2020 Playwrights Festival Artistic Teams Named For Online & Worldwide Festival

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The West Coast's premiere launchpad for exceptional plays and playwrights, Playwrights Foundation announces the artistic teams for the 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival (BAPF), featuring playwrights Tyler English-Beckwith, Stefani Kuo (e??a??ae??), Jordan Ramirez Puckett, Deneen Reynolds-Knott, and Noelle Viñas. The 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival runs July 17-26, 2020 in an online format available worldwide .

"BAPF brings together over 50 artists including top Bay Area talent with artists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and across the United States who will simultaneously, from around the world, tell these powerful stories on revolution, love, and self discovery that resonate deeply with our current times," says Executive Artistic Director Jessica Bird Beza, "Although the Festival has been around for 43 years, it feels like we are producing it for the first time. We are excited by the possibilities this new format brings to widen access and deepen our community. We are also exploring new technology using VMix to livestream the readings for a higher quality presentation than the popular Zoom."

All of the Festival plays explore the essential discovery of one's identity, the aspects that are given to you by the outside world and those you discover yourself. The playwrights navigate this journey in different ways. Tyler English-Beckwith's Mingus is an exploration of mentorship and the struggle for one black woman to find her voice. In Stefani Kuo's e??a??ae?? Final Boarding Call, Hong Kong protests are the context for interconnected personal stories, the fight for freedom, and the need for hope. Jordan Ramirez Puckett's To Saints and Stars focuses on the intersection of science and faith and the power of a lifelong friendship. Deneen Reynolds-Knott's Babes in Ho-lland is a discovery of black identity and female connection. Noelle Viñas's Derecho explores magical realism and how fragmented identity can tear you apart.

Confirmed directors for the festival are Desdemona Chiang, Margo Hall, Nicholas C. Avila, Jessica Bird Beza and Dawn Monique Williams. Each are seasoned, acclaimed theater artists, deeply connected within the Bay Area community. Laura Brueckner, Leigh Rondon-Davis, Divinia Shorter and Heather Helinsky will serve as dramaturgs.

The Festival offers public readings live streamed and hosted on Vimeo in addition to panel discussions on Facebook Live, Youtube, and directly on Playwrights Foundation's website. Tickets are available now on a sliding scale of $5-45 for wider accessibility. Theatre Professionals Weekend will take place July 24-26. Freelance artists and theatre staff are encouraged to apply for free access passes via a form listed on the website by July 2.

The Plays and Teams

Babes in Ho-lland by Deneen Reynolds-Knott, a play about discovering black identity and female connection amidst a world that threatens to destroy it, will be directed by Dawn Monique Williams, Associate Artistic Director at Aurora Theatre Company in Berkeley who has worked across the US and abroad; and dramaturgy by Leigh Rondon-Davis, they are a performer, visual artist, and dramaturg from both NYC and the Bay Area.

Derecho by Noelle Viñas, a magical realism play that explores how fragmented identity can tear you apart, will be directed by Bay Area Nicholas C. Avila, who has directed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Dever Center, La Jolla Playhouse, among others; and dramaturgy by Laura Brueckner, freelance dramaturg in the Bay Area and recent Literary Manager at Marin Theatre Company.

Final Boarding Call by Stefani Kuo e??a??ae??, an interconnected personal drama on the Hong Kong protests, the fight for freedom, and our need for hope, will be directed by Desdemona Chiang, a veteran director at BAPF and whose work has been seen at the Guthrie Theater, Alley Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Oregon Shakespeare Festival; and dramaturgy by Heather Helinsky, a freelance dramaturg based in Philadelphia and current Literary Manager for Playwrights Foundation who works independently with 35-50 writers each year.

Mingus by Tyler English-Beckwith, an exploration of mentorship within the college system for first generation students and the struggle for one black woman to find her voice, will be directed by Bay Area Margo Hall, award winning actor, director, playwright, and educator.

To Saints and Stars by Jordan Ramirez Puckett, an exploration of the intersection of science and faith and the power of a lifelong friendship, will be directed by Jessica Bird Beza, Executive Artistic Director at Playwrights Foundation and Associate Director on the Broadway musical Come From Away; and dramaturgy by Divinia Shorter, a born and raised DMV dramaturg and writer who was previously Literary Associate at Adventure Theatre MTC.


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