Center Stage Launches Playwrights Collective

Center Stage has launched a new endeavor for local playwrights. Dubbed the Playwrights Collective, the program will allow a rotating group of writers to develop work, foster collaborative connections, and share professional mentorship within the framework of a resident regional theater. At the same time, it allows Center Stage to feed back into and help foster the local artistic ecology.

The Playwrights Collective provides institutional access and affiliation, along with the catalyst for creation and collaboration, for a loosely affiliated group of local playwrights. Beginning this spring, a small group of invited writers was asked to explore ways of working in shared support, while being offered a range of association and engagement with Center Stage. Future directions for the initiative might include incorporating Collective members into teaching opportunities, the annual Young Playwrights Festival, activities like the Wright-Right-Now lobby commissions, and more.

"Since I came to Center Stage, I have made it a priority to reach out and sustain emerging writers, especially our local voices," says Artistic Director Kwame Kwei-Armah. "As a playwright myself, I benefited enormously from the early backing of large institutional theaters. I am thrilled to get to pay that back-and forward."

Adds Associate Director & Director of Dramaturgy Gavin Witt, "The Playwrights Collective is just the latest addition in an exciting array of opportunities we've been cooking up, and I can't wait to see where the writers themselves take it, and how they choose to use it."

The current members of the Playwrights Collective, who will remain through the 15/16 Season, are: Jennifer Barclay, Alvin Eng, Jacqueline E. Lawton, Liz Maestri, Lola B. Pierson and Craig S Richie, along with Jenny Connell Davis, the 2014/15 Hot Desk Resident Playwright.

The Collective joins a growing array of artistic initiatives in support of playwrights and new writing at Center Stage. Other programs include the Hot Desk and International Hot Desk residencies and the Play Lab series of developmental readings, which helped create next season's premiere of X's and O's: A Football Love Story; and the Wright-Right-Now instant play commissions.

This season's International Hot Desk Playwright Mar Gómez Glez will have a reading of her work, Fuga Mundi, in DC on June 15-for more information, visit www.spainculture.us/city/washington-dc/fuga-mundi.

The final Play Lab of the 2014/15 Season is Waiting for the Flood by ACT Artistic Director Carey Perloff. The reading will be at 7 p.m. Monday, June 29, at Center Stage. For more information, visit ww.centerstage.org/ShowsandEvents/PlayLabs.aspx

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