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New Play Festival Announced for January at New Village Arts

New Play Festival Announced for January at New Village Arts

New Village Arts is proud to announce its inaugural New Play Festival, FINAL DRAFT. In partnership with Oceanside's Bagby Beer Company, NVA will offer readings of three new plays, a playwriting workshop, and a panel discussion geared towards advancing the careers of playwrights, as well as local craft brewery beer tasting.

"We wanted to create an event that celebrates our local playwriting community," says Festival Producer Tiffany Tang. "San Diego is rife with writing talent and playwrights who are eager to take the next steps in their careers. We are looking forward to a weekend of inspiring events, networking opportunities over tasty beer and, of course, great theatre from a handful of our city's finest writers."

Lance Arthur Smith's THE PRICE OF PEACE will be the cornerstone play reading for the festival. Drawn from interviews from a local Carlsbad resident, the piece follows a WWII machinist who finds himself in the middle of the Manhattan Project. THE PRICE OF PEACE was commissioned by New Village Arts two years ago as part of a grant from Jack and Valerie Cumming, two long-time supporters of NVA's work. In addition to THE PRICE OF PEACE, the festival will feature a reading of Jennifer Lane's play THE SEER & THE WITCH, which explores a magical encounter between two women in the same hospital room but separated by over a century, and Dallas McLaughlin will perform his autobiographical one-man show THE VELOCITY OF CELEBRATION, which chronicles the pitfalls and missteps experienced on the road to fatherhood.

Josh Gershick, the Southern California Representative for the Dramatists' Guild, will be leading a workshop on synopsis writing for playwrights as well as moderating a panel of local artistic directors who will weigh in on incorporating new work into their mainstage seasons.

"San Diego's theatre scene is vibrant and alive, with so many talented artists and thoughtful audiences," says Gershick. "It's an amazing place."

New Village Arts plans to host the New Play Festival annually, helping local playwrights into the next phases of their careers, adding more original voices to the already rich diversity of San Diego's theatre community.

"There are so many amazing voices here," says New Village Arts Executive Artistic Director Kristianne Kurner. "Creating a festival dedicated to spotlighting our local playwrights and encouraging their work just makes sense. We look forward to continuing the tradition year after year."


FINAL DRAFT: New Village Arts' inaugural New Play Festival

Thursday January 4 - Sunday January 7, 2018

At New Village Arts (2787 State Street, Carlsbad Village)

FINAL DRAFT website:

Tickets: $5 per reading; $10 for reading + beer tasting; $20 for all-access festival pass; workshop and panel included with purchase of all tickets.

Community Partner: Bagby Beer Company


Thursday January 4

6 pm Opening Night Party with Bagby Beer Company


Friday January 5

8 pm THE PRICE OF PEACE by Lance Arthur Smith

Saturday January 6

12 pm Workshop: Crafting a Synopsis That Sings with Dramatists' Guild Rep Josh Gershick

2 pm Panel: Artistic Directors Weigh in on Producing New Work

4 pm THE SEER & THE WITCH by Jenny Lane

6 pm Lobby Networking Party with Bagby Beer Company

8 pm THE PRICE OF PEACE by Lance Arthur Smith

Saturday January 6

2 pm THE PRICE OF PEACE by Lance Arthur Smith


THE PRICE OF PEACE charts machinist Sam Penn's journey through wartime America from California to Oak Ridge-- a secret city in Tennessee responsible for the fuel of a destructive new weapon. The city's inhabitants carried on their work and lives in secret without the knowledge of what they were working on or why they toiled. Laundry was folded, bridge clubs and sporting teams were formed, and the course of human history was altered irrevocably for all time. This new play is based on interviews with primary sources living in Oak Ridge, TN during the Second World War.

Lance Arthur Smith received his BA in Theatre with concentrations in Writing and Acting at the University of New Mexico under the tutelage of Emmy-winning writer Digby Wolfe (LAUGH-IN). His interstitial musical shorts appeared in the first three years of the University's DIONYSUS IN THE ROUND festival of one acts, and his full-length play BRUSHING THE CENTER (co-written with Phillip Hughes) was produced there. His plays TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE FOUR-COLOR WAY and THE TWO WISEMEN OF LAS CRUCES were produced as staged readings for Cygnet Theatre Company's Playwrights in Process series. The TWO WISEMEN OF LAS CRUCES was a Eugene O'Neill Theater Center Semifinalist and Princess Grace Award Semifinalist. Commissions include THE PRICE OF PEACE (NVA) and MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET: A LIVE MUSICAL RADIO PLAY (SDMT). MIRACLE ON 34TH ST. was recently licensed and published by Steele Springs Stage Rights, with two current productions (2nd year at SDMT and U.K. Premiere at Bridge House Theatre, London). The one-act TRUE BLUE received full productions at the University of New Mexico, internationally celebrated Tricklock (formerly Riverside Rep), Ark Theatre Company in Los Angeles, and the Actors Alliance Festival in San Diego. He served as Head Writer of the sci-fi pilot ORBITAL BROADCAST ONE for TFK/Wavebreaking, and appeared as a series regular alongside Star Trek veterans George Takei, Walter Koenig, and Tim Russ. A co-founder of Piece O' Pie People, he was one of two writer/performers in their Los Angeles sketch comedy series -TIONS AND -ISMS, which played at Mbar and The Whitefire Theatre. As a former company member of Lamb's Players Theatre, he contributed material to their Educational Outreach productions, as well as DANGEROUS AND DARING- his adaptation of the popular books for boys and girls. Additionally, he wrote full-length and one-act scripts for LPT's Summer Drama Academy. He's the author of PRINCESS GEEK, a nonfiction account of parenting a girl in the age of geek chic, and he's currently working on his first novel (among a stack of other things).

