Saturday, August 25, 2012

PlayGround Demo Day: A Producer's Primer

On Monday evening, October 1, PlayGround will host its first-ever Demo Day at A.C.T.'s Geary Theatre for members of the PlayGround Producers Circle and prospective Angel Investors. What is Demo Day and what can attendees expect to see? And how might the results of Demo Day affect your theatre-going plans this season?

Modeled on the tech incubator Y Combinator, PlayGround's Demo Day will provide a platform for teams of artists and producers to pitch several new full-length plays commissioned and developed by PlayGround, now being readied for production and in search of funding.

While each project's needs are different, the proposals generally outline a premiere four-week engagement with total capitalization costs (the costs of preparing and mounting the world premiere and running costs for the initial run) between $20,000 and $40,000 per production. PlayGround will invest up to a total of $20,000 from its 2012-13 New Play Production Fund to support at least two world premiere productions of  commissions from previous seasons. PlayGround has also secured the in-kind contribution of a San Francisco performance space for two four-week runs in winter/spring 2013, valued at $12,000, although fully-funded projects could be done in any venue. Teams will seek to secure their target capitalization from donors and investors participating in Demo Day, as well as through crowdfunding, grants and other outside investment. Prospective producers and angels (theatre investors) will have a chance to meet directly with the lead artists (playwrights, directors, and in some cases, actors and designers already committed to the project) at a reception immediately following the presentations.

Producers/angels can elect to structure their financial participation as tax-deductible contributions (with no financial return though non-monetary perks may be offered) or investments (with investors having a financial stake in the production), depending on the level of participation and personal goals. Each project offers a unique opportunity for backers to become intimately involved in the process of producing a new play, from assisting in securing additional capitalization to providing feedback at developmental readings to serving as a sounding board for the producing team, etc

The ultimate goal? To help bring together the artists, producers and angels needed to ensure more quality new plays by local playwrights make it to the stage... and have a heck of a good time while doing it! So, without further ado, we proudly present the projects being pitched for the first Demo Day and hopefully coming soon to a theatre near you:

Altair by Evelyn Jean Pine
It’s 1976 and the only way to get your hands on a computer is to “roll your own.”  So assemble the hobbyist kit advertised in Popular Electronics and score a copy of Altair BASIC software. Without warning, you’re part of the first epic battle of the computer age. On one side: the hackers, the Future, the Revolution.  On the other side: 19-year old Bill Gates. And boy, is that guy pissed.

Drive Thru by Mandy Hodge Rizvi
It's the middle of a heat wave in Wellington, Kentucky: a town where people call each other by name, buy American, go to church on Sundays, and mind your business for you. When some strange new neighbors and a new fast food restaurant threaten to shake up the status quo, Wellington's residents are forced to face their worst nightmares in the harsh light of day. The town is determined to take down the opposition and preserve its way of life, but as the temperature heats up and the sun goes down, it's hard to tell where the enemy really is. All is not well in Wellington.

Ecce Homo by Jonathan Luskin
A romantic comedy. Troy Steel is an aspiring action movie hero, fired from a reality television show for his inability to lie, and left publicly humiliated but internationally famous. Annabella is a talented actress, too big-boned and brusque for a career on screen, she can only find work performing behind the mask of computer-animated characters. When Troy is hired to animate a heroic warrior using a motion-capture suit, he is unable to perform even the simplest of scenes without suffering a crisis of confidence. The producer coerces Annabella to act Troy’s part for him. The animated pilot is a wild success and Troy and Annabella are bound together by her secret work on his behalf and his unknowing collaboration. Their journey together is perilously guided by therapy sessions with Oona, a plush-toy orca whale, and Troy’s grandparents, famous vaudeville actors who return from the past.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl by Katie May
After his breakup with Evil Ex-girlfriend Jacqueline, Lee Tallman, a would-be graphic novelist, is unable to create. Enter the mysteriously silent Lily, with whom he falls in love. In a burst of creativity Tallman slays the specters of heartbreak and creative impotence, in this play-turned-graphic novel, starring himself as the hero. But when Tallman makes an agonizing discovery, he must confront Lily’s true identity, and his refusal to see her as more than just his muse.

