Thursday, March 16, 2017

PlayGround Gala Update

PlayGround is thrilled to announce our growing line-up for the 2017 Gala fundraiser taking place on Monday, April 3 at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater. America’s most produced living playwright this season, Lauren Gunderson (“I and You”), will now be joined by long-time Bay Area theatre critic Chad Jones as our interviewer for the evening with local favorite Reggie D. White, recently seen in Gunderson’s off-Broadway production of I and You and the World Premiere of her now famous Exit, Pursued By A Bear,as Master of Ceremonies.

Hosted by Event Honorary Co-Chairs Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, the evening features a reception and silent auction, intimate dinner and “fireside chat” with Gunderson and Jones, and presentation of the 2017 PlayGround Playwright Awards. A highlight of this year’s auction will be two coveted tickets for the upcoming Hamilton Broadway tour at the Orpheum, available exclusively to gala attendees. All proceeds from the gala benefit PlayGround’s award-winning new play incubator programs and newly-renovated Potrero Stage: The PlayGround Center for New Plays. For tickets ($300-$1,000) and more information, visit http://playground-sf.org/benefit. Unable to attend but want to support PlayGround's efforts? Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution and/or help underwrite artist tickets!

"Lauren Gunderson is a local treasure with national clout, whose fierce voice is lifting up the often invisible experience of women in our history and world." –Mina Morita, Artistic Director of Crowded Fire Theatre. The most produced living playwright in America of 2016-17, Gunderson’s accolades include winning the Dramatist Guild’s Lanford Wilson Award and the American Theatre Critics Association’s Steinberg New Play Award, being a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and receiving the Mellon Foundation’s 3-Year Residency with Marin Theatre Company. Her work has been commissioned, produced and developed at companies across the US including South Cost Rep, The Kennedy Center, The O’Neill, The Denver Center, San Francisco Playhouse, Marin Theatre, Synchronicity, Olney Theatre, Berkeley Rep, Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks, Crowded Fire and more. “Lauren's work never fails to leap off the page - it crackles with whip smart dialogue as it draws attention to its subject matter, which is always timely and meaningful. But perhaps my favorite thing about Lauren’s writing is how female-forward it is. She tells stories that put women at the center of her narratives, something our culture desperately needs more of right now.” – Madeline Oldham, Director of Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep.

Reggie D. White is a multidisciplinary theatre artist and a PlayGround Company Member. He is a TITAN Award winner, the founding recipient of the RHE Artistic Fellowship, and is currently a TCG Fox Fellow in residence at Berkeley Rep. Last year, he was seen in Lauren Gunderson's I and You off-Broadway. He also appeared in the World Premiere of Gunderson's Exit, Pursued By A Bear at Crowded Fire Theater Company. Reggie and Lauren have also collaborated on several other pieces in various stages of development.

Chad Jones has covered theater in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1992. Before becoming the theater critic for the Bay Area News Group-East Bay, a chain of daily newspapers that includes the Oakland Tribune, the Tri-Valley Herald and the San Mateo County Times, he was chief theater writer for the Bay Area Reporter. Chad was with the Bay Area News Group for more than 10 years. For three years he was the San Francisco correspondent for the London-based magazine Plays International. As a freelance writer, his work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle and Wired magazine, Theatre Bay Area magazine, the Marin Independent Journal, the Sacramento Bee, the Palo Alto Weekly and the Nob Hill Gazette. After spending a year as the communications manager for Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Chad is now the executive director of the San Francisco Arts Education Project (www.sfartsed.org), a 49-year-old nonprofit that pairs professional artists in the visual and performing arts with children in the public schools, after-school programs and arts summer camp.

Since 1994, PlayGround has nurtured more than 200 Bay Area playwrights, supporting the development of over 800 original short plays and 71 new full-length plays. PlayGround recently re-opened its San Francisco home, Potrero Stage (formerly Thick House), after an extensive renovation and renaming. PlayGround continues to produce its celebrated Monday Night PlayGround short play staged reading series at Berkeley Rep, where the series has been performed since 2003 on third Mondays, September-March. 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, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others.; this event serves to recognize and support the ongoing efforts of these theatre artists. For more information, visit http://playground-sf.org.

For more information about the PlayGround Benefit & Awards Night or to purchase tickets, visit http://playground-sf.org/benefit.

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