Through a well-honed new-play development process Playground (San Francisco, CA) founded in San Francisco in 1994, links first-time or early development playwrights with established professional actors and directors and generates new work for Bay Area theaters. In a model mirroring the old Hollywood studio system, Playground annually selects thirty-six writers who have never had a play produced by a major theater, to join its "stable" of playwrights. Each month these writers submit ten page ‘playlets’ to a panel that selects six to be presented at staged readings by professional local actors. The best of these playlets are presented in an annual festival, recorded for dissemination through KQED radio’s podcasting program, and brought to the attention of local directors and producers gaining visibility for the emerging writers and, in several instances, resulting in commissions for full-length new plays. Operating on a small budget of $160,000, Playground’s part-time staff leverages relationships with theater artists throughout the Bay Area and, with renewed Hewlett Foundation support, will continue to play an important part in supplying the arts ecosystem with new works of theater and creating opportunities for fresh voices to be heard on stage. (Renewal, $60,000/3; 15% of organization budget)
About the Grantee
3286 Adeline Street, Suite 8, Berkeley, CA, 94703-2485, United States
Grants to this Grantee
for general operating support
Through a well-honed new-play development process, PlayGround links first-time or rising playwrights with established professional actors and directors to generate new work for Bay Area theaters. PlayGround annually selects thirty-six writers who have never had a play produced by a major theater. They then compete to join PlayGround’s pool of playwrights and be one of six whose short plays are produced at a monthly showcase. The best of these "playlets" are then presented in an annual festival, which brings emerging writers to the attention of local directors and producers and results in commissions for new full-length plays.
for general operating support
PlayGround is an incubator for the development of new local voices for the theater, providing unique opportunities for the cultivation and development of early-career local playwrights, and partnerships with leading professional directors, actors, and theaters. Through the development of original short and full-length plays, PlayGround supports emerging playwrights’ experimentation and risk-taking, while helping them hone their individual style and technique. Popular for its high-energy Monday Night PlayGround, a staged short play reading series from October through March at Berkeley Rep, PlayGround has also recently become a resident company at Potrero Stage in San Francisco. A renewal grant will support PlayGround’s annual commissioning program, and the production of full-length plays.