Botanicum Seedlings Announces 2016 Israel Baran Award Winner, Opens Submission Window for New Plays

Botanicum Seedlings, Theatricum Botanicum's development series for playwrights, is pleased to announce the recipient of the 6th annual "Izzy" Award for new plays. The winning play, The Last Nights of Scheherazade by Paula Cizmar, was presented last summer as a private, developmental 'GreenRead.' Named for Theatricum's first dramaturg, Israel Baran, who passed away in 2007, the Izzy recognizes the Seedlings play that "speaks to us the loudest" - in honor of Israel's keen mind, sharp tongue and ear for language (despite the fact that he was frustratingly deaf).

"So often I work in isolation - which is necessary for the beginnings of a play - but then I get to a point where I have to hear the thing, to be around people," says Los Angeles playwright Paula Cizmar. "Seedlings gave me the luxury of hearing the text for the first time in a safe, supportive environment. I had the chance to pick the brains and hearts of actors and other theater makers, to dig into the script in a community that really cares about developing new work."

Cizmar's plays have been produced at Playwrights Arena at the LATC, the Women's Project, the Jungle Theatre (Minneapolis), San Diego Rep and Portland Stage, among other venues. She is currently an Associate Professor of Playwriting at USC.

The Last Nights of Scheherazade, set at The Edge of the Mojave desert, is the story of a modern-day Scheherazade - a young woman who retreats into storytelling to survive a violent marriage.

"Although our Summer Playreadings are more high profile, we love what Seedlings is able to offer playwrights through our intimate GreenReads," says Theatricum dramaturg and playwright-in-residence Jennie Webb. "The beauty and urgency of Last Nights spoke volumes to us."

Webb created Botanicum Seedlings in 2002. Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, the program has supported well over 150 new plays and has established itself as a vital resource for writers across the country. In addition to public and private readings, Seedlings also offers private dramaturgy and workshops for local playwrights.

Seedlings is pleased to announce the opening of its annual submission window for new plays: Sept. 1 - Nov. 1, 2016. Only thefirst 200 works received during this window will be considered.

Botanicum Seedlings encourages submissions from playwrights of color and other underrepresented writers. Seedlings has a commitment to gender parity, with a goal of 50% or more women playwrights and directors involved. Over the past 15 years, about 60% of Seedlings public readings have been written by women and 70% of Seedlings directors have been women.

Playwrights interested in submitting plays for development and production opportunities should visit theatricum.com/seedlings and refer to the Submission Guidelines. Questions, queries and submissions can be sent to seedlings@theatricum.com.

Playwrights and new play lovers are also invited to the upcoming FREE Summer Playreadings, Sundays at 11 a.m. on Aug. 21and Aug. 28 (info at theatricum.com/seedlings/events/).

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