Directed by Lisa Berger

Cast: Bryan Barbarin, Jacob Bruce, Paul Eddy, Austyn Myers, Nancy Ross, Steve Smith

Sound and Projection Design: Melanie Chen

THE SEER & THE WITCH The past and present collide in the forms of Eleanor and Emily, two women living a century apart who both haunt the same corner room at the Elgin Institute of Mental Health. They are each other's only solace in a story that explores the female experience and how it has changed over the course of a hundred years, and how it has not.

Jennifer Lane is a California-based writer and teaching artist originally from Troy, Michigan. Her work includes To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This (Winner of the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans One-Act Play Contest, Winner of Outstanding Writing and Outstanding Drama at the 2017 San Diego International Fringe Festival, and published in Bayou Magazine); and Harlowe (developed under the mentorship of Sarah Ruhl, winner of the Alec Baldwin Fellowship at Singers Forum, workshopped at the Gulfshore Playhouse and FAU's TheatreLab, Finalist for the 2015 Humanitas/CTG Playwriting Prize). Jenny is a teaching artist with the Playwrights Project and UCSD. Her dramatic writing is represented by Amy Wagner of Abrams Artists Agency. MFA: Columbia University; BA: Sarah Lawrence College. For more information, visit

Directed by Tiffany Tang

Cast: Jacob Bruce, Paul Eddy, Betty Matthews, Tamara McMillian, Nancy Ross

THE VELOCITY OF CELEBRATION is the story of one man going through a break up, learning to understand his father, and meeting the love of his life. Sounds like Sam Shepard or something, right? Well, it's not. I mean, not really. Did Punxsutawney Phil ever show up in True West? I didn't think so. There's karaoke, drunken soliloquies and old ladies who make cheese. Maybe it is a Shepard play.

Dallas McLaughlin is a writer and performer for the Emmy-winning Yo! Gabba Gabba! and The Aquabats! Super Show! He's also worked as a consultant for Disney Television Animation, Nickelodeon and Fox Sports. A professional stand up comedian who's performed with Norm MacDonald, Dave Attell, Jeff Garlin, Sklar Brothers and many more. He recently won San Diego's Funniest Person Contest and has been featured on FoxRox, Tonight in San Diego, and was a DJ on FM 94.9 for over seven years. Dallas has spent over two decades on stage as an actor, award-winning playwright and director. In his spare time, Dallas likes to eat burritos and talk to his wife about her dislike for Harry Connick, Jr.

Directed by AJ Knox

Cast: Dallas McLaughlin


"Crafting a Synopsis that Sings" The well-crafted synopsis of a play is an essential element. However, writers often overlook this component. This key, page-long piece can be repurposed for so many things: It's useful for promotion, for grant applications, for artistic statements. It can be reborn, in whole or in part, as backstory for critics or reporters writing about our work, as program copy and/or as interview talking points. From it also come the one-sentence and the one-paragraph pitch, useful for on-the-go, interest piquing, elevator and on-the-street encounters when we have just seconds to sell our work.

"Artistic Directors Weigh In" Hear what local theatre company leadership has to say about the challenges and opportunities involved in producing new work, whether or not they regularly consider new work in their season lineups, what they would look for if they did or why they choose established playwrights instead of new work. Q and A session included.

Josh Irving Gershick (Workshop and Panel Moderator) is the Southern California Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild and a regular contributor to The Dramatist magazine.

He is a playwright, author, journalist, filmmaker and teacher. Gershick's plays include Bluebonnet Court, winner in 2007 of the GLAAD Award for Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre, an NAACP Award for Theatre Excellence, and a multiple L.A. Weekly and L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation nominee. In 2008, the San Diego Union-Tribune named Bluebonnet Court (co-pro by Moxie Theatre and Diversionary Theatre) among the top 10 plays of the season. In 2009, Gershick was commissioned by Diversionary Theatre (and funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation) to write a theatrical version of his award-winning book Gay Old Girls. His play Coming Attractions was produced by San Diego's Moxie Theatre in June 2012. His latest works are Dear ONE: Love & Longing in Mid-Century Queer America and the radio comedy Assisted Living. Dear ONE was commissioned in 2012 by the ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives at USC to honor its 60th anniversary. The play has had staged readings at the USC ONE Archive (2012); the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (2013), the Los Angeles Library Foundation's ALOUD Series, Mark Taper Auditorium, LA Central Library (2014); and the West Hollywood Festival of the Arts (2015). Gershick's film work includes Door Prize, Tweakers, Rozzie & Harriet and he is the author of two acclaimed oral histories, Gay Old Girls, winner of the 1998 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for LGBT Nonfiction, a 1998 American Library Association Book of the Year Nominee, and a 1999 Lambda Literary Award Finalist; and Secret Service: Untold Stories of Lesbians in the Military, winner of the 2005 ForeWord Book of the Year Award for LGBT Nonfiction. Gershick has taught graduate and undergraduate writing at USC, Pasadena City College, Glendale Community College and Austin Community College. A U.S. Army veteran and graduate of the Defense Information School, Gershick holds an MFA from the USC School of Dramatic Arts; a Master of Professional Writing (MPW) from the USC Dornsife College; and is a graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts Summer Intensive in Documentary

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