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Playwrights Horizons Launches New Literary Magazine ALMANAC


The first advance excerpt, including three new short plays, is online today.

Playwrights Horizons Launches New Literary Magazine ALMANAC

Playwrights Horizons has launched a new literary magazine, Almanac. Established at a time of pandemic and protest, Almanac is a new kind of publication-one in which a theater and the artists who comprise it come together to take stock of contemporary American politics, culture, and playwriting. Through commissioned plays, essays, interviews, poems, and visual art, Almanac charts the coordinates of the present day, as measured by thinkers and makers whose work lives both on and beyond the stage. Playwrights Horizons Dramaturg Ashley Chang serves as Editor-in-Chief.

Today, the company makes available four advance pieces from the inaugural edition, which will be published in January 2021: an introductory note from Artistic Director Adam Greenfield and the new short plays Double Take, by Mia Chung; Morning, by Jean Ann Douglas; and Tellit To Me In My Ear, by James Ijames.

The magazine's full inaugural edition, devoted to time and temporality, will include contributions from:

Playwrights: Brittany K. Allen, Will Arbery, Clare Barron, Agnes Borinsky, Kirsten Childs, Mia Chung, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Jean Ann Douglass, Larissa Fasthorse, Dave Harris, Zora Howard, James Ijames, C.A. Johnson, Hansol Jung, Sylvia Khoury, Craig Lucas, Robert O'Hara, Heather Raffo, and Sanaz Toossi.

Theater Artists: Raja Feather Kelly, Angela Lewis, Arnulfo Maldonado, J. Mallory McCree, Rodrigo Muñoz, Taylor Reynolds, and David Zinn.

Playwrights Horizons Artistic Directors: André Bishop (1981 - 1992), Bob Moss (Founder, 1971 - 1981), Don Scardino (1992 - 1996), Tim Sanford (1996 - 2020), and Adam Greenfield (Present).

Playwrights Horizons Staff and Fellows, Past & Present: Alaine Alldaffer, Karl Baker Olson, Ashley Chang, Iman Childs, Lisa Donadio, Kim Golding, Alison Koch, Billy McEntee, Charlianne Meli, Libby Peterson, Eva Rosa, Divinia Shorter, Lizzie Stern, Ari Teplitz (consultant), Bonita Carol Thomas, May Treuhaft-Ali, Tomi Tsunoda, and Libby Zambrano.

Edited and designed by Playwrights Horizons staff, Almanac's dramaturgical and graphic team includes Jordan Best (Graphics and Digital Content Associate), Ashley Chang (Dramaturg, editor-in-chief), Iman Childs (Digital Content Editor), Adam Greenfield (Artistic Director), Billy McEntee (Communications Associate), Karl Baker Olson (Artistic Programs Manager), Kyle Sircus (Associate Managing Director), and Lizzie Stern (Literary Manager).

Playwrights Horizons Artistic Director Adam Greenfield, in his essay Making an Almanac, featured in the first issue, writes, "Confronting the intractable question of what theater might be on the other side of this pandemic, in the face of how little there is to truly know, my instinct is to look to artists to illuminate the path forward. The impact of Covid-19 has prompted broad, critical conversations within the larger artistic community about theater's past and future: our architecture, our budgeting, our pursuit of racial justice and equity. Undergoing such transformation, while also marking the organization's 50th Anniversary, Playwrights Horizons finds itself in a unique moment of reflection. In the attempt to capture the elusive, rapidly changing ideas and mindset of this critical moment, we bring you Almanac."

Ashley Chang writes, in her forthcoming Editor's note, "When our stages on 42nd Street suddenly emptied, we felt called to gather in other ways: not just to gather our thoughts but, if possible, to gather together. As Agnes Borinsky reminds us in her essay, the theater has long served as a site of gathering in both these senses. Bereft of such sites, we thought, let Almanac be our new meeting place, a forum for assembly and an occasion, too, to sort out and sift through the vagaries of this time."

She adds, speaking of this first issue, "In [these pages] you will encounter accounts of these days as they pass and have passed, chronicles of yesterday and prophecies for tomorrow. Our authors-directors and designers, actors and administrators, dramaturgs and playwrights, creators and critics-variously engage or evince time itself, its patterns as well as its ruptures. Their contributions fill three loose sections, 'Pasts,' 'Nows,' and 'Futures,' which reflect our thinking of Almanac as an offering to our future selves, a time capsule of the present, and, eventually, a record of the past."

Almanac is part of an expanding portfolio of Playwrights Horizons offerings that can be experienced virtually, from any location-and that offer paid meaningful work to artists amid the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. In the spring, Playwrights launched its podcast Soundstage, an anthological scripted audio fiction series that the organization began developing two years ago, and that offers "world premieres from world-class playwrights without having to leave your home" (The New York Times). Each episode of Soundstage is a theatrical work commissioned expressly for the medium. Writers in the first season, which has found listeners across the U.S. and in 50 other countries, have included Heather Christian, Robert O'Hara, Jordan Harrison, Qui Nguyen, Lucas Hnath, Milo Cramer, and Kirsten Childs. For Season 2, Playwrights has commissioned Eboni Booth, Agnes Borinsky, Sheila Callaghan, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, The Debate Society, Sarah Gancher, David Greenspan, Miranda Rose Hall, Dave Harris, Julia Izumi, Melissa Li, Tommy Pico, and Kit Yan.

Playwrights Horizons launched its virtual master classes, which have included presentations from Will Arbery, Clare Barron, Raja Feather Kelly, Aleshea Harris, Larissa Fasthorse, Michael R. Jackson (all of which are available to view on-demand here); and continue with master classes from Jaclyn Backhaus (November 9) and Heather Christian (November 16). Streamed live on YouTube, free of charge, Playwrights Horizons' Master Classes are lecture-style, interactive presentations that appeal to a wide range of participants. They aim to offer emerging and experienced writers and artists inspiration and techniques to inform their own practice, as well as to equip audiences with an expanded set of tools to engage with new plays. Additionally, the theater has launched several other initiatives aimed at supporting theatermakers, including a free, financial literacy webinar with financial planner Ari Teplitz; and information about remote freelance work opportunities and emergency grants.

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