Bay Area Playwrights Festival Brings RESISTANCE & REVOLUTION at Potrero Stage

The Playwrights Foundation, a launchpad for exceptional plays and playwrights announces the lineup for the 2018 Bay Area Playwrights Festival (BAPF) running July 20-29, 2018. The six Playwrights were selected from more than 700 submissions nationally, 85% from outside the bay area, from more than 2 dozen states and Canada - coast to coast a very North American cohort.

The six plays in #BAPF2018 are by playwrights Jon Bernson, Dustin Chinn, Kristiana Rae Colón, Patricia Cotter, T.D. Mitchell, and Madhuri Shekar. This year's line-up includes a widely diverse and artistically challenging group of playwrights; all six are emerging talents. Echoing our turbulent times, all of the plays explore turning-points in past or future history, moments where worlds shift and the rules change.

The 2018 Bay Area Playwrights Festival runs July 20-29, 2018 at Potrero Stage, 1895 18th St in San Francisco. In addition to twelve staged readings, the Festival will offer a Theater Professionals weekend 7/27-29, special events and a kick-off fundraiser on 7/15. Tickets on sale June 1st at

Resistance and revolution are in the air this year and the BAPF playwrights are delving into the most pressing issues of our times in a fantastic array of styles. Empowered women warriors take center stage as black girl badassery combats a harrowing dystopian future in SUSPENSION by Kristina Rae Colón, and an all-female bodyguard force rebel against oppression in a mythic 17th century Imperial Harem in HOUSE OF JOY by Madhuri Shekar. The reach and power of government are questioned in VRTU-L by T.D. Mitchell, an exposé of the modern warrior's reliance on VR and IA, and in WHEN LIGHTING THE VOIDS by Jon Bernson, the story of a tragic explosion at a Gulf Coast shipyard commissioned by Storyworks and The Center for Investigative Reporting. Dustin Chinn's COLONIALISM IS TERRIBLE, BUT PHO IS DELICIOUS, and Patricia Cotter's THE DAUGHTERS both take us on comical social and political journeys through history by tracing the trials and tribulations of a Vietnamese bowl of noodle soup (Chinn) and chronicling the changing landscape of the Lesbian movement through the clubs and bars of San Francisco. (Cotter).

"BAPF 2018 will be a super-charged ride into six completely different worlds," says artistic director Amy Mueller. "The Festival includes everything that's exciting about theater - stories that engage and enrage you, that allow you to imagine the power of the individual to fight back, that make you laugh until it hurts, make you feel deep emotion, and take you on a journey to new places. More than that, being in the room when a play is raw and unfinished is an intimate invitation to your imagination. Every year Festival plays and playwrights go on to productions around the Bay Area and that nation. By coming to the Festival, you get to be there at the beginning."


JON BERNSON is a playwright, musician and interdisciplinary artist from San Francisco. He is a former artist-in-residence at the de Young Museum and a current member of the RPI program at Playwrights Foundation. ernson's prolific and varied works tend to be site-specific and exploratory. In Distant Future Symposium, he fuses science fiction, live music and repurposed YouTube footage. PDX to OAK is an interactive play, written for six actors and fourteen passengers on an overnight train trip from Portland to Oakland. Bernson's StoryWorks play, Overnighters is Over re-imagines Jesse Moss's Sundance award-winning film as an immersive multimedia experience. Logbook is an audiobook which is comprised of twelve pirate broadcasts that interrupted the programming of international television stations between 1986 and 2009. As a musician, Bernson has released more than twenty albums under several names, including Exray's, whose music was featured in David Fincher's Academy-Award winning film, The Social Network. Recent installations include Sound Affects, a large-scale multimedia collaboration at the Sonos Studio in Los Angeles and Beautification Machine, his sound-sculpture with Andy Diaz Hope, which opened at Catherine Clark Gallery before it was collected by the Nevada Museum of Art. god(s)(dess)(es) - another collaboration with Hope - was voted Best-in-Show at Richmond Virginia's 2016 InLight Festival. In addition to his participation in BAPF, Bernson will be in residence this summer at The Growlery in San Francisco working on Third Eye Moonwalk, a large-scale performance and sound installation to be exhibited and staged at Minnesota Street Project in October 2018.

DUSTIN CHINN is a Seattle native whose plays include Snowflakes, Or Rare White People, I Am Nakamura, The Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan Commission Herschel: Portrait Of A Killer and Let's Ninja Science Ranger Team Get! He's developed work at the Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep Summer Residency Lab, A.C.T.'s New Strands Festival, the University of Washington via a Mellon Creative Fellowship, SPACE on Ryder Farm, UMass at Amherst New Play Lab and Vampire Cowboys. He's also written for the 52nd Street Project. Dustin is a member of the Ars Nova Play Group and Ma-Yi Writers Lab. BA: Cornell University.

KRISTIANA RAE COLÓN is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, Cave Canem Fellow, creator of #BlackSexMatters and co-director of the #LetUsBreathe Collective. She was awarded 2017 Best Black Playwright by The Black Mall. In 2016, her plays good friday had its world premiere at Oracle Productions, Octagon its American premiere at Jackalope Theater in Chicago, and but i cd only whisper had its American premiere at The Flea in New York. Octagon was the winner of Arizona Theater Company's 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award and Polarity Ensemble Theater's Dionysus Festival of New Work, and had its 2015 world premiere at the Arcola Theater in London. In 2013, she toured the UK for two months with her collection of poems promised instruments, winner of the inaugural Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize and published by Northwestern University Press. Kristiana is an alum of the Goodman Theater's Playwrights Unit where she developed florissant & canfield, an epic reimagining of the Ferguson protests, which was featured in the 2016 Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival. She is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and one half of the brother/sister hip-hop duo April Fools. She appeared on the fifth season of HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Kristiana's writing, producing, and organizing work to radically reimagine power structures, our complicity in them, and visions for liberation.

