Friday, April 22, 2016

2016 PlayGround Festival Selections Announced!

PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, has selected four bold new full-length plays by Bay Area playwrights to be developed and presented as public staged readings over two weekends, June 11-12 and June 18-19, as part of the 20th annual PlayGround Festival of New Works at San Francisco’s Thick House. The plays are: Julianne Jigour’s BRIGHT SHINING SEA, Patricia Cotter’s 1980 (OR Why I’m Voting For John Anderson), William Bivins’ SCAPEGOAT, and Victoria Chong Der’s LIKE ME. The PlayGround Festival includes more than 44 performances and readings over a six-week period, June 2-July 10, 2016, including the Festival Staged Readings, Best of PlayGround 20, and the world premieres of Katie May’s Abominable and Ruben Grijalva’s Value Over Replacement. All festival staged readings are free (suggested donation at the door) though advance reservations are recommended. Tickets, including All-Festival Passes starting at just $80, are available through the Box Office at 415-992-6677 or online at

Over the past two decades, the PlayGround Festival has served as a launching pad for some of the Bay Area’s most significant new writers. And with the inclusion of new full-length plays in development in 2003, more than eighteen past festival selection have gone on to premiere at theatres in the Bay Area and around the country, including Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party by Aaron Loeb, Crevice by Lauren Yee, and The Empty Nesters by Garret Jon Groenveld, with three more this spring/summer  Whale’s Wake by Amy Sass, Abominable by Katie May, and Value Over Replacement by Ruben Grijalva.


Bright Shining Sea by Julianne Jigour
Directed by Jeffrey Lo
June 11 12pm and June 18 4pm

In Bright Shining Sea, six characters navigate personal losses that the Earth echoes back to them. A couple struggles with the grief of a third miscarriage. A young farmer calls it quits and moves back in with his therapist mother. A scientist races to complete her research on ocean acidification as her memory begins to falter. Her teenage daughter knows the world will never be the same. A Planet Earth Arts new play commission.

1980 (Or Why I’m Voting For John Anderson) by Patricia Cotter
Directed by Molly Noble
June 11 3pm and June 18 1pm

It’s a Presidential election year and one candidate has decided to run as an independent and challenge party politics. As the Boston campaign office struggles to find traction, a new arrival will throw into question everything they thought they knew and what they’re willing to do to win. Set in 1980, it’s a play ripped from today’s headlines and the ongoing fight for the American vote.

Scapegoat by William Bivins
Directed by Eric Reid
June 12 11am and June 19 3pm

Clive is a struggling comic book artist whose series, Scapegoat, once celebrated as a cunning metaphor for the African American experience, is now running thin. When his friend is shot by police, Clive finds renewed purpose for Scapegoat. But as sales soar, violence erupts, and Clive begins to question the role of art in the pursuit of justice.

Like Me by Victoria Chong Der
Directed by Tracy Ward
June 12 2pm and June 19 12pm

A bold new work on sex trafficking in Oakland and its youngest victims, told through the stories of four girls, their friendships, rivalries, and struggle for freedom.


William Bivins’s (Scapegoat) productions include The Apotheosis of Pig Husbandry, The Education of a Rake,  The Position, The Afterlife of the Mind, Pulp Scripture, and Ransom, Texas. He has won, among others, the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Original Script and the Hyperion Project Original Play Competition. He is a two-time recipient of the PlayGround Emerging Playwright Award and is currently a PlayGround Resident.

Patricia Cotter (1980, or Why I’m Voting For John Anderson) is an Emmy Award winning, Groundling Theater Alum. Her plays and musicals include The Rules of Comedy, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival (Heideman Award finalist), The Surrogate, 1980 (Or Why I’m Voting For John Anderson, The Break Up Notebook, and Ladykillers. Patricia was the recipient of 2014 June Anne Baker Prize.

Victoria Chong Der (Like Me) has written for several Bay Area companies and received a 2014 PlayGround Fellowship. Victoria is a PlayGround Resident Playwright and a member of the Playwrights Foundation’s Resident Playwright Initiative. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Oberlin College.

A California native, Julianne Jigour (Bright Shining Sea) has had staged readings and productions in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Aspen, and New York. For her screenwriting, she has received funding from the Steeltown Entertainment Project and the Sloan Foundation. Julianne earned her MFA in dramatic writing from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a member of the PlayGround-LA Writers Pool.


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, PlayGround Festival of New Works, Best of PlayGround, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund and, PlayGround’s newest initiative, the PlayGround Film Festival. To date, PlayGround has supported nearly 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of over 750 original short plays and 61 new full-length plays, including more than eighteen that have since premiered in the Bay Area. PlayGround alumni have gone on to win local, national and international honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, Source Festival, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, Internationalists Playwriting Prize, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others.  More information at

WHAT: PlayGround Festival of New Works Staged Readings, featuring four bold new plays by Bay Area playwrights, each presented twice over two weekends. This year’s selections include: BRIGHT SHINING SEA by Julianne Jigour, 1980 (Or Why I’m Voting For John Anderson) by Patricia Cotter, Scapegoat by William Bivins, and Like Me by Victoria Chong Der.

WHERE: Thick House , 1695 18th Street, San Francisco, CA

WHEN:  June 11-12 and June 18-19, 2016.

Date                      Time                      Event                    Play                                        Playwright
6/11/2016            12:00PM              Reading #1          Bright Shining Sea            Julianne Jigour
6/11/2016            3:00PM                 Reading #2          1980                                       Patricia Cotter
6/12/2016            11:00AM              Reading #3          Scapegoat                           William Bivins
6/12/2016            2:00PM                 Reading #4          Like Me                                Victoria Chong Der
6/18/2016            1:00PM                 Reading #5          1980                                       Patricia Cotter
6/18/2016            4:00PM                 Reading #6          Bright Shining Sea            Julianne Jigour
6/19/2016            12:00PM              Reading #7          Like Me                                Victoria Chong Der
6/19/2016            3:00PM                 Reading #8          Scapegoat                           William Bivins

TICKETS: All festival staged readings are free and open to the public (suggested donation at the door). All-Festival Passes, which include reserved seating for all festival events, start at just $80. For more information about the PlayGround Festival of New Works, call (415) 992-6677 or visit


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