The Serving Class by Garret Jon Groenveld
Winner of the 2010 Global Age Project. It should have been a simple "no" but an elite interior decorator gets roped into planning the high society wedding of the decade. Suddenly, he's knee deep in an unconventional love triangle, arrested, bribed, and planning an entirely different wedding! Three breathless acts without an intermission, this class comedy about love and commitment makes a lighthanded comment in the Beaumarchais style about the lives of gay men (who cannot get married), without whom many weddings would never happen. Fun, fast-paced romance with a wacky world view makes this the gayest comedy in years; a cult hit in the making!

Siren by Daniel Heath
Jason, a struggling painter, and Lisa, a successful programmer, buy a house on the edge of Puget Sound so Jason can find inspiration in the water. Instead, they find a mermaid. She revives their aspirations and ambitions in life, love and art but everyone knows that it's a bad idea to talk to mermaids, and the conflict between the couple's circumstances and their aspirations threatens to destroy them both.


Want to know how to get your invitation to PlayGround Demo Day? Unable to attend on October 1 but want to get more involved with one of these projects? Call PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann at (415) 992-6677 or email us for more information. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

PlayGround Announces Resident Playwrights

PlayGround named today the nine up-and-coming Bay Area playwrights who will participate in the playwright incubator’s new Resident Playwrights program. The invitation-only program will provide year-round support and additional development opportunities for some of PlayGround’s most distinguished alumni and their new works. Running parallel to the PlayGround Writers Pool, the Resident Playwrights will continue to participate in the Monday Night PlayGround series and the Best of PlayGround Festival (one slot reserved in each event for Resident Playwright submissions) while also working on the development of new full-length works and other content. PlayGround is accepting applications for the 2012-13 Writers Pool through August 31 and will announce thirty emerging writers to participate in PlayGround’s cornerstone incubator program at the company’s season kick-off celebration, scheduled for Monday evening, September 24 at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood (Berkeley) in conjunction with the rescreening of the first PlayGround Film Festival.

A PlayGround Co-Production
The inaugural PlayGround Resident Playwrights are: Trevor Allen, Tim Bauer, Erin Bregman, Garret Jon Groenveld, Daniel Heath, Brady Lea, Sean Owens, Evelyn Jean Pine and Tom Swift. Collectively, they have received thirty-three PlayGround Emerging Playwright Awards since 1997 and had their short plays featured in fifteen of the past sixteen Best of PlayGround Festivals. They have received twenty-two full-length play commissions from PlayGround over the last ten years, five of which premiered in Bay Area theatres with several more pending for the coming season, including Tom Swift’s gay marriage play, A Marriage, scheduled to premiere at New Conservatory Theatre Center next May.

Trevor Allen received PlayGround’s Emerging Playwright Award, Playwriting Fellowship and four Alumni Commissions and is currently writing a co-commission for San Jose Repertory Theatre and PlayGround, entitled Valley of Sand. He was a playwright in residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program. Productions include: Lolita Roadtrip (S.J. Stage), The Creature (Black Box Theatre), Tenders in the Fog (S.J. Stage, Goodman Award, Original Script), Working for the Mouse! (Impact Theatre), 49 Miles (Crowded Fire), Chain Reactions (The Cutting Ball and CAFE). Recipient of a SF Arts Commission grant for Zoo Logic (Z-Space/Magic Theatre, Crowded Fire), two SF Fringe Festival’s “Best Of” awards and a Bay Area Playwrights Festival alumni. BA, Theatre UCLA and MFA Creative Writing from SFSU. Active Member, Dramatists Guild of America.

