Boston Playwrights' Theatre Announces 2016-2017 Season of New Plays

Boston Playwrights' Theatre (BPT) today announces the new plays that will comprise its 35th season. The line-up includes Memorial by Livian Yeh, Faithless by Andrew JosepH Clarke, The Atheist by Ronan Noone, The Honey Trap by Leo McGann, Franklin by Samantha Noble and Every Piece of Me by Mary Conroy.

"I'm eager to bring these moving and exhilarating new plays to the attention of our audiences," BPT Artistic Director Kate Snodgrass says. "These new works are fresh from the oven and ready for feasting. And collaborating with the award-winning BU School of Theatre in their New Play Initiative doubles our excitement. It doesn't get better than this!"

Five of this season's plays were written by the Boston University M. F. A. Playwriting Program class of 2017. Four will be co-produced with the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre-part of their New Play Initiative-and will feature collaborations between graduate-level playwrights and directors.

"The BU School of Theatre is so proud to participate in this season of new works generated by our third year M. F. A. playwrights," Director of the BU School of Theatre Jim Petosa says. "Their presence and interaction with our collaborative community is a source of vital creative energy that positively impacts everyone in our School."

The season opens in October with Memorial by Livian Yeh, about 21-year-old artist and architect Maya Lin, whose "untraditional" memorial was selected in 1981 to commemorate Vietnam veterans on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Still an undergraduate at Yale at the time, Lin found herself defending her design for The Wall to veterans, the United States Congress, and even her own parents. The play will be directed by Kelly Galvin. Playwright Yeh's play Nightfall was a co-recipient of the Stephen Lim Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Next, in December, is Andrew JosepH Clarke's Faithless directed by Stephen Pick. The play centers on two generations of an Irish-American family who gather in a hospital waiting room while awaiting the passing of their family matriarch. The unexpected return of Skip-the family black sheep-causes decades of baggage to resurface. Clarke's play Outside Providence was produced at NYC's Cherry Lane Theatre as part of the New York International Fringe Festival.

A new take on Ronan Noone's The Atheist will kick off the new year. The Atheist enjoyed an off-Broadway run in 2008 starring Campbell Scott as corrupt journalist Augustine Early; this production finds Noone revisiting the script with a female protagonist. Noone-who will also direct the production-is an alumnus and faculty member of Boston University's Playwriting Program whose award-winning plays have been produced in Boston, New York, and throughout the world.

Leo McGann's The Honey Trap, directed by Adam Kassim, opens in February. Set in the outskirts of Belfast in 1979, what seems like a typical night at the pub turns into something much darker for two off-duty British soldiers. Reliving that night for an oral history project reopens old wounds for one of the soldiers, and finds him back in Belfast decades later in search of answers and revenge. The Honey Trap is the recipient of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival's National Partners of the American Theatre Playwriting Award.

Franklin by Samantha Noble, directed by Stephanie LeBolt, opens in late March. The play centers on the search for the ship used by the Franklin expedition-which sought the Northwest Passage-to the Arctic in 1845. The play centers on this 200-year-old mystery and modern-day underwater archeologist Caroline, who has been searching for the wreckage for three years. Franklin was one of six plays selected for the Kennedy Center's MFA Playwrights' Workshop, a partnership of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and Stanford University's Center for New Plays.

The season closes with Mary Conroy's family drama Every Piece of Me, directed by Zohar Fuller. Aine's return home to Ireland with her American fiancé finds her younger sister pregnant, her mother still over-controlling, and her father suffering from a bad heart. Was Aine's departure the cause? Every Piece of Me addresses guilt, mercy, and the power of love. Playwright Conroy is a multidisciplinary storyteller whose television pilot, Proud Mary, placed second in the CineStory Foundation TV/Digital Retreat.

For more information on the upcoming season call 866.811.4111 or visit www.bostonplaywrights.org

ABOUT BOSTON PLAYWRIGHTS' THEATRE

Founded in 1981 at Boston University by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, Boston Playwrights' Theatre (BPT) is an award-winning professional theatre dedicated to new works. At the heart of BPT's mission is the production of new plays by alumni of its M.F.A. Playwriting Program, the latter in collaboration with Boston University's renowned School of Theatre. The program's award-winning alumni have been produced in regional and New York houses, as well as in London's West End. BPT's productions have been honored with numerous regional and Boston awards, including 12 IRNE Awards for Best New Script and six Boston Critics' Association Elliot Norton Awards.

