Monday, May 09, 2011

3rd Annual Young Playwrights Project Finalists!

We're thrilled to announce the finalists of the third annual Young Playwrights Project, whose work will be presented May 19-21 during the Best of PlayGround Festival: Alona Bach (Act After Curtain); Rebecca Leiner and Madison Worthington (You Wanna Refill?); Pavla Berghen-Wolf (Secrets in a Backstage Box); and returning 2010 finalist Caety Klingman (Shakespeare in an Airport). Earlier this year, PlayGround announced a playwriting competition open to all Bay Area high school students. Contestants had to submit a new ten-minute play from the topic prompt “Vaudeville” by April 25th.

The following selected plays will be presented as staged readings and serve as “curtain raisers” each night of the festival May 19-22:

- Thu 5/19: Act After Curtain by Alona Bach (Berkeley High ’11)
- Fri 5/20: You Wanna Refill? by Rebecca Leiner (SOTA ’11) and Madison Worthington (SOTA ’11)
- Sat 5/21: Secrets in a Backstage Box by Pavla Berghen-Wolf (Jewish Community High School of the Bay ’13)
- Sun 5/22: Shakespeare in an Airport by Caety Klingman (Miramonte High ’11)

“Through the Young Playwrights Project, PlayGround and Bay Area high schools partner to enable young writers to find their own expressive voice through the creation, development, and production of short plays,” stated PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann. With a generous planning grant from the California Arts Council Artists-in-Schools program in 2007, PlayGround began taking its unique playwright development efforts into Bay Area high schools as part of the PlayGround Young Playwrights Project. This year marks the third year of the Bay Area-wide Young Playwrights Project Contest.  “We are excited to open the PlayGround process and particularly the PlayGround Festival – our celebrated annual showcase for the Bay Area’s best new writers – to Bay Area high school students and look forward, in turn, to sharing their work with Bay Area audiences and theatre-makers,” added PlayGround Education Coordinator & Company Member Eric Fraisher Hayes.

The Best of PlayGround Festival, a showcase of the Bay Area's best new writers and their work, runs May 5-29 at Thick House with performances Thursday-Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 7pm.  In addition, PlayGround presents staged readings of new full-length plays commissioned and developed by PlayGround. For more information, visit  For tickets to the Festival and Young Playwrights Project performances, visit


Alona Bach is a graduating senior at Berkeley High, and plans to take a gap year in the Bay Area to start a teen theater-going non-profit before heading East to Harvard. She is new to the world of playwriting but is an avid audience member, actor, and fan of PlayGround’s work.

Pavla Berghen-Wolf is a sophomore at the Jewish Community High School of the Bay. When not juggling schoolwork, she takes dance and pilates classes at the ODC dance school. She has been tap dancing since age six. She also enjoys reading, sewing, creative writing and is on her school’s literary magazine board.

Caety Klingman is a senior at Miramonte High School. Next year she will be attending the University of Chicago. She was a finalist of last year's Young Playwrights Project, and she has participated in the New Works playwriting program through Young Rep.

Rebecca Leiner is a senior at San Francisco School of the Arts and has studied acting and playwrighting for four years. Next year she will attend the University of Minnesota's Guthrie Theatre BFA Actor Training Program. She enjoys acting, clowning, reading and writing.

Madison Worthington is a senior at San Francisco School of the Arts, where she has studied theatre for the past four years. Her interests include acting, playwriting, juggling, and aerial arts. This fall she will be attending UCLA as a B.A. Theatre major with an acting specialization.


PlayGround is the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator. The mission of PlayGround is to support the development of significant new local voices for the theatre. More than just a play development program, PlayGround focuses on the creation of a true theatre community by nurturing the collaborative process between first-time or early development playwrights, and established professional actors and directors. With a particular focus on the ten-minute form and increasingly on new full-lengths through PlayGround’s commissioning programs, PlayGround creates a microcosm of the greater theatre scene, allowing for experimentation and risk-taking as well as the honing of style and technique. More information, including artist biographies, at


The Best of PlayGround Festival is PlayGround’s annual showcase of the best new plays by the best new writers. The festival features a four-week run of an evening-length program of six short plays and one short musical originally developed as part of the Monday Night PlayGround series at Berkeley Rep, with performances Thursday through Sunday evenings. In addition, the festival also features staged readings of seven new full-length plays commissioned and developed by PlayGround (see for the complete schedule) and readings of four high student short plays as part of the third annual Young Playwrights Project Contest (

For more information, visit
Alona Bach (left) in a production shot from
Berkeley Playhouse's Narnia.

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