Tim Bauer is a Bay Area playwright. His plays include Gyroball (Magic Theatre commission and STAGE International finalist), Exit Wounds (Just Theater’s New Play Lab), Beyond Words (Aurora Theatre Global Age Project finalist), and The Secret Rulers of the World Go To Camp (PlayGround Fellowship commission). He’s been a three-time finalist for the Heideman Award, a finalist for the Lark Playwright’s Festival, and a winner of the Storer Boone Award for Best Original Play. His plays have been produced around the country by theaters like Southern Rep, Sleepwalkers Theatre, Colonial Playhouse, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, Stage Werx, PianoFight, Arclight Rep, Bay One Acts Festival and Austin Script Works, and developed by Just Theater, Bay Area Playwright’s Festival and the Great Plains Conference.

Erin Bregman is a resident playwright at PlayGround and the Playwrights Foundation, and company member of Just Theater. She is a multi-year Princess Grace Award finalist, with work produced or developed with Just Theater, The Lark, the Playwrights Foundation, ACT, FuryFactory, PlayGround, and Actors Theatre of Santa Cruz. Past commissions include the Magic Theatre, Just Theater, and PlayGround. Erin teaches for the San Francisco Opera, and runs Little Opera, an all-kids opera company.

Garret Jon Groenveld is among the founding writers of PlayGround and a seven-time winner of the Emerging Playwrights Award. Among his full-length plays include: The Empty Nesters, The Grand Divorce, The Hummingbirds (Winner, Internationalists 2012 Global Playwriting Contest; 2012 Global Age Project), Missives and The Serving Class (2010 Global Age Project). His play Missives, originally commissioned by PlayGround, appeared in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 2004, premiered in San Francisco in 2005 at Theatre Rhino and in New York in 2008 at 59E59 Theatres. His play The Serving Class, also commissioned by PlayGround, won the Global Age Project from the Aurora Theatre in 2010. He was an inaugural Resident Playwright of the Playwrights Foundation and is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.

Daniel Heath is a three-time recipient of commissions from PlayGround (2009, 2010, and 2011) and winner of the PlayGround Emerging Playwright Award (2007, 2008, 2009, 2011). His recent productions of full-length plays include Man of Rock (New York Musical Theatre Festival 2011, and the Climate Theatre, San Francisco, 2010), Seven Days (SF Playhouse Sandbox, San Francisco, 2010, a PlayGround co-production) and A Merry Forking Christmas (PianoFight, San Francisco, 2010 and 2009). His short plays have been performed across the country from San Francisco to NYC.

Brady Lea is a playwright, performer and theatre arts educator. She is a three-time PlayGround Emerging Playwright Award winner and the recipient of the 2006 June Anne Baker Prize. She is a graduate of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College and performed for several years with the vaudeville trio The Kloons. Brady is currently a visiting artist in physical theatre and improvisation at San Francisco School of the Arts. She lives in Bernal Heights with her husband David.

Sean Owens is the author of over 35 short and full-length plays, including three musicals with composer Don Seaver. He received the Critics Circle Award for Best Original Script for The Big Drag in 1997, and was named Best Comic Playwright by the SF Weekly in 2006. His solo show Naught But Pirates garnered Audience Choice at New York’s FRIGID Fest in 2007. He is co-founder of Foul Play Productions with partner Cameron Eng.

Evelyn Jean Pine writes plays about the moments when you feel your life is brand new. She is a five-time PlayGround Emerging Playwright Award winner, and received the June Anne Baker prize. PlayGround commissioned three of her full-lengths: The Secrets of the World (Queen Isabella meets the Indians), Astonishment (the birth of the movies), and Altair (Bill Gates at 19). She loves the SF Olympians Festival.  Her award-winning short plays are staged around the country.