ABOUT THE BOSTON UNIVERSITY NEW PLAY INITIATIVE

The BU New Play Initiative (NPI) expresses the Boston University College of Fine Arts' commitment to the School of Theatre's participation in the development of new work. This special initiative provides playwrights, directors, designers, and actors with a variety of developmental options to support the collaborative creation of new work for the theatre. Students, faculty, alumni, and guest artists are given the opportunity to utilize the creativity of the rehearsal room to develop their plays, which are then presented through workshop productions. The life of these new plays doesn't end on the BU stages. Many New Play Initiative productions are often later fully produced by member companies of our Professional Theatre Initiative, including the School of Theatre's professional extension-Boston Center for American Performance.www.bu.edu/cfa/npi

INSTITUTIONAL BIOGRAPHY

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized private research university with more than 30,000 students participating in undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school's research and teaching mission. Established in 1954, Boston University College of Fine Arts is a top-tier fine arts institution. Comprised of the School of Music, School of Theatre, and School of Visual Arts, CFA offers professional training in the arts in conservatory-style environments for undergraduate and graduate students, complemented by a liberal arts curriculum for undergraduate students.

ABOUT THIS SEASON'S PLAYWRIGHTS

ANDREW JosepH ClarkE is a third-year graduate student in Boston University's Playwriting M.F.A. program, and a Boston native. He received his BA at Sarah Lawrence College in 2013, and has since been a licensing associate for Samuel French, a literary intern or Ensemble Studio Theatre, and a Graduate Teaching Fellow at BU where he taught his own undergraduate class. His work has been produced at Sarah Lawrence and in various festivals around New York, most notably the 2012 run of his first play Outside Providence at the Cherry Lane Theatre as part of the New York International Fringe Festival. This fall, Andrew will be joining the UMass Boston M.Ed. program to receive his second master's degree and to become a licensEd English teacher.

MARY CONROY teaches Screenwriting at Boston College. She has been awarded a graduate fellowship and is a full-time M.F.A. in Playwriting student at Boston University. She serves as the Dramatists Guild Representative for Massachusetts. In 2016, Mary placed second with her pilot, Proud Mary, in the CineStory Television Retreat. In 2014, Mary was an invited artist at the Nantucket Film Festival with her television pilot,Good Morning Detroit, and she attended the BANFF World Media Festival in Canada. Previously, she has been an invited participant at the Kennedy Center's Playwriting Intensive. She has had numerous productions of her short plays in the New England area as well as New York and California. Mary Reads and judges for a variety of festivals and screenwriting competitions. She continues to write in all three genres of visual storytelling: film, television, and theatre. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing.

LEO MCGANN is a Belfast-born playwright. He began writing with Tinderbox Theatre Company who staged his short play Friends Like Theseat the Grand Opera House in Belfast as part of their Fireworks Programme in 2009. After a move to London he was a part of the Young Writers Programme and the Studio Group at the Royal Court. Before beginning his M.F.A. studies in Playwriting at Boston University in 2014, he earned his bachelor's degree in Modern History from the University of Oxford and worked for the BBC as a screenwriter, sports journalist and assistant producer. The first draft of The Honey Trap-then titled In the Moment-won the National Partners of the American Theatre Playwriting Excellence Award at the 48th Annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, D.C. Outside of his M.F.A. studies Leo enjoys playing rugby, cinema, hiking, pub trivia and going on trips to see and explore more of the USA.

SAMANTHA NOBLE is a Boston-based playwright and theatre artist. She attendEd Smith College where she was awarded the Denis Johnston Playwriting Prize. While at Smith, she acted as a Research Fellow in the joint faculty and student Louise W. and Edmund J. Kahn Liberal Arts Institute's project titled "Evil," for which she developed and staged her play The Strength of Stones. In 2013, she partnered with director Kathryn Stewart to create a Seattle-based theatre project, The Tenacity Theatre Collective, through which she premiered her original work An Actress vs. William Shakespeare as part of Seattle's Arts Crush Festival. The play came to the East Coast as part of the Hamilton & Wenham Art Grows Here Festival. She worked with New Century Theatre in all aspects of theatrical production from 2008-2011. Her play A Drink was sponsored by The Nora Theatre Company in the 2016 Boston Theater Marathon. In summer of 2016, her newest play Franklin was developed as part of the Kennedy Center and National New Play Network's M.F.A. Playwrights' Workshop. She has worked as a dramaturge developing new works through Boston University and Boston Playwrights' Theatre and has taught Creative Writing at Boston University.

