Skylight Theatre Company to Begin Accepting PlayLab Submissions Tomorrow

The award-winning Skylight Theatre Company will be accepting applications for the 4th round of its well-regarded Skylight PlayLab, headed by renowned playwright and screenwriter Shem Bitterman. Interested playwrights from the Southern California area can apply from December 15, 2015 until January 31, 2016 for the upcoming 2016/17 Season.

Writers should submit a ten-page sample of their work along with a resume no later than January 31, 2016 to: playlab@skylighttheatrecompany.com

"The focus of PlayLab will be the development of a brand new play, starting from scratch," Bitterman says. "Writers will come into the Lab with a notion or no notion at all, and over the course of the year will have the opportunity to fully develop their plays. On given nights professional directors, guest writers or actors may drop in to discuss the plays in progress, or aspects of craft. Also, we are very fortunate to have access to several stages as well as actors and directors from the extended Skylight family of artists to help put scenes on their feet. My intention is to give PlayLab members all the tools they need to create plays as they see fit. The hallMark Will be openness and mutual respect. The main thing is to offer writers a place to create freely and to realize their visions."

Limited to a handful of members, PlayLab will meet for twelve three-hour working sessions from March 2016 through May 2017. Writers are required to attend at least nine of the twelve scheduled sessions, which will take place once a month on Sundays from 7pm to 10pm. As part of the process, chosen writers should be prepared to discuss their material prior to writing. PlayLab will also host full readings of each of the completed plays. All members are encouraged to attend and support their fellow writers at these readings. PlayLab will culminate in an eight-week-long festival of workshop productions and readings of the completed taking place at the Skylight Theatre in the summer of 2017. It will be the 4th festival since the inauguration of PlayLab in 2011.

"It's all about the play," Gary Grossman (Artistic Director) explains that "Skylight's focus is on bringing the writer's vision to the stage and our programs are built to achieve that. We believe in the power of the artist to transform lives, and in theatre it all starts with the writer's words."

Past and present PlayLab participants include: Boni B. Alvarez, Ron Burch, Doug Cooney, Mauro Flores Jr., Tony Foster, Tim Furlong, Sigrid Gilmer, Louisa Hill, Karen Howes, Craig Jessen, Mayank Keshaviah, Tom Lavagnino, Zach Lupetin, Lynn Manning, William Nedved, Laurel Ollstein, Larry Pontius, Felix Racelis, Chelsea Sutton, Lucy Wang and Kit Williamson.

Shem Bitterman is an alumnus of Julliard, where he studied acting, Shem received his MFA in Dramatic Writing at the University of Iowa. His plays and awards include: Open House, A Death in Colombia, Influence, and The Job winner the LA Times Critic?s Circle Award for Best New Play in 1998 and transferred to off- Broadway; it also won The Stanley Award and was published by Samuel French and Smith & Kraus in their Best New Plays of 1998. Harm's Way, winner of the 2008 PEN USA Literary Award, runner-up for the 2007 Smith Prize; Man.gov, 2006 LA Weekly Nominee for Best Play, Sensitive Skin at The Elephant Theatre, The Circle, 2005 PEN USA Literary Award Finalist and 2001 Best Playwright SCA Fringe Festival; Ten Below, at the WPA, starring Kevin Conway and Anthony Edwards, winner National Play Award and Lee Korf Playwriting Award; Peephole at Geva, winner Davie Award , starring Josh Brolin, subsequently made into a movie; Night-Side, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, starring Pamela Gien; The Ramp at South Coast Rep, winner California Playwright's Competition; Beijing Legends at The Mark

Taper Forum and the Pacific Jewish Theatre, winner Fund For New American Plays, and Mixed Blood Versus America; Self Storage at the Odyssey, subsequently made into the film Tinsletown, starring Arye Gross; Iowa Boys at The Actor's Studio, winner CBS/FDG New Plays Award. Other feature films include: Betty & Coretta, starring Angela Bassett and Mary J. Blige, The Job, directed and produced by Shem, starring Joe Pantoliano, Ron Perlman and Taryn Manning; Play Dead, co-authored and produced with director Jason Wiles, starring Fred Durst and Chris Klein; Full Count, co-authored and produced with director Jason Wiles, starring William Baldwin, Austin Nichols and Jason Ritter; Out Of The Rain, directed by Gary Winick, starring Bridget Fonda; Off The Lip, directed by Robert Mickelson, starring Marguerite Moreau; Open House, directed by Shem, starring Shareen Mitchell. Shem taught screenwriting, playwriting and acting in the California Prisons and in Beijing, China. His most recent movie, Whitney, directed by Angela Bassett, aired on Lifetime in January.

The Skylight Theatre Company discovers, develops and produces new, exhilarating works while nurturing and educating the writers who create them. A vibrant and expanding family of artists giving voice to original perspectives of today's world, Skylight won four LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards in 2014 for The Wrong Man and Pray To Ball (the most of any intimate theatre in LA) while the previous year LA Weekly named their productions of Years To The Day, Open House and Sexsting to their Top Ten Plays list of 2013. All of these plays were developed through readings and workshops and received their world premieres at Skylight. Hermetically Sealed made the LA Times annual list of Top Ten Plays, and Mad Woman moved from Los Angeles to La MaMa in New York. Since then plays developed by Skylight have played Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City, New York, Edinburgh, Paris and local venues.

The list of PlayLab writers who have received accolades for their work and the number of their plays that have life beyond their development with Skylight continues to grow. Resident playwright, Sigrid Gilmer was awarded a 2014 USA Ford Fellowship in Theater and Performance, which recognizes the most accomplished and innovative artists in the country, and is accompanied by a $50,000 award. Her play, Harry and the Thief, developed and workshopped at Skylight, was professionally mounted in Chicago and Cincinnati. Will Nedved, another of Skylight's resident PlayLab writers, saw his play, Body & Blood, produced in Chicago this year after being developed and workshopped with Skylight.

This season's productions, I See You Made an Effort by Annabelle Gurwitch appeared at the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, while El Grande CIRCUS de Coca-Cola, which was developed and premiered at Skylight in July, just moved to the 270-seat Colony Theatre in Burbank, CA and is currently making plans for a London transfer. Nathan Alan Davis received the prestigious Steinberg National Theatre Critics' Citation after his play, Dontrell, Who Kissed The Sea, had its world premiere at Skylight, playing in five cities across the country thanks in part to the National New Play Network and Skylight.

Writers interested in participating should submit a ten-page sample of their work along with a resume no later than January 31, 2016 to: playlab@skylighttheatrecompany.com

Applicants will be notified of our decision by the end of February, 2016.

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