Tuesday, December 01, 2015

PlayGround's BIG NEWS!

As we mark #GivingTuesday today and the official beginning of the year-end giving season, we’re pleased to share some very big PlayGround news!

PlayGround has now taken on the master lease for Thick House!!!

Our plan is to improve the facilities, expand our programming, and ensure the continuation of Thick House as a resource for the greater Bay Area theatre community! This new lease also comes just in time for our twentieth annual PlayGround Festival of New Works, the Bay Area’s largest showcase of new plays and new writers with more than 44 performances and staged readings over 6 weeks in June-July at Thick House, home to our San Francisco programs since 2008!

With the acquisition of the master lease at Thick House, we will be able to continue our popular Monday Night series at the incomparable Berkeley Rep and have secure, long-term theatre SPACE for our festivals and new play productions! With Thick House, we can also expand our role as a hub by facilitating and curating an affordable, renovated venue for dozens of other new play producers and hundreds of local artists.

“…And this chair. That’s all I need…” Steve Martin in The Jerk

This year, when you support any of the exciting programs happening as a result of our new master lease, your gift can make a deep and lasting impact… and possibly score you a chair! For all donors of $2,000 or more, we’ll proudly recognize your support benefitting the entire Bay Area theatre community with a brass nameplate on one of the 80 new theatre seats we’re installing at Thick House next year!!

Please read on to learn about three exciting ways that you can help the entire Bay Area new plays community!

I. The 20th Annual PlayGround Festival: Two decades!! Thank you! It is a testament to your support that the PlayGround Festival of New Works (which includes our iconic Best of PlayGround series) has flourished through the economic rollercoaster of the past two decades. It is also a sign of how much this program is needed.

We are one of the very few organizations that comprehensively invests in first-time and early-career local playwrights, and the Festival is often the first chance for these new writers to receive a full production of their work. We maximize that learning process by partnering playwrights with expert professional directors, actors, designers, stage managers, and technicians. As such, the Festival is a crucial step in the development of new voices for the theatre.

The PlayGround Festival provides the training and experience new writers need in order to join the cadre of award-winning, nationally-produced alumni we’ve helped to foster so far.

In the past, we have often been unsure when/where we would be able to produce the Festival. Our access to theatre space was out of our hands. Many of our colleagues and partners have faced the same uncertainty. Now PlayGround can ensure our Festival and give that same long-term stability to other producers and independent artists! PlayGround is a hub and Thick House is the next frontier in our efforts to strengthen the fabric of our entire theatre community.

II. Renovations and Renaming of Thick House: Do you love the productions and readings you see at Thick House, but you’re not a fan of the heat or folding chairs? You’re not alone! PlayGround will be renovating Thick House at the end of 2016 with new air conditioning, seats, lights, signage… and a new name! The renovated and renamed theatre will re-open mid-January 2017 and you are definitely on the list for our giant re-launch celebration!

If you or someone you know might be interested in sponsoring the re-naming of the space, please call me at (415) 992-6677.

Thick House renovations will provide a more comfortable, better equipped space that will benefit nearly a dozen small theatre companies, hundreds of independent artists, and thousands of theatre-goers each year. In partnership with local companies such as Crowded Fire, Golden Thread, 3Girls, foolsFURY and Playwrights Foundation, we will build on the venue’s reputation as a center for bold new works by diverse and often underrepresented artists, presented for the fullest spectrum of audiences, drawn from throughout the Bay Area and beyond.

To fully renovate the space, we need to raise at least $200,000. We have started this process with requests to several foundations and a 100% commitment from the PlayGround Board of Directors but we will need your help as well. When you play a role in our renovation efforts, you will benefit PlayGround, all of the artists and companies who call Thick House home - and yourself! Air conditioning and comfortable chairs…sounds pretty great, right?

III. The Artist Access Fund: Theatre artists need affordable space in which to develop and produce their work and this has become increasingly challenging during the most recent real estate boom in the Bay Area. Costs have skyrocketed and a large number of performance venues have been lost, converted to commercial use, or taken over by a single producing company. In this environment, Thick House has stood out as a beacon, offering affordable space for hundreds of independent artists and numerous small companies over the past seventeen years. PlayGround is deeply committed to ensuring Thick House will remain accessible and affordable for Bay Area artists and companies for years to come.

That is why PlayGround is creating the Artist Access Fund, to provide subsidized rent at Thick House for small companies and independent artists who otherwise couldn’t afford to see their works produced. We seek to raise $25,000 to launch this program and provide up to twenty weeks per year of rent-free or below market rent.

So there you have it: our 20th festival, a renovated and renamed theater, and a fund to help small companies and independent artists.  All in all, not too bad for a year’s work!  But we truly could not have come so far without you. Thank you! Please join us again by giving generously to one or all of these efforts.



Many thanks,

Jim Kleinmann
Artistic Director

P.S. Please join us on this global day of giving, #GivingTuesday, by giving to the greatest extent of your capacity. And if you’re able to give a gift of $2,000 or more, we would love to memorialize your gift with a plaque on one of the 80 new theatre seats at Thick House!

P.P.S. If you or someone you know is interested in sponsoring the re-naming of Thick House, please contact jim@playground-sf.org or call (415) 992-6677.

P.P.P.S. Make your gift by December 31 and receive your invitation to the Year-End Donors Reception taking place at Berkeley Rep on Monday, January 18, prior to the Monday Night PlayGround performance.

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