Ronan Noone's The Second Girl is the winner of the inaugural Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Excellence in Playwriting Award, 2015. Additional plays include: The Athiest, Brendan, Scenes From an Adultery, The Baile Trilogy (The Lepers of Baile Baiste, The Blowin' of Baile Gall, The Gigolo of Baile Breag), The Compass Rose, Little Black Dress, and A Small Death. The themes that run through Ronan's work are immigration, dispossession, misanthropes, issues of social conscience, and the ability of a character to survive difficult and fascinating circumstances. He believes in playing with ways to tell a good story, a necessary story that tells us who we are, where we've been and where we are going. He believes in stories that resonate beyond the theatre's door and that add ideas to the national conversation. He believes in the playwright as thinker.

His play The Atheist played at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston and at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. It was also co-produced by The Culture Project and TEd Mann's Circle in the Square productions in New York and received both Drama Desk and Drama League Acting nominations. Other recent international productions have taken place in the U.K. (London and Edinburgh), Spain, Canada, the Philippines, and Ireland. His full-length and one-act plays are published by Samuel French, Smith and Kraus, Baker Plays, and Dramatists Play Service. Awards include: Jeff recommendations in Chicago; Ovation recommendations in Los Angeles; Critics Award in Austin, Texas; American Critics Steinberg New Play Award nomination; nomination for best play at 1st Irish Festival New York; three Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) Awards for Best New Play; the Boston Theatre Critics Association's Elliot Norton Outstanding Script Award; a Kennedy Center National Playwriting Award; and a 2014 Edgerton New American Play Award. His essay on theatre, "Being Afraid to Breathe," is published by the Princeton University Library Chronicle LXVIII, and his plays have been featured in books on Irish Studies, such as Anail an Bheil Bheo: Orality and Modern Irish Culture and Sinead Moynihan's Other People's Diasporas. He has attended the Sundance Theatre Workshop and developed work at New York Stage and Film, The Orchard Project, The Lark Theatre and Theresa Rebeck's Vermont Writer's Retreat, American Conservatory Theatre (ACT) in San Francisco, and The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Florida.

He is Artistic Associate at the Vineyard Playhouse on Martha's Vineyard. Noone has also developed work for television with Pretty Matches Productions and the reality TV-based Production Company High Noon Entertainment. His 2014 Live Action Short The Accident (based on his short play I Glue You) has played the Boston International Film Festival and the Montclair Film Festival.

After studying politics and mathematics at University in Galway (NUIG), Ireland, Ronan began his writing career with a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism. He wrote for various newspapers in Ireland with a small stint in Prague. After an editor told him his writing was de-constructive and did not meet the formula for a newspaper, he wrote his first play. Later, he immigrated to America and submitted that play to Boston Playwrights' Theatre where he studied with Noble Laureate Derek Walcott. There he understood that deconstruction wasn't a bad word, and for a play to develop you needed the support, belief, and resources of a theatre community behind you. As a teacher, Ronan guides student writers to search for the beating heart in their work, to critique with care, to rewrite using the pen as a scalpel, and to read and reread all the plays they can get their hands on. RonanNoone.com.

LIVIAN YEH is a Taiwanese playwright. Her plays include Nightfall, recipient of the John Golden Playwriting Prize and the Goldberg Playwriting Award from NYU, as well as the Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Nightfallwas first work shopped at The Goldberg Theatre in collaboration with The Flea Theatre and its resident Acting Company and will be included in Fresh Ink Theatre's 2016-2017 season as part of the Ink Spots Reading Series. Her short plays have appeared at the National Concert Hall in Taipei (Taiwan), Manhattan Repertory Theatre (NYC), 13th Street Repertory Theatre (NYC) and The Cape Cod Theatre Project (MA). She holds a B.F.A. from NYU and is an M.F.A. candidate at Boston University.

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