Tom Swift is a four-time PlayGround Emerging Playwrights Award winner and a PlayGround Fellowship and Alumni Commission recipient. Most recently his short film, The Beginning, was featured at the inaugural PlayGround Film Festival where it received the People’s Choice Award. His short play My Name Is Yin was one of six winners of the 2011 Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival, the oldest short-play festival in the United States. Mr. Swift recently founded a production company, serving as producer of his own work at the Samuel French Festival, and as Associate Producer of Aaron Loeb’s Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party off Broadway. His new full-length play, A Marriage, originally commissioned and developed by PlayGround, will premiere at New Conservatory Theatre Center next May.

Since 1994, PlayGround has been a leading incubator for some of the Bay Area’s most promising new playwrights, premiering 110 original short plays by 57 Bay Area emerging playwrights from several thousand submissions through its Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series and Best of PlayGround Festival. PlayGround has also commissioned 41 new full-length plays and supports the premiere of many of these works in partnership with Bay Area theatres through its innovative New Play Production Fund. In 2012, PlayGround launched the PlayGround Film Festival to showcase the works of local filmmakers and writers. PlayGround alumni include a who’s who of the Bay Area’s best up-and-coming writers, including Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Aaron Loeb, Garret Jon Groenveld, Geetha Reddy, and Ken Slattery, among others, with many having their first professional production through PlayGround.

PlayGround’s alumni have gone on to win not only local but also national (and international) honors for short and full-length work, including recognition at the Internationalists Global Playwriting Contest, Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre Company’s Global Age Project, Guthrie Theatre, Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, and The Drama League’s New Directors-New Works series.  Works have been premiered at numerous theatres throughout the Bay Area, including: Theatre Rhinoceros, San Jose Stage Company, Just Theater, and SF Playhouse. Of particular note is Aaron Loeb’s Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party which, following its premiere at SF Playhouse in 2008, received a sold-out run at the 2009 New York International Fringe Festival (named “Outstanding Play”), its off-Broadway debut in 2010 and numerous regional productions over the past season. Most recently, Ken Slattery’s Truffaldino Says No enjoyed a successful five-week run at Shotgun Players.

PlayGround Company in the News Aug-12

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

Tom Swift's short film, THE BEGINNING, winner of the PlayGround Film Festival People's Choice Award, has been selected for this year's Cinema Diverse: the Palm Springs Gay and Lesbian Film Festival. The film, directed by Brian Tolle and featuring Jason Frazier and Liam Vincent, will be rescreened in the Bay Area along with the entire first PlayGround Film Festival on September 24 at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood with simultaneous live stream on #newplay tv.

Brian Herndon is appearing in TheatreWorks' New Works Festival production of BEING EARNEST, playing a multitude of roles including Lane, Merriman, and Dr. Chasuble.  He will also be doing THE COMPLEAT WORKS OF WLLM SHKSPR (ABRIDGED) at the Harbor Theatre in Suisun, and will be headed to Arizona Theatre Company to reprise Mr. Elton in JANE AUSTEN'S EMMA in December and January. Brian did 30 Days of Free Shakespeare in the Parklet (#1: THE TEMPEST) with SF Shakes, and will be doing Launce in TWO GENTS later in August!

Gabriel Grilli is rehearsing Stalking Christopher Walken, an original dance theatre piece he wrote and is directing for his new company, BrickaBrack, to be performed as part of the SF Fringe, September 8-15 at the Exit Theatre. http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/261950

The second presentation of Garret Jon Groenveld’s THE HUMMINGBIRDS as part of the Internationalists will be on September 26 and 27 at 9:00 pm, both days at "LAB trece" in Mexico City. 

Christopher Chen’s new play THE HUNDRED FLOWERS PROJECT, which was just seen at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, won the 2012 Rella Lossy Playwrights Award. It will premiere at Crowded Fire this Fall.

Erin Bregman’s all-kids opera company, Little Opera, is about to launch its second year. They are currently recruiting kids, and fundraising at http://www.indiegogo.com/little-opera. 

