Thursday, August 25, 2016

2016-17 Monday Night PlayGround Season Announcement

PlayGround has announced its schedule and partnerships for the 2016-17 season of Monday Night PlayGround, the Bay Area’s celebrated short play staged reading series now entering its twenty-third season and fourteenth year performing at Berkeley Rep. The season will kick off at Berkeley Rep on Monday evening, September 19, with the third annual “Alumni Night,” and continue on third Mondays through March. Earlier this summer, PlayGround invited more than eighty alumni playwrights, representing some of the Bay Area’s most distinguished new playwrights from the past two decades, including Aaron Loeb, Lauren Yee, Geetha Reddy and Garret Jon Groenveld, to generate original short plays inspired by the topic “Potrero Hill: Past, Present & Future” as part of the Potrero Nuevo Project, being developed in conjunction with the Potrero Dogpatch Merchants Association (PDMA) and Potrero Hill Archives Project (PHAP). The top six alumni plays will be performed in PlayGround’s signature Monday Night PlayGround script-in-hand staged reading style, performed by two dozen leading Bay Area actors, on September 19. Also that evening, PlayGround will introduce the recently-selected 2016-17 PlayGround Writers Pool and Resident Playwrights. Advance tickets for Alumni Night are $15 (7-event subscriptions start at just $70 and include admission to a private Subscribers-only reception before the show) and can be purchased online at

Last October, PlayGround signed a long-term lease on the Thick House theatre, located in the heart of San Francisco’s Potrero Hill neighborhood and where PlayGround has produced its festival and numerous co-productions over the past nine years. The theatre will be temporarily closed beginning November 21 for renovations and the theatre will re-open mid-January 2017 with a new name, air conditioning, seats, lights and more. The six short plays from September’s “Alumni Night” will be further developed and presented together as an integrated, evening-length new theatre work, The Potrero Nuevo Project, from January 26 to February 19 to recognize PlayGround’s deepening relationship to the Potrero Hill community and help celebrate the grand re-opening of the theatre. Potrero Hill has a rich and storied past and a complex future to mine for theatrical material. A former Native American hunting ground, the region was named “Potrero Nuevo” or new pasture by the Spanish missionaries in the 1700s, later granted to the ill-fated de Haro twins by the Mexican government in the 1840s, and served as home to such notables as Lawrence Ferlinghetti and SF mayor Art Agnos. Today, the neighborhood is at the epicenter of San Francisco's change and transformation, struggling to find the balance between old and new, between longtime residents - including many artists - and high-priced housing or commercial development. For more information on the Potrero Nuevo Project, visit

Each month, PlayGround announces a topic to the thirty-six playwrights in the PlayGround Writers Pool and the writers have four-and-a-half days to generate original ten-minute scripts inspired by the topic. Recent topics have included: “A Very Hitchcock Christmas,” “Women at Work” (developed in partnership with WomenArts), and “The Water Plays” (developed in partnership with Planet Earth Arts and Stanford University). The top six plays from each month 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-third 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.

The complete schedule for the 2016-17 Monday Night PlayGround series is:
September 19 – Alumni Night & Season Kick-Off
October 17 – Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival
November 21 – Musical Theatre Night
December 19 – Holiday Extravaganza
January 16 – S.T.E.M. Night
February 20 – Social Justice Night
March 20 – WomenArts Night

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 Best of PlayGround Festival, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund, among others. To date, PlayGround has supported more than 210 local playwrights in the development and staging of 770 original short plays and 61 new full-length plays, including more than 21 that have since premiered in the Bay Area. PlayGround’s 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, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, Internationalists Playwriting Prize, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others.  Their works have been premiered at numerous theatres throughout the Bay Area, including: A.C.T. Costume Shop, Shotgun Players, Impact Theatre, Theatre Rhinoceros, San Jose Stage Company, Just Theater, and San Francisco Playhouse. For more information, visit

WHAT: Monday Night PlayGround “Alumni Night,” featuring performances of the top six plays by PlayGround alumni inspired by the topic “Potrero Hill: Past, Present & Future” and presented as script-in-hand staged readings by some of the Bay Area’s leading directors and actors.

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

WHEN:  Monday, September 19, 2016 at 8pm

Additional Dates
October 17, 2016 – Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival
November 21, 2016 – Musical Theatre Night
December 19, 2016 – Holiday Extravaganza
January 16, 2017 – S.T.E.M. Night
February 20, 2017 – Social Justice Night
March 20, 2017 – WomenArts Night

TICKETS: Advance online purchase - $15 (general admission), $10 (student), $20 (priority seating). At the door, subject to availability - $20 (general admission). 7-event Monday Night PlayGround subscriptions start at just $70 (includes invitation to a Subscribers-only Reception before the show on Sep 19). For more information about Monday Night PlayGround and Alumni Night, call (415) 992-6677 or visit

Friday, August 19, 2016

PlayGround Company in the News Aug-16

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

Stephanie Prentice is a board member and new casting director at TheatreFirst, led by new Artistic Director Jon Tracy. She is currently co-writing music with Reggie D. White for TheatreFirst's new show, VS., written by Cleavon Smith, opening in November. Also featured in TheatreFirst’s 2016-17 season is BENEATH THE TALL TREE, co-written by Adrienne Walters and Jeffrey Lo, coming in February 2017.

Stephanie Prentice and Michael Barrett Austin will be appearing in Baker Street, the Sherlock Holmes musical, at 42nd Street Moon Nov. 2-20 2016.

Graham Smith opened his show DEAL WITH THE DRAGON at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival which runs through August 27. He’s at OSF rehearsing the new Dorothy for THE WIZ, who begins wearing the silver slippers starting August 17. Then he’s back in SF workshopping a new musical about the AIDS Quilt which has free public showing at Custom Made Theatre on August 26. Please come!

