Monday, February 23, 2015

PlayGround & WomenArts Shine Spotlight on Gender Parity


“I don’t want to hear from anybody that there isn’t, or hasn’t been, a real gender problem in the American theater.” - Theresa Rebeck (Broadway playwright). This March, PlayGround and WomenArts will partner to launch “WomenArts Night,” a special Monday Night PlayGround evening featuring six short plays that will celebrate women in the arts and exemplify gender parity in theatre. The inaugural “WomenArts Night” will take place at 8pm on Monday, March 16 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre.  Several of the short plays from that evening will also be included in WomenArts’ free Support Women Artists Now Day (SWAN Day) event on Saturday, March 28 at 3 p.m. at Ashby Stage.  Tickets and discount flex passes for Monday Night PlayGround can be purchased online at http://playground-sf.org/boxoffice.

WomenArts, an international advocacy group for women artists, approached PlayGround because of its long-standing commitment to gender parity, both on and off stage.  Half of PlayGround’s company of writers, actors and directors are women, and PlayGround has been recognized with a 50/50 Applause Award for its leadership in producing plays by women.  In 2014, women were 50% of the writers selected for PlayGround’s season while women were only 26% of the writers produced by all Bay Area theatres (Source: Counting Actors Project). “PlayGround has helped launch many of the best playwrights in the Bay Area, and they are proactive about cultivating women writers and directors. We are especially excited about collaborating on a Monday Night PlayGround because the ten-minute play format is so much fun for the artists and audiences,” commented WomenArts Executive Director Martha Richards. 

Each month, PlayGround announces a topic to the forty-eight playwrights in the PlayGround Company and the writers have four-and-a-half days to generate original ten-minute scripts inspired by the topic. The top six plays are rehearsed for just one-and-a-half hours each and presented as script-in-hand staged readings at Monday Night PlayGround, now celebrating its twenty-first year. PlayGround audiences get to enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes perspective, with a free Pre-Performance Discussion at 7:10pm.  Audience members can also experience the thrill of being a producer through the monthly People’s Choice Awards, helping to determine which plays and playwrights go on for consideration in PlayGround’s annual showcase, the Best of PlayGround Festival.

PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, annual PlayGround Festival of New Works, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund. To date, PlayGround has supported more than 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of over 700 original short plays and 54 new full-length plays, with 3 more commissions currently in development. For more information, visit http://playground-sf.org.

WomenArts (Co-Producer) is a non-profit advocacy group for women artists that facilitates the annual world-wide Support Women Artists Now (SWAN) celebrations in March and April.  Currently celebrating its twentieth anniversary, WomenArts created Support Women Artists Now Day (SWAN Day) as a new international holiday in 2008.  SWAN Day has inspired people all over the world to donate to women artists and to create events celebrating women artists on SWAN Day (the last Saturday of March) and throughout March and April.  There have been over 1,200 SWAN events in 24 countries over the past seven years.  Everyone is welcome to participate by creating or attending SWAN events or by making donations to their favorite women artists. No applications or fees are required.  For more information, please visit: www.WomenArts.org

WHAT:  Occurring monthly, October-March, the popular Monday Night PlayGround series presents staged readings of thematically-connected short works by the Bay Area’s best new playwrights each month at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, staged by leading local professional actors and directors.  For March’s performance, PlayGround is partnering with WomenArts to present an evening of short plays celebrating women’s stories and women in the arts (the topic will be announced on Friday, March 6).

WHERE: Berkeley Repertory Theatre, 2025 Addison St, Berkeley, CA

WHEN: Monday, March 16, 2015 at 8pm 

TICKETS: $15 general admission ($20, priority seating) in advance, $20 at the door.  Pay-What-You-Can at the door beginning one hour before the performance, subject to availability.  4-admission priority seating flex passes are just $60.  For more information about the Monday Night PlayGround series, call (415) 992-6677 or visit www.PlayGround-sf.org.

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