Mary Baird is performing in The Unexpected Guest at the Coastal Arts Center in Hilton Head, South Carolina from Sept 11 through Oct 21.  She just finished working with 29 teens at Sarah Lawrence for NYSSSA. 

Patrick Alparone is rehearsing The Normal Heart, which will begin performances at A.C.T. on Sept 19. 

Ignacio Zulueta has commenced work on his PlayGround Fellowship commission, KANO & ABE, A DALY CITY BIBLE STORY.  He will be writing and performing for charity at two benefit performances on Aug. 21 and Oct. 22: Write Club SF's "Agony of Undefeat" on Aug. 21 at the Make-Out Room, will benefit the TBA Lemonade Fund. PCSF's "Repro Rights" on Oct. 22, at the Brava Theatre, will benefit Planned Parenthood.  Ignacio's sketch comedy writing for the Mad Stash: Fringe Benefits will be featured at the SF Fringe Festival on just four shows on Sep. 8, 9, 12, and 15. Rosie Hallett and Ignacio Zulueta just wrapped up a totally tubular workshop of DOOMSURFING, a new apocalyptic surf-rock musical by up-and-coming musical theatre duo Knight and Brinegar. 

Louis Parnell recently directed Kenn Rabin’s REUNION, a PlayGround commission co-produced by San Francisco Playhouse and will next appear in BELL BOOK & CANDLE at the Playhouse. 
Kirk Shimano’s short play, THE SHADOWMAN, will be part of PianoFight's "Roughin' It 2" out in Point Reyes on September 15 and 22. The show will feature new works from playwrights all performed around a campfire at Tomales Bay. https://www.ticketturtle.com/index.php?ticketing=gfys
Nancy Carlin is appearing in Precious Little by Madeleine George at Shotgun Players, Aug. 18 - Sep. 9. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

PlayGround Film Festival Goes (Inter)national!

Just three months after the launch of the PlayGround Film Festival with screenings in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Rafael, PlayGround is now preparing to take the PlayGround Film Festival national... heck, international, even! On Monday, September 24, in conjunction with PlayGround's 2012-13 season kick-off, PlayGround will live stream in HD the entire inaugural PlayGround Film Festival on #newplay tv, a knowledge commons project stewarded by Howlround.com and part of the Center for the Theater Commons at Emerson.

The Film Festival, a joint project of PlayGround and local film company Dances with Light, debuted in May to rave reviews from audiences and artists alike and featured five short films by teams of local filmmakers and writers adapted from past Best of PlayGround short plays as well as short interviews with the screenwriters. Films included: Tom Swift's The Beginning (People's Choice Award); Jonathan Luskin's Ecce Homo, shot in the historic Paramount Theatre; Daniel Heath's Wednesday; Kenn Rabin's Reunion; and Katie May's animated feminist fairytale, The Etymology of Zero. PlayGround recently announced the guidelines and deadline for the second PlayGround Film Festival Competition at http://playground-sf.org/filmfest. Applications are being accepted through October 1, after which PlayGround will announce six new projects to receive seed funding, with the completed short films to be screened in May 2013 at the Best of PlayGround Festival.

PlayGround will rescreen the first PlayGround Film Festival at the Rialto Elmwood Cinemas, 2966 College Ave, Berkeley at 8pm (Pacific Time) on September 24 and simultaneously live stream in HD the hour-and-ten-minute program online at http://newplaytv.info (no special software is required; just an internet connection and web browser). The screening will immediately follow PlayGround's season kick-off celebration, featuring the announcement of the 2012-13 writers pool and subscriber reception. The Rialto Elmwood screening is open to the public and tickets can be purchased at http://www.tix.com/schedule.aspx?OrgNum=2931&ActCode=78123 (reg. $15; PlayGround subscribers get half off). During the screening, audiences can live tweet about their experience and send questions to the filmmakers using the hashtags #playgroundfilmfest and #newplay. National and globally-distributed "watch parties" can be organized at http://meetup.com/newplaytv.

