Thursday, September 13, 2012

PlayGround PlaySpace - A Space for New Work!

Earlier this summer and with little fanfare, PlayGround launched an important new resource for the PlayGround and new plays communities. Entitled PlaySpace and located in Berkeley's Lorin District, it's a writers lab, classroom, rehearsal space... it dices, slices and juliennes! Well, you get the idea. PlayGround's never had a space of its own and, well, that's been okay. But in discussions with PlayGround writers and other company artists over the last year, it became clear that this wasn't okay for those trying to make new works and having to find affordable, accessible space in which to do so (the new PlaySpace is just three blocks from Ashby BART, with access to plenty of free parking day-and-night). Writers need a place to write, students need a place to learn, and actors need a place to rehearse. And so, PlaySpace was developed.

Already, it's become home for several new programs, such as the Resident Playwrights program announced last month and a paid-membership Writers Lab (providing a clean, quiet communal space where its members can write), as well as ongoing programs like the PlayGround Intensives, Recess (supporting PlayGround writers in between Monday Night PlayGround performances), New Play Incubator readings and rehearsals (PlayGround's full-length commissioning program), as well as Best of PlayGround rehearsals next spring. It's also available for rentals, whether for readings, rehearsals, classes, auditions, meetings, conferences, screenings, or even special events.

Over time, we expect to see PlaySpace become an essential tool for both PlayGround artists and others in the community looking to develop new works. If you'd like to get a free tour of PlaySpace or learn more about opportunities and availability, email to

2012-13 Playwriting Intensives Announced!

If you're an aspiring or emerging playwright or even just a die-hard theatre enthusiast interested in learning how to tap into your own creativity and expand your playwriting horizons, you'll want to check out the lineup for the new season of PlayGround Intensives, two-hour master classes led by some of the Bay Area's most distinguished playwrights. Intensives take place on the first Monday of the month, October through March, 7pm-9pm, at PlaySpace, PlayGround's new writers lab/classroom/rehearsal space in South Berkeley.

Registration for the introductory October 1 class is just $18 and the remaining classes are each $38. Six-class subscriptions are available for $105, a 50% discount off single-class registration.

October 1 - Growing a New Play with Anthony Clarvoe
November 5 - The Secret to Secrets with Lauren Gunderson
December 3 - Where Plays Come From with Philip Kan Gotanda
January 7 - Debunking the "Write What You Know" Myth with Garret Jon Groenveld
February 4 - Adaptations with Daniel Heath
March 4 - The Working Playwright, Revisited: Everything You (Still) Need to Know with Aaron Loeb

Suggested Reading: Best of PlayGround series (2001-2012)
To register, click here.

October 1
Growing a New Play with Anthony Clarvoe
What to do with all those one-minute and ten-minute plays you've written? This workshop looks at how the idea for your next full-length play could already be among the characters and scenes from one of your existing short works. But then how to take it to full-length or longer one-act? Anthony will explore the relationship between short and full-length forms and how one can feed the other successfully.

November 5
The Secret to Secrets with Lauren Gunderson
Humans are smart animals: we love details, we love complication, and we LOVE to be surprised. How does the equally smart playwright use details, complication, and surprises to build a riveting play? We will discuss how secrets and mysteries can fuel your script and pay off in the end.

December 3
Where Plays Come From (sources of inspiration and what to do with them) with Philip Kan Gotanda

January 7
Debunking the "Write What You Know" Myth
with Garret Jon Groenveld
There’s a lot of misconceptions when professional writers toss off the line, “Well, you should write what you know!” A phrase like this is confusing to experienced and novice writers alike. Does this mean that we should only write about the tragic events that happen to us? Does this mean we shouldn’t write about things we don’t know? This seminar will tackle our assumptions about what makes good subject matter for making theatre and will explore theatrical significant detail through lecture, writing exercises and discussion.

February 4
Adaptations with Daniel Heath
This seminar looks at the process of adapting in all its glorious forms - adapting outside sources for the theatre, adapting theatre to film, and more! Daniel will share lessons learned in his adaptations of the restoration comedy Man of Mode to the 80s rock musical Man of Rock for the Climate Theatre as well as his work as screenwriter and producer on the short film, Wednesday (1st PlayGround Film Festival, 2012), adapted from his short play of the same name, and a new adaptation project currently in development.

March 4
The Working Playwright, Revisited: Everything You (Still) Need to Know with Aaron Loeb
A detail few artists like to think about: if you're going to get paid to produce your work, you are starting a new business. It may not make a billion a year, but it's a business nonetheless. In this intensive, we will cover the business of show in detail. Contracts, agents, working with a theater, submissions, getting your name out there. Everything the emerging writer needs to know to protect the three R's: rights, relationships and reputation. Note: For those who took the March or October 2011 Intensives with Aaron, this workshop will provide new and deeper insights into this subject.

To see the complete class list and faculty bios, click here. To register, click here.

Friday, September 07, 2012

PlayGround Company in the News Sep-12

Read on to learn about PlayGround Company Members' recent news, current happenings, and upcoming events. 

Alex Moggridge is currently performing in Berkeley Rep's post-Broadway tour of CHINGLISH which goes to South Coast Rep later this year and Hong Kong next year. Two of his short plays have been shortlisted for Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival.

Michael Barrett Austin will be appearing in SF Playhouse's fall production of BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON directed by Jon Tracy, opening in SF Playhouse's new home at 450 Post St.

Resident Playwright Daniel Heath is getting married to Company Member Anna Bullard on September 15. They met at a Monday Night PlayGround in 2008.

Company member Cindy Goldfield and PlayGround regular Liz Anderson just closed a successful production of D'Arcy Drollinger's PROJECT:LOHAN at A.C.T.'s The Costume Shop performance space. Chris Winslow, Cindy Goldfield and D'Arcy Drollinger are hard at work on a new musical commissioned by LaMama and to be presented in NYC in March 2013.   

Molly Noble is busy with TBA's Atlas Directors Program, reading scripts for Aurora's Global Age Project and TILL YOU HEAR MY STORY, an ongoing restorative justice project she is directing with inmates, outside actors and a documentary crew at San Quentin.  She will be directing PACK OF LIES for Ross Valley Players in the late fall.

Ignacio Zulueta’s sketch comedy writing for MAD STASH: FRINGE BENEFITS debuts this Saturday night at the SF Fringe Festival. His prize-winning monologue for Write Club SF (with proceeds going to TBA’s Mary Mason Lemonade Fund), can be downloaded on iTunes as Episode 26 of Write Club SF’s podcast. His selected MSRI/PlayGround 2011 piece, #CAIRO, was a finalist at Golden Thread’s 2012 ReOrient Festival, and his radio play THE THING BENEATH THE TREE was a semifinalist at the 2012 Deathscribe Festival of Radio Horror Plays in Chicago.

Playwright Evelyn Jean Pine was selected to be a resident artist at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, CA during their 2013 season.

This past July Sam Misner acted in a special production of the musical WOODYGUTHRIE’S AMERICAN SONG at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, in celebration of what would have been Woody's 100th birthday. He will return to San Jose Rep this fall to play Fred and Young Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL after returning from a tour to England with his band, Misner & Smith.

Aaron Wilton will be playing Andy Fastow in Capital Stage's ENRON which opens September 19.

Nancy Carlin is performing in PRECIOUS LITTLE at Shotgun Players thru September 16. 

Ross Peter Nelson has moved to New Orleans to start an MFA in Creative Writing/Playwriting at UNO.