Robert Sicular begins rehearsals this month for Marin Theater Company's production of Tracy Letts' Pulitzer Prize winning play, August: Osage County. Previews begin September 8th.

Daniel Heath's first full-length play, the choose-your-own-adventure comedy FORKING, is being remounted by Pianofight with an all-new cast and revised script (it's now set in the 1990's because Barack Obama's health-care law broke the plot). Remaining shows Saturday, August 13th, Weds August 17th, and Friday August 19th.

In August, Patricia Cotter’s June Anne Baker Prize commission 1980 (Or Why I'm Voting For John Anderson) just finished a week long workshop which ended in three public readings at The Cape Cod Theatre Project in Falmouth, Mass. So basically...she just wants to give the biggest shout out to PlayGround, and to the June Anne Baker Prize. Thank you PlayGround for the support of the play and of the playwright!

Davern Wright is performing in San Francisco Shakespeare Festival's free touring production of THE WINTER'S TALE, now until Oct. 2.  Visit for tour schedule.

Nancy Fishman spent a week at the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods,, a writer's retreat in Soquel, CA and she highly recommends it to others.

Douglas Giorgis will be playing Edward Rutledge in 1776 from October 7 to November 5 with CCMT at the Dean Lescher Center in Walnut Creek.

L. Zephyr's play, LET THE GAMES BEGIN, will be performed on Aug 26th as part of the 3Girls Theatre LezWrites! showcase.

Roberta D’Alois, Artistic Director of Jump! Theatre has received word that Jump! has been chosen as one of A.C.T.’s Community Partners for 2016-17. Jump! will present a series of new works at A.C.T.’s Costume Shop in March 2017.

Mary Baird is currently playing Maria at Marin Shakes closes Aug 21.

Teddy Spencer is currently performing in the UK Premiere of WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE'S LONG LOST FIRST PLAY (ABRIDGED) with the Reduced Shakespeare Company at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. After Edinburgh, Teddy returns to the Bay to perform the title role in MACBETH with the Arabian Shakespeare Festival.

Cindy Goldfield is in rehearsal for It Shoulda Been You at Center Rep in Walnut Creek.

Tracy Ward directed The Thrush and the Woodpecker for Custom Made, featuring Stacy Ross and running through August 27 at 533 Sutter.

On August 18, Ex Nihilo Theater presented TERRA INCOGNITA Episode Five: Unfinished Business, written by Jennifer Lynne Roberts, at Octopus Literary Salon in Oakland.

Tanya Grove's short play Where There's a Will is part of SF Theatre Pub's Pint-sized Play Festival. That's in the bar at PianoFight (144 Taylor, S.F.). Performances are free, the food is good, and they have a full bar! August 15, 22, 23, 29, and 30. Shows start at 8, but come early if you want a table.

PlayGround's first commissioned play, Garret Jon Groenveld's MISSIVES, was recently released as a podcast recording by the Parsnip Ship.  Give it a listen! iTunes, Soundcloud, The Parsnip Ship

Madeleine Butler's 10-minute play A DOG'S LIFE was produced as a script-in-hand staged reading as part of the PCSF Playoffs Round 3 at the Shelton Theatre on July 31. The play was originally developed as a 5-minute piece for a PlayGround class taught by Daniel Heath.

Ken Sonkin is currently directing WILD BOY by Oliver Goldstick at Dragon Theatre in Redwood City, July 29 - August 21, 2016. ( He is also directing Michael Patrick Gaffney in his original one-man show, THE OLDEST LIVING CATER WAITER. SF Fringe Festival — Piano Fight: Main Stage.  September 9 - 24, 2016.

Rachel Bublitz attended the Wyoming Theater Festival last month where her play Ripped was read and she taught an introductory class on playwriting. Ripped will receive a local staged reading with San Francisco Playhouse on October 24th, directed by Claire Rice.

Rosie Hallett is playing Perdita in the SF Shakes production of THE WINTER'S TALE. She'll be living in Paris from October through December, working with an English language theater -- if you're coming through, let her know, and she'll take you out to the best bar in town!

Mark Routhier has moved to New Orleans where he will be the Literary Director for The NOLA Project.  He is presently directing the world premiere of Gabrielle Reisman's FLOOD CITY which will open September 1st.  Upcoming projects include directing Eugene O'Neill's Beyond the Horizon at Loyola University and Taylor Mac's Hir at the Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

2016-17 Directing Apprenticeships

PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, is now looking for the next generation of great directors. PlayGround will select 3-4 diverse aspiring and/or early-career directors to apprentice with PlayGround during the upcoming Monday Night PlayGround season, kicking off September 19 at Berkeley Rep, and continuing through March 20, 2017. Directing Apprentices will each assistant direct one short play per month, September through December, as part of the monthly Monday night staged reading series alongside leading Bay Area directors (5pm-6:30pm rehearsal, 6:30pm-7:30pm tech, 8pm-9:30pm performance). Apprentices will then receive a directing slot within one of the final three rounds of the season (Jan-Mar). In addition, directing apprentices will have the opportunity to listen in on the monthly script selection, participate as a panelist during one of the final three rounds, and observe some of PlayGround’s other new play incubator programs. 

To be eligible, candidates must reside within the nine counties of the San Francisco Bay Area, be at least 18 years of age, and be able to commit to a 5-7 month program. Directing experience is not required but, in the absence of past theatre directing credits, candidate should be able to provide evidence of a strong commitment to the field and experience in another theatrical discipline (acting, playwriting, design, stage management).

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume and three references to by 11:59pm September 9, 2016. In-person interviews will be scheduled for select candidates September 12-14 and finalists will be announced by September 15. Women and artists of color encouraged to apply.