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Playwrights Develop New Work With BMCC Students

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The season is entitled "Life, Love & Liberation."

Playwrights Develop New Work With BMCC Students

The Borough of Manhattan Community College's Theatre Program has invited a number of playwrights to be part of its classes, new spring production, and overall season entitled "Life, Love & Liberation." Xavier Galva, a BMCC alum, and New Voice Fellow at The Lark will be devising theatre with students and faculty for production in 2021. The work may live both virtually, and in an outdoor socially distanced setting, depending on where COVID 19 numbers are in late spring, and the type of collaboration. Galva feels very strongly about showcasing the voices of the student community, and centering their experiences. Via Zoom, he will be meeting with BMCC students to brainstorm ideas, and explore what they wish to see, and the missing voices in the landscape of the American theatre.

Juan Ramirez Jr.'s "One Act of Kindness" will premier in one of the college's theatre production classes (Page to Stage) this week: performed, directed, and totally produced by the students. Ramirez Jr. is very excited to see the play come to life via this platform. It was slated for production Off-Broadway, but this did not materialize due to the pandemic. Another gem of a playwright, Phanesia Pharel is also working with the same class to develop her play "Lucky," a coming of age tale of a young woman grappling with the harrowing situations of a societal structure threatening to crush her. The play is set in a Caribbean island that mirrors much of the decades-old politics of Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Other playwrights giving of their time to work with theatre students this semester include France-Luce Benson (Detained, Showtime Blues), and Nelson Diaz-Marcano (Wolrd Classic, Radical).

BMCC's theatre program is steadily becoming a known space for the creation and development of new work for the theatre. Charles Burks' "To Catch A Fox," Tariq Hamami's "Everything Will Be Alright," Karl O'Brian Williams' "Gully Queen," and Maggie Diaz-Bofill's "Swipe," reflect some of the work produced at the college that are either still in development, or slated for future commercial debuts. The college's fall and spring Staged Reading Series, which began in 2018, the Tribeca Performing Arts Writers-in-Performance Series, and the CUNY Theatre Festival have also provided numerous opportunities for student writers, directors, stage managers and actors to develop new work for the theatre with industry professionals. With the pandemic raging, budget cuts, and other obstacles looming, BMCC's Theatre Program remains dedicated to finding ways to sustain equitable, and mutually beneficial relationships with theatre artists. "The practice of providing students the space to collaborate with professional playwrights, actors, and designers must be protected," says Theatre Program Coordinator, Karl O'Brian Williams, "...No matter what, we've got to keep increasing opportunities for true representation, and focus on producing work that matters to our students, and their communities." The BMCC Theatre Program will yet again produce a new work in the form of "The Life of Mary Rogers..." an original musical created by faculty Katherine Kavanagh, Tariq Hamami, and Thomas Hodges for late fall/early winter this year. To find out more about the program and its offerings please visit:

Webpage: https://www.bmcc.cuny.edu/academics/departments/speech/theatre/

Website: https://bmcctheaterprogram.wordpress.com/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/BMCC-Theatre-Program-37498102990/


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