“It's a testament to the writers and the strength of their original short plays how well these works translated to the screen,” commented Film Festival co-producer Barry Stone. Added PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann, “We're always working to break down barriers in the development of new writers and new content and are very excited to partner with #newplay tv on this first-of-its-kind free broadcast to bring the work of the Bay Area's best new writers to an (inter)national audience. I'm also looking forward to following the live twitter commentary and reaction at #newplay and #playgroundfilmfest!"

#NEWPLAY TV is an international, shared-resource for live events and performances relevant to the new works theater field. It is open-access and open-source. #NEWPLAY TV's mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively.. For more information, visit http://newplaytv.info or http://howlround.com.

PlayGround is a leading playwright incubator based in San Francisco. Over the past eighteen years, PlayGround has developed a suite of unique models to support the development of new local writers and their work, including PlayGround's cornerstone programs, Monday Night PlayGround and the Best of PlayGround Festival, as well as the Commissioning Initiative, New Play Production Fund and most recently the PlayGround Film Festival. PlayGround is currently working with the Los Angeles theatre community on the launch of PlayGround-LA. For more information, visit http://playground-sf.org.

Barry Stone, owner of Dances with Light, made his first film in 1979. He has professional credits as an actor, composer and director in the theatre, and as a producer, director, writer, composer, actor, cinematographer and editor in film and television. His directorial credits include four episodes of the British hit series rENFORD rEJECTS, filmed in London for Nickelodeon and Channel Four, "All Ways Welcome", produced and directed for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, and numerous commercials, music videos and corporate films. Barry has been the cinematographer on forty-seven episodes of series television, six MOWs, numerous commercials and twenty-one feature films, notably Lie with me, Mouth to Mouth, Cherish, Triggermen, Pale Saints, Paris France, Rude, Dumbarton Bridge,  The Perfect Son and Dream with the Fishes.  Recently Barry produced and directed SNIFF, a feature length drama / documentary hybrid with Amanda Plummer, Neil Morrissey (and a lot of great dogs).
WHAT: PlayGround Film Festival Screening & Live Stream via #NewPlay TV
WHEN: Monday, September 24, 8pm Pacific Time
WHERE: Rialto Elmwood Cinemas, 2966 College Ave, Berkeley and online at http://newplaytv.info
TICKETS (Rialto Elmwood screening only):  click here.
NOTE: To participate in the live twitter commentary, use hashtags #newplay and #playgroundfilmfest. To organize "watch parties" in your community, visit http://meetup.com/newplaytv.

Monday, August 13, 2012

PlayGround Comes to Los Angeles!

On August 28, PlayGround Associate Director Annie Stuart and I head down to L.A. to meet with L.A.-based theatre artists including many PlayGround alumni to discuss the proposed launch of PlayGround-LA. Playwrights, directors, actors and producers interested in learning more about the plans for the first L.A. season of Monday Night PlayGround are invited to join us at the Zephyr Theatre, 7456 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, at 8pm. To R.S.V.P. for the PlayGround-LA Kick-Off, visit http://www.facebook.com/events/119097361566016/ (note: capacity is limited).

I had first discussed the possibility of bringing PlayGround programs to L.A. with Zephyr Theatre owner and longtime PlayGround Company Member Lee Sankowich a number of years ago. Lee and FireMused Productions' Deborah Taylor had been experimenting with a full-length play staged reading series at the Zephyr and had included a few PlayGround full-length commissions along the way. There was also a growing number of PlayGround alumni and artists with PlayGround experience in L.A., including directors Jesus Reyes, Robin Stanton, and Juliette Carillo, actors Katie Rubin, Greg Bryan, Isabelle Ortega, Don Speziale, and Arthur Keng, and playwrights Daniele Nathanson ('97 and '99 Best of PlayGround) and Mark Sherstinsky ('01 Best of PlayGround), among others.