PATRICIA COTTER is a Resident Playwright at Playwrights Foundation, class of 2019. Awards include American Academy of Arts Letters, Richard Rodgers Award, three-time Heideman Award Finalist, Emmy Award. Plays include Drinking on A Plane performed as part of Actors Theatre of Louisville's The Tens in 2018, Rules of Comedy which was produced in 2015 Humana Festival Ten-Minute Plays and The Anthropology Section, previously performed as part of Actors Theatre of Louisville's The Tens in 2015. Other plays include 1980 (Or Why I'm Voting For John Anderson) Chicago's Jackalope Theatre 2017, The Surrogate, production Centenary Stage Company, NJ, 2017 and The Break Up Notebook (a GLAAD Award nominee). Musicals (librettist/ adaptations) include Rocket Science: A Musical, received readings at Playwrights' Horizons in New York (directed by Kathleen Marshall) and was produced at The Village Theatre, Seattle; The Break Up Notebook: A Musical (based on her play), at The Vineyard Theatre in New York and produced at Hudson Theatre, Los Angeles, and Mulan, Jr., based on the Disney film Mulan. She has written for Twentieth Century Fox Television, Disney Theatrical and Comedy Central. .

T.D. Mitchell's previous plays include A Gray Matter, In Dog Years, Madame Red, The Crowd, Beyond the 17th Parallel, and Queens For A Year. Her work has appeared at the Ojai Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Wet Ink Festival, Pacific Rep, EST's Octoberfest, and Estrogenius, among others. Seattle ACT received an NEA Artistic Excellent Grant for Beyond the 17th Parallel, which is also being adapted for film. Queens For A Year, which premiered at Hartford Stage, was named "One of the 50 Notable Productions of 2016" (The Stage Review) and was nominated for the Pulitzer. In TV, she is a writer for ABC's "Army Wives," and won a 2010 Norman Lear Sentinel Award for Primetime Drama. Other honors include: 2015-16 Women in Arts and Media Collaboration, Nathan Miller History, and Reverie Next Generation Playwriting awards. Semi-finalist or runner-up: Princess Grace, New Dramatists, Blue Ink, Jane Chambers, Nicholl Screenwriting, others. Mitchell recently completed artist residencies at both Yaddo and Marble House Project, where she started a new play, The Double. She also contributed a short play to Imagine: Yemen, which premiered at Signature Theatre in New York in June. Her essays for Verbal Supply Company, speechwriting for international philanthropic organizations, and magazine articles exemplify her multi-format, cross-genre work.

MADHURI SHEKAR is a playwright based in New York City, and a current fellow of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard. Her play House Of Joy most recently had a showcase at the Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Rep, and has been developed at the Atlantic Theatre's Asian American MixFest, Juilliard, New York Stage and Film, and Pratidhwani Theatre. She is currently developing Evil Eye (a commission from Audible), Hockey Play (a commission from South Coast Rep) and Miriam For President, which will be produced at Victory Gardens in 2019, directed by Chay Yew. Her play Queen had its World Premiere in April 2017 at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago, was nominated for a Jeff Award for Best New Play and made the 2017 Kilroy's List. She is the 2013/14 winner of the Kendeda Graduate Playwriting contest held by the ALLIANCE THEATRE for her play IN LOVE AND WARCRAFT, for which they did the world premiere production. It is published by Samuel French and is now being produced around the country and abroad. The ALLIANCE THEATRE then commissioned and produced two further plays - Bucket Of Blessings and Antigone, Presented By The Girls Of St. Catherine's. Her play A Nice Indian Boy had its world premiere at East West Players, and has been produced in Chicago by the Rasaka Theatre Company and EnActe Arts in San Francisco. Her plays have also been developed or showcased at Center Theatre Group, The Old Globe, the Kennedy Center, the Hedgebrook Playwrights Festival (in conjunction with Seattle Rep) and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She has an MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC, and a dual Master's degree in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and USC. She is a member of the Ma-Yi writers lab and the Ars Nova Play Group in New York, and a co-creator of the Shakespearean web series, Titus And Dronicus.


The BAPF is the oldest and most successful new play festival for new works in their developmental stages in the US. Established in 1976 by Robert Woodruff, the festival has continuously discovered original and distinctive new voices in the theater, invested in the development of their work, and launched their careers. Among the first crop of writers at the inaugural BAPF was the young Sam Shepard - little did Woodruff know at that time how Shepard's work would shape the landscape of American theatre. Since then over 500 prize winning, nationally significant playwrights got their first professional experiences at the BAPF. Examples include Pulitzer Prize winners Nilo Cruz and Annie Baker, MacArthur Award winners Anna Deavere Smith and Sam Hunter, recent Glickman award winners Peter Nachtrieb, Liz Duffy Adams, Aaron Loeb, Chris Chen, Lauren Yee, and Marcus Gardley, as well as the early