Franky Gonzalez Joins Bishop Arts Theatre as Playwright-in-Residence

Gonzalez is a Dallas-based playwright and TV writer of Colombian descent.

By: Jul. 13, 2021

Franky D. Gonzalez, a Dallas-based playwright and TV writer of Colombian descent, has joined Bishop Arts Theatre Center's full-time staff as Playwright-In-Residence. Bishop Arts Theatre Center was among the first arts and cultural institutions in the country to receive a Shuttered Venues Operating Grant (SVOG) administered by Small Business Association's Office of Disaster Assistance.

The SVOG program was established by the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act with over $16B in funding and amended by the American Rescue Plan Act in December 2020. The award allowed Bishop Arts Theatre Center to pay off their construction loan debt from the 2006 renovations of their century-old building.

Executive Artistic Director, Teresa Coleman Wash, commented, "To say the retirement of our construction loan debt is a huge weight off our shoulders is an understatement. Now is the time for us to really start invest in our people and cement the infrastructure of our organization." Full-time staff members will also receive health insurance benefits and a retirement plan for the first time in the 28-year history of the organization. In 2004, the theatre had the good fortune of having a 10,000 sq. ft. dilapidated building donated to their nonprofit. Construction began in 2005 and was complete in 2008, in spite of a downward spiral economy.

Gonzalez holds a BA in Theatre from the University of North Texas and he served as the Dramatists Guild Regional Representative in 2018. Nationally, his work has appeared with The Lark, The Sundance Institute, the Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Latinx Playwrights Circle, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, The Goodman Theatre (Live @ Five Series), The New Harmony Project, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, Repertorio Español, LAByrinth Theater Company, Ars Nova (ANT Fest 2021), Dallas Theater Center, Austin Latinx New Play Festival, Stages Repertory Theatre's Sin Muros Latinx Theatre Festival, the HBMG Foundation National Winter Playwrights Retreat, Play4Keeps Podcast, the Antaeus Playwrights Lab, Clamour Theatre Company, The Mid-America Theatre Conference, The Midwest Dramatists Conference, and the One-Minute Play Festival.

A staff writer for the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, Franky is also the recipient of several commissions and playwriting awards and has been a finalist for the New Dramatists residency, the Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, and the 2020 National New Play Network's Showcase of New Plays. Most recently Franky was named the 4 Seasons Resident Playwright, a Sony Pictures Television Diverse Writers Program Fellow, and a Core Writer with the Playwrights Center.

Franky adds, "Bishop Arts Theatre Center was my first artistic home. I sincerely believe that my career would have not been the same--or even existent--without Teresa Coleman Wash and the BATC team's championing of my work in my earliest years as a playwright. To be able to join the BATC family as a playwright-in-residence is an honor and an achievement that I count among my greatest as an artist. In a world where many institutions are pulling back, shoring up resources, and taking only the safest bets, Bishop Arts Theatre Center is taking risks by expanding the definitions of how theatrical institutions can support playwrights. I am grateful to be a part of this journey and hope to be a credit to BATC and to the Dallas theatre community in this new role."

Gonzalez is also joined by Albert Wash II as the new Associate Artistic Producer. Wash is a recent graduate of Point Park University Conservatory for the Performing Arts program where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts Performance and Practice with a minor in Musical Theatre. Both Wash and Gonzalez have a long history working with BATC in various capacities. Wash adds, "I cut my teeth on this stage and received a $100,000 scholarship because of my training at Bishop Arts Theatre. I'm happy to return home and serve my community." Albert is also co-founder of Helianthus Annus Theater, an artist collective designed to provide opportunities for BIPOC creatives through new works.


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