So it was on a sunny day in March I went to L.A. to meet with Lee and discuss how this might all work. I also had a chance to speak with L.A. actor (and fellow Brown alumnus) Andrew Borba about how PlayGround might best complement the existing new works and new voices communities in Los Angeles. Andrew had experience with PlayGround's precursor and inspiration, "Once Upon A Weekend," a fast-paced short play development exercise initiated by Paula Vogel when she came to Brown in 1986 to head up the graduate playwriting program. Among the many distinguished playwrights who emerged from Brown during her time there (and, we can assume, with their fair amount of experience with "Once Upon A Weekend") were Sarah Ruhl, Nilo Cruz, Lynn Nottage, Adam Bock, and Peter Sinn Nachtrieb (who, no stranger to PlayGround, won the PlayGround Emerging Playwright Award in 2000 for his short play, "Self Help").

As the discussions continued, the plan began to take shape. PlayGround-LA would start with the Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series six monthly performances of original short work inspired by an assigned topic, written in just four-and-a-half days by some of the area's best emerging writers, and presented as script-in-hand staged readings by leading local directors and actors. Nearly two hundred local artists would be involved in the first L.A. season of Monday Night PlayGround. The series would take place on the second Monday of the month, October through March. Over the past eighteen years, PlayGround (in San Francisco) has developed over 600 short plays by more than 175 Bay Area playwrights in this fashion, from out of more than 3,000 submissions. Monday Night PlayGround has served as a cornerstone for PlayGround's new play incubator programs which also include the Best of PlayGround Festival, full-length play Commissioning Initiative and New Play Production Fund, facilitating full production of PlayGround-commissioned works in partnership with local theatres.  But it always comes back to Monday Night PlayGround, often the introduction to the professional theatre community for many first-time or early-career playwrights and a leading showcase for the Bay Area's top new play practitioners the directors, actors and designers who help "bring to life" these amazing short plays.

What's left to do? PlayGround-LA (a fiscally-sponsored project of San Francisco-based PlayGround) needs to raise $5,000 to ensure the successful launch of the L.A. Monday Night PlayGround series. PlayGround-LA has launched an IndieGoGo campaign at http://www.indiegogo.com/playground-LA to facilitate donations though donors can also call (323) 992-6766 to make donations by phone. And at the Kick-Off on August 28, PlayGround-LA will establish a list of writers, directors, actors and producers interested in helping ensure the success of the launch and discuss next steps.  Help spread the word and, if you're an L.A.-based theatre artist, we hope to see you there!

PlayGround-LA Kick-Off
Tuesday, August 28, 8pm
Zephyr Theatre
7456 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles
To donate to PlayGround-LA, visit http://www.indiegogo.com/playground-LA.
For more information, email info@playground-la.org.

Jim Kleinmann co-founded PlayGround in 1994 and has served as Artistic Director since 1996.  For PlayGround, he has provided artistic and administrative leadership for the past eighteen seasons, developing PlayGround’s unique array of new playwright and new play incubator programs, including Monday Night PlayGround, the Best of PlayGround Festival, the full-length play Commissioning Initiative, the New Play Production Fund, and most recently the PlayGround Film Festival.  He is a veteran arts administrator with more than twenty years of experience, including stints leading Traveling Jewish Theatre, Smuin Ballet and Berkeley Symphony. He is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama and Brown University, where he co-founded the improvisational theatre, IMPROVidence.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Second PlayGround Film Fest Competition Announced

On the heels of the successful launch of the PlayGround Film Festival earlier this spring, PlayGround and Dances With Light announced today the guidelines for the second annual PlayGround Film Festival and named Tom Swift's The Beginning, directed by filmmaker Brian Tolle as the winner of the first People's Choice Award. The competition, open to teams of local filmmakers and playwrights, will award $1,500 in seed funding to each of six finalists to create short films adapted from some of the 110 award-winning short plays originally premiered in the celebrated Best of PlayGround Festival. The films will be screened in San Francisco, Berkeley and San Rafael as part of the 17th annual Best of PlayGround Festival taking place in May 2013. The deadline for completed applications is October 1, 2012. Guidelines and copies of the eligible plays are available online at http://playground-sf.org/filmfest.

Since 1994, PlayGround has been a leading incubator for some of the Bay Area’s most promising new playwrights, premiering 110 original short plays by 57 Bay Area emerging playwrights from several thousand submissions through its Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series and Best of PlayGround Festival. PlayGround has also commissioned 41 new full-length plays and supports the premiere of many of these works in partnership with Bay Area theatres through its innovative New Play Production Fund. PlayGround alumni include a who’s who of the Bay Area’s best up-and-coming writers, including Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Aaron Loeb, Garret Jon Groenveld, Geetha Reddy, Daniel Heath, and Ken Slattery, among others, with many having their first professional production through PlayGround.

In support of these writers and the body of work they have generated over the past eighteen years, and to encourage collaboration between local filmmakers, actors, writers and technicians, PlayGround launched the PlayGround Film Festival. The first festival was presented in May 2012, with screenings at Thick House (San Francisco), Rialto Elmwood (Berkeley), Zaentz Media Center (Berkeley), and 32Ten Studios (San Rafael), and featuring Jonathan Luskin’s Ecce Homo, Katie May’s Etymology of Zero, Kenn Rabin’s Reunion, Daniel Heath’s Wednesday, and Tom Swift’s The Beginning, winner of the inaugural People’s Choice Award.

Since its founding in 1994, PlayGround has staged more than 600 original ten-minute plays by 175 early-development writers, contributing towards its status as the leading developer of short stage pieces in the Bay Area.  Through The Best of PlayGround Festival alone, PlayGround has premiered 110 original short plays by 57 Bay Area playwrights and has presented staged readings of 41 new full-length plays commissioned by PlayGround.  In the process of staging those works, PlayGround has helped to identify some of the most promising new local writers and, at the same time, has engendered a true community of theatre artists by bringing together hundreds of Bay Area actors, directors and playwrights.  Most, if not all, of the participating writers receive the first professional staging of their work through PlayGround, thereby formally introducing these new talents to the professional theatre community.

PlayGround’s alumni have gone on to win not only local but also national honors for short and full-length work, including recognition at the Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre Company’s Global Age Project, Guthrie Theatre, Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, and The Drama League’s New Directors-New Works series.  Works have been premiered at numerous theatres throughout the Bay Area, including: Theatre Rhinoceros, San Jose Stage Company, Just Theater, and SF Playhouse. Of particular note is Aaron Loeb’s Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party which, following its premiere at SF Playhouse in 2008, received a sold-out run at the 2009 New York International Fringe Festival (named “Outstanding Play”) and its off-Broadway debut in 2010.

Barry Stone, owner of Dances with Light, made his first film in 1979. He has professional credits as an actor, composer and director in the theatre, and as a producer, director, writer, composer, actor, cinematographer and editor in film and television. His directorial credits include four episodes of the British hit series rENFORD rEJECTS, filmed in London for Nickelodeon and Channel Four, "All Ways Welcome", produced and directed for the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, and numerous commercials, music videos and corporate films. Barry has been the cinematographer on forty-seven episodes of series television, six MOWs, numerous commercials and twenty-one feature films, notably Lie with me, Mouth to Mouth, Cherish, Triggermen, Pale Saints, Paris France, Rude, Dumbarton Bridge,  The Perfect Son and Dream with the Fishes.  Recently Barry produced and directed SNIFF, a feature length drama / documentary hybrid with Amanda Plummer, Neil Morrissey (and a lot of great dogs).

For guidelines and a complete list of eligible plays, visit http://playground-sf.org/filmfest.  For more information, contact PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann at jim@playground-sf.org or (415) 992-6677.