like you’re somewhere between “emerging” and “established,” this lab might be for you); workshops on how to build one’s artistic brand, and on using new social media platforms; and master classes with talented theatre leaders from near and far. A recent poll of local playwrights revealed a strong desire for programs that help individual artists make stronger, more useful connections to the field and to producing organizations – we’re working on developing a series to address these concerns.

Our first programs are already underway. Monthly Playwright Night Out events have proven popular social gatherings to strengthen community. An online extension of that community – the Boston & New England Playwrights group on Facebook – has taken off as well, providing a centralized point of conversation and exchange of ideas. The Freedom Art Retreat launches in August: we’re taking nine theatre makers to the New England woods for a week. What magic will happen? We don’t know – but keep in touch with us (have you joined our mailing list yet?) for news of an autumn cocktail gala where portions of these new works will be shown.

Playwrights’ Commons is also happy to report that we are forging partnerships with other organizations within the Boston theatre community – notably Company One, with whom we are a co-sponsor of the C1 Summer Playground, the C1 Lab, and Company One’s participation with the BCA’s XX Lab. We are also represented on the advisory board of Joyce Van Dyke’s Deported: a Dream Play, co-produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and Suffolk University at the newly remodeled Modern Theatre in 2012; as well as on the playwright advisory panel of StageSource. Looking forward, we will be part of the planning for next summer’s TCG conference, to be held in Boston June 20-24, and hope to represent the voices of the local playwriting community.

The most important project on the docket at present, however, is a joint-effort with Arena Stage’s New Play Institute (NPI) to build representation for Boston and New England area playwrights on the New Play Map, as well as to teach interested parties how to use the open-source livestreaming software developed by NPI so that local artists can get their voices heard beyond our narrow geographies.

Finally, in the interest of healthy new play development, Playwrights’ Commons is actively building a regionally-focused Dramaturg Bank which will allow playwrights and dramaturgs to find each other and, we hope, forge new collaborations over time. 

We invite you to become part of our growing network, no matter what your area of practice, and we look forward to sharing our work with you.

Corianna Moffatt, Associate Producer & Dramaturg
Ilana Brownstein, Founding Dramaturg

Playwrights' Commons' Website
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