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 http://playground-sf.org/monday.
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 http://playground-sf.org/topic.
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 http://playground-sf.org.
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
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 www.PlayGround-sf.org/monday.