Friday, May 03, 2013

PlayGround Announces Third Film Fest Competition

On the heels of opening of the second PlayGround Film Festival this week, PlayGround announced today the guidelines for the third annual PlayGround Film Festival, to be produced in association with Dances with Light and local filmmaker Barry Stone. 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 116 award-winning short plays originally premiered in the celebrated Best of PlayGround Festival. The films will be screened in San Francisco, Berkeley, Palo Alto and San Rafael as part of the 18th annual PlayGround Festival of New Works, taking place in May 2014. The deadline for completed applications is August 23, 2013. Guidelines and copies of the eligible plays are available online at

Since 1994, PlayGround has been a leading incubator for some of the Bay Area’s most promising new playwrights, premiering 116 original short plays by 61 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 48 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, Lauren Yee, Katie May, 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 nineteen 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 in Berkeley, San Francisco, and 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. The second PlayGround Film Festival opened on May 1, 2013 at the Rialto Cinemas Elmwood and will be screened in Berkeley, San Francisco, Palo Alto and San Rafael through May 25. The film festival features Jonathan Luskin’s Aegis, Sean Owen’s Climax, Kirk Shimano’s Miss Finknagle Succumbs to Chaos, Geetha Reddy’s Obit, Garret Jon Groenveld’s The Secret Life of a Hotel Room, and Diane Sampson’s Undone.

Since its founding in 1994, PlayGround has staged more than 650 original ten-minute plays by 185 early-development writers, contributing towards its status as the leading developer of short stage pieces in the Bay Area.  Through the PlayGround Festival, PlayGround has premiered 116 original short plays by 61 Bay Area playwrights and has presented staged readings of 48 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  For more information, contact PlayGround Artistic Director Jim Kleinmann at or (415) 992-6677.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

PlayGround Company in the News May-13

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

Lisa Morse, Stacy Ross, Elena Wright, Carla Pantoja, George Maguire and Nick Sholley can be seen on the big screen in the 2nd PLAYGROUND FILM FESTIVAL, featuring six short films by Garret Groenveld, Jonathan Luskin, Sean Owens, Geetha Reddy, Diane Sampson and Kirk Shimano, and running through May 25 in Berkeley, San Francisco, Palo Alto and San Rafael.

Eric Fraisher Hayes is directing the live television broadcast of Rod Serling's REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT for Role Players Ensemble opening on April 26th. 

Reggie D. White is associate directing a production of THE DEAD GIRL at Alter Theater in San Rafaeland choreographing the Teen Stage Production of ALICE IN WONDERLAND at Berkeley Playhouse. 

Michael Asberry is going into the closing weekend of our production of MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS with the Sacramento Theatre Company. We close on 5/5. 

Carolyn Doyle has been nominated for an SF Bay Area Theatre Critcs Circle Award for Featured Female for A LIE OF THE MIND with Boxcar Theatre. Winners announced May 6th. 

Michael Barrett Austin will be appearing in HANGING GEORGIA, a new ensemble play with music about Georgia O'Keefe, at The Pear Avenue Theatre May 23-June 9th. 

Danielle Thys will be featured as Maive  - the mom of a high-functioning teen with autism who up-ends his family, mockumentary style in THE ROCKET FAMILY CHRONICLES, as part of the Sprout Film Festival at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City - May 31, and June 1 & 2. 

Alex Moggridge is currently at the Long Wharf Theatre rehearsing CLYBOURNE PARK.

Gwen Loeb in currently in THE ARSONISTS at the Aurora through May 12th.  She will be in Diane Sampson's PlayGround workshop of THE TALE OF THE SLEEPING CUTIE on May 22nd. She will also be in the all-female GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS at Shotgun on 9/2 and 9/9. 

Gabriel Grilli is closing THE LANGUAGE ARCHIVE with Symmetry Theatre, and next up is REEFER MADDNESS at San Jose Stage. 

