Cygnet Theatre and Playwrights Project to Present Third Annual New Play Festival, 11/7-9

Cygnet Theatre, in collaboration with Playwrights Project, is proud to present the third annual Playwrights in Process: New Play Festival. Cygnet Theatre has long been committed to celebrating human stories through the medium of live theatre. Playwrights in Process will present four readings of new plays by selected Southern California playwrights. The four winning plays were selected from more than 160 submissions - more than triple the number from last year - with three of the playwrights coming from the San Diego region.

This festival will introduce San Diego playgoers to new works along with offering a series of workshops designed to introduce curious audiences to the art of new play development. An exciting feature of the three-day festival at Cygnet's Old Town Theatre is facilitated talk-backs with each playwright following the readings.

"Cygnet Theatre is firmly dedicated to the fostering of new plays and emerging playwrights," said Artistic Director Sean Murray. "We learn from each festival and think these plays will create a valuable experience for the playwright while providing an opportunity for audiences to be engaged and provide input."

Playwrights in Process 2014: Playwrights and Synopsis

WIDOWER, by David Jacobi

When a boy caught between unfit, divorced parents is left home alone at a Southwestern trailer park, he makes friends with his drug addicted dad's jilted ex-lover who is trying to ransack the joint. There, his father's kinda-ex-girlfriend teaches him some hard life-lessons.

Jacobi's plays have been performed throughout the U.S. and in China including the Kennedy Center where Widower had a previous reading . His work has been developed at Portland Center Stage's JAW Festival, Cutting Ball Theater's RISK IS THIS, Great Plains Theatre Conference Mainstage, WordBRIDGE and The Flea. He is the recipient of the Holland New Voices Award. He received a BFA in Dramatic Writing from Purchase College and is currently enrolled in UC San Diego's MFA Playwriting program under the tutelage of Naomi Iizuka. David is co-founder of Monster Down! Theatre Company, a collaborative theatre group operating out of NYC and Beijing.

SILUETA, by Diana Burbano, Tom Shelton, and Chris Shelton

Silueta is a two person show based on the true story of Ana Mendieta, who fell 34 stories to her death in 1985. Almost three decades later her ghost returns to ask her husband a question for which she needs an answer: Did he push her?

Burbano was born in Colombia and has been performing professionally since the age of 12. She is an inaugural member of the Latino Theatre Association/LA's Writer Circle and a Teaching Artist at South Coast Repertory. She acts and writes in both English and Spanish.

Tom Shelton is a writer/composer as well as an actor. He is one of the writers of Caddie Woodlawn, published by Samuel French, as well as other musicals, an opera and a string of successful murder mysteries for The Gourmet Detective."

Chris Shelton is a Directing Fellow at the Sundance Institute and has directed, produced and written many television programs and series for PBS.

COOKIES FOR PRISONERS, by Thelma Virata de Castro

Margie bakes cookies for prisoners, takes in stray people and advocates for underdogs, but all bets are off when it comes to tolerating her own son. All the characters in this play are hiding horrible secrets in the kookiest ways.

Cookies for Prisoners was first developed in Stephen Metcalfe's playwriting class at Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company. Virata de Castro's plays are included in the Asian American Women Playwrights Archive at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She received a residency at Hedgebrook, and is a proud supporter of the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. She is former Literary Manager of San Diego Asian American Repertory Theatre, and is the founder of San Diego Playwrights.

MANNEQUINS, by Paul-David Halem

Life is more interesting if it's not what it seems to be. Fade in on a successful actor trying to read a hot new film script. Phone calls, delusional friends, and a hunky burglar disrupt his the mannequins watch.

Halem grew up and trained as an actor in New York and worked off and off Broadway as a teen. He earned a BA in Drama at San Francisco State. Four years ago, he decided to try playwriting and found that his years as an actor helped develop an ear for dialogue. Halem has since written four plays: Life Cycles had its World Premiere at PowPac Theater; Brothers Lipschitz, premiered at the Broadway Vista last November and his drama The Bridge had a stage reading and is getting ready for its next step.

Schedule: 3rd Annual Playwrights in Process

FRIDAY, November 7

7 PM Opening Reception, Cygnet Theatre's Elaine Lipinsky Patio
8 PM Reading: Cookies for Prisoners

SATURDAY, November 8

3 PM Workshop 1 - You Have a Draft. Now What?
4:30 PM Workshop 2 - Picking A Season
8 PM Reading: Widower

SUNDAY, November 9

2 PM Reading:Silueta
4:15 PM Workshop 3 - The Art of Design
7 PM Reading: Mannequin


You Have a Draft. Now What?

This two track workshop addresses what to do after the draft is finished without alienating your friends and colleagues. It will help you the playwright find tools to evaluate character, structure, audience understanding, story arc etc. The second track will focus on getting the play into the world including securing the rights, choosing a theatre, following submission guidelines, how to choose an excerpt for submission, what image does your title create for an audience, etc.

Picking a Season

Up to three Artistic Directors speak on what goes into choosing their seasons: mission, audience, previous selections, time-of-year, thematic possibilities, competition in marketplace, artistic vs. financial needs, subscriber appeal vs. engaging new audiences.

The Art of Design

A scenic, lighting, costume, and sound designer each offers insight into how they would approach design elements on a Playwrights in Process play. They will speak about their process, where they get inspiration, how they would interact with playwright, director, other designers. These designers will reference an actual PIP script and may create some design element to accompany the panel (e.g. a costume sketch, scenic design, sound or instrumental influences, etc.).


Festival Pass: $40

Includes access to:

- All 4 Play Readings

- All of the Workshops

- Kickoff Reception on the Elaine Lipinsky Patio on Friday night

Ticket to One Reading: $15

Includes access to:

- 1 Play Reading

- All of the Workshops

Tickets can be purchased by phone at 619-337-1525, online at or by visiting the Box Office at 4040 Twiggs St.

About Cygnet Theatre - More than a decade after taking flight, Cygnet Theatre has grown into one of San Diego's leading theatre companies and become known for producing adventurous, entertaining and thought-provoking live professional theater theatre year round. Cygnet presents at least six main stage productions annually, ranging from classics and musicals to contemporary work that celebrate the human story at the recently renovated, state-of the-art Old Town Theatre in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Sean Murray and Executive Director Bill Schmidt, Cygnet has won more than 100 local awards for artistic excellence, including Theatre of the Year, Producer of the Year and multiple Best Production awards. In addition, Cygnet Theatre is committed to education outreach, new play development and community collaborations. For more information, visit

About Playwrights Project - Playwrights Project is a nonprofit organization devoted to arts education. Founded in 1985, Playwrights Project reaches up to 15,000 people annually through programs proven to:

* Teach the power of spoken and written language

* Nurture promising young writers

* Develop theatre artists and audiences

* Honor older individuals by dramatizing their life stories

Along with classroom programs, Playwrights Project conducts the annual California Young Playwrights Contest for writers under the age of 19, and professionally produces the winning scripts. Programs also dramatize stories from the lives of seniors, foster youth, and underserved populations and support the development of emerging playwrights. For more information visit

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