Athena Project Announces Playwrights For The 8th Annual Plays In Progress Series

Plays In Progress is a unique program to fostering new works by women playwrights. Each Spring playwrights are invited to submit previously unproduced plays which are read and scored by a team of readers. Over 250 plays were submitted from across the country, we are pleased to announce five winning scripts and playwrights. Rat by Lans Traverse will be presented as a table reading, A Driving Beat by Jordan Ramirez Puckett will be presented as a concert reading, and Teach by Donna Hoke, Endurance of Light by Amanda Petefish-Schrag, and Mynx and Savage by Rebecca Gorman O'Neill will all receive workshop level productions during the series. The series will take place at the Aurora Fox Arts Center, 9900 E. Colfax Ave, Aurora, CO 80010. For information on schedule and to purchase tickets see

"Our Plays In Progress Series is a cornerstone of our programming. It's here where we invite audiences to participate in the creative process and it provides the playwrights with an invaluable set of tools to bring their work to next level of completion," states Angela Astle, Athena Project's Executive Producer and Founder. "It's very empowering for a playwright to see her work performed, what has been living in her mind and on paper, takes on new meaning when translated to the stage."

The Plays In Progress Series is designed to give playwrights and audiences an opportunity to interact with work as it is being created. Table Reads give playwrights the chance to work with a dramaturg and gain feedback from professional actors and directors. The Concert Reading is performed on stage with music stands, so the playwright can focus on the words and story being told. And our workshop productions are designed using basic set, lights, sound, and props. They are created so the playwrights can "see" their work on its feet and are designed for an audience to give feedback. All plays will work with a Dramaturg--unique to our program and invaluable to the playwright.

The Series is made up of new works exclusively written by female playwrights. Since its inception we have introduced 6 World Premieres and workshopped over 30 Plays In Progress, two have gone on to be fully produced by other theatres across the US.

Short biographies and play summaries:

Rat by Lans Traverse
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Lans was born Asbury Park, grew up Philadelphia and Tulsa, trained for theatre New York (American Academy) and London (RADA), where she lives. Recent productions: Kiss of the Sun For Pardon (Detroit Rep), nominated Best Comedy - Encore Michigan Wilde Award; Driftwood (Main Street Theatre Houston); Platform performance Coleslaw and Coconut Cream Pie (York Theatre Royal). Other selected highlights: Winner John Muir Golden Award; Finalist multiple playwrights' conferences (Great Plains, O'Neill, Botanicum Seedlings). Current reading: Oh, Town of Little Bethlehem, Playground Theatre, London. Production scheduled 2020. Script Reader for Manchester ADP.

THE PLAY: A woman sits on a sofa and stares through French doors onto a garden swing. Isobel's listless existence is shattered by an unwelcome intruder, an excessively large and aggressive rat. As the story unfolds, this malevolent presence begins to possess her. Every waking moment she listens for his return, reaching for a bottle of prescribed tranquilizers followed by a couple of sleeping pills. Isobel's husband, Kevin, is at his Wit's End. For five months they have been living separate lives, neither one acknowledging the needs of the other. As the wife continues to count the emptiness of each passing day and the husband's patience wears thin, their relationship begins to fracture at an alarming rate. And sanity is stretched to breaking point.

A Driving Beat by Jordan Ramirez Puckett
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Jordan Ramirez Puckett most recently participated in the 2018-2019 Playwrights Realm Scratchpad Series. Her work has also been produced and/or developed by Abingdon Theatre Company (New York, NY), Goodman Theatre (Chicago, IL), and Harold Clurman Laboratory Theatre Company (New York, NY) among others. Her plays include To Saints and Stars, Las Pajaritas, Restore, and Inevitable. She is the former Associate Artistic Director at San Francisco Playhouse. She is currently pursuing her MFA in playwriting at Ohio University.

THE PLAY: Mateo and his adoptive mother, Diane embark on a cross-country road trip to the hospital where Mateo was born. Though unlikely, Mateo hopes to learn more about his birth mother and his identity. Throughout the journey, Diane and Mateo are forced to reexamine their relationship and what it means to be a family.

Teach by Donna Hoke
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Donna's work has been seen in 46 states and on five continents. Plays include Brilliant Works of Art (2016 Kilroys List), Elevator Girl (2017 O'Neill, 2018 Princess Grace finalist), Safe (winner of the Todd McNerney, Naatak, and Great Gay Play and Musical Contests), and Teach (Gulfshore New Works winner). She has been nominated for both the Primus and Blackburn Prizes, and is a two-time winner of the Emanuel Fried Award for Outstanding New Play (Seeds, Sons & Lovers). She has also received an Individual Artist Award from the New York State Council on the Arts to develop Hearts of Stone, and, for three consecutive years, she was named Buffalo's Best Writer by Artvoice-the only woman to ever receive the designation.

THE PLAY: Five actors, three characters, one story: Ten years ago, Ken and Chris were teacher and student. Now, they are principal and teacher, and Emerson's suspiciously high grade gives Ken license to grill Chris until the young teacher is forced to confront both past and present.

Endurance of Light by Amanda Petefish-Schrag
THE PLAYWRIGHT: Amanda Petefish-Schrag is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Iowa State University. Her professional credits include work as a playwright, puppeteer, director, actor, (and mom). Her playwriting work has been produced at festivals and theaters in London, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Iowa City, and has been published by Playscripts, Inc., and Smith and Kraus. Amanda is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

THE PLAY: Sophie, a scientist, refuses to leave her bed. Instead, she spends her time lost in piles of books, trying to discover the reason for her multiple miscarriages. Her husband and her mother desperately try to connect with her, unaware that her bedroom has become a surreal landscape where Sophie, along with Sir Ernest Shackleton and his ship, The Endurance, are perpetually trapped in the Antarctic ice. Guided by an impudent Albert Einstein and spirited Hildegard Von Bingen, Sophie must navigate the mysterious forces that now threaten to trap her forever as past and present, faith and science, collide.

Mynx and Savage by Rebecca Gorman O'Neill
THE PLAYWRIGHT: An Ohio native, Rebecca started writing plays at Dartmouth College. After earning her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. Rebecca's original plays have been produced across the United States and in Canada, and her plays Tell-Tale and The Greater Good are published through Eldridge Publishing and Next Stage Press, respectively. Rebecca is a Professor of English at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where she teaches playwriting, screenwriting, cinema studies, and the graphic novel.

THE PLAY: Mynx and Savage is a tri-level story of a comic book writer, the characters of his superhero story, and the creatures of his "serious" work. When corporate powers start pushing him to produce, he is torn between the comfort of fantasy and the necessary truth.

About Athena Project
Athena Project is a professional group of artists dedicated to supporting and expanding women's artistic contributions to the Denver stage and the wider community. Athena envisions a world where women's voices are powerfully expressed and recognized for artistic merit in the community. Athena Project's mission is to empower women and strengthen the Denver community through developing and showcasing women and girls' artistic contributions, while inviting new audiences into the creative process. Athena Project produces theatre, dance, music, comedy, and visual arts shows all highlighting the contributions of women artists. Girls Create, is our summer intensive highlighting various art forms in week long camps culminating in a final performance shared with friends, family, and the public. This program empowers girls to lead and affect change in themselves and others through creative learning.

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