Lauren Yee will workshop her play SAMSARA at the O'Neill Conference this summer, directed by Seth Bockley. She was also a finalist for this year's Sundance Theatre Lab.

Erin Bregman will be having a workshop and reading of an as-yet untitled play at The Brick Theater in Brooklyn, NY on May 20th. 

Robert Sicular is still in Washington, DC, performing at the Shakespeare Theatre in the Hero/Traitor Rep: CORIOLANUS and Schiller's WALLENSTEIN.  Shows continue through June 2nd.

Aimee Suzara's play, A HISTORY OF THE BODY, performs one night only at the Oakland Asian Cultural Center (388 9th St #290 Oakland, CA) on May 11 at 7:30. For more info and tickets, visit

2013 Young Playwrights Project Finalists!

PlayGround is thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2013 Young Playwrights Project and Contest. PlayGround invited aspiring writers and theatre artists at the high school level to write and submit their own 10-minute plays inspired by the topic:  (Re) Making of a Legend. The four selected plays will each receive a professional staged reading, presented as a “curtain raiser” before select performances of the 17th Best of PlayGround Festival at Thick House in May. PlayGround invites audiences to join in welcoming these bold new voices to the stage. 

The selected plays/ finalists are: ARIADNE’S THREAD by Hilary Buffum (SOTA '14), MARRIAGE, ON THE ROCKS by Louise Newlin (Urban '13), PITCH SLAP by Jake Rosenberg (JCHS of the Bay '14), and FLOWERSHOP by Carly Van Liere (Redwood High '14). Join us May 16-19 as we celebrate the work of these emerging young writers as a part of this year’s Best of PlayGround.

WHAT:          Young Playwrights Project Staged Readings
WHEN:          Thursday, May 16 @ 8pm / ARIADNE’S THREAD by Hilary Buffum
                        Friday, May 17 @ 8pm / MARRIAGE, ON THE ROCKS by Louise Newlin
                        Saturday, May 18 @ 8pm / PITCH SLAP by Jake Rosenberg
                        Sunday, May 20 @ 7pm / FLOWERSHOP by Carly Van Liere
WHERE:       Thick House, 1695 18th Street, San Francisco, CA

About the Playwrights:
Hilary Buffum is a junior in the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts Theatre Department. She is interested in the way that theatre can be used to heal and teach conscious communication. She intends to continue in theatre in college as well as science or drama/dance/music therapy.

Louise Newlin is a senior at The Urban School of San Francisco. She is off to college in the fall and is thrilled to be attending the NYU Stern School of Business.

Jake Rosenberg is a junior at JCHS of the Bay. This is Jake's third produced work. His first play, ‘The Scotland Company’, was performed earlier this year by the Thunderbird Theater Company, and his second, ‘The Big Ass Russian Novel’, was performed as part of Marin Theater Company’s Young Playwrights Festival.

Carly Van Liere is a junior at Redwood High School in Larkspur. She has performed in Marilyn Izdebski, Stapleton, and Redwood's EPiC productions. She has always loved to write. Besides theater, Carly’s interests include hiking, spending time with friends and family, and singing. Flowershop is Carly’s first original play.

About the Young Playwrights Project:
High school students from the Bay Area nine counties were invited to submit original short scripts inspired by the assigned topic, (Re)Making of a Legend. The same topic was also assigned to PlayGround’s professional writers pool members for the March 18 round of Monday Night PlayGround in residence at Berkeley Rep.

“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 fifth year of the Bay Area-wide Young Playwrights Project Contest.  “This is a tremendous opportunity for creatively-inclined high school students to try their hand at writing in the ten-minute form with the possibility of seeing their work realized by Bay Area theatre professionals,” added PlayGround Education Coordinator CĂ©line Delcayre.

About PlayGround:
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 full-length plays through the company’s Commissioning Initiative and New Play Production Fund, 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 at

For more information, visit  For more information on the Young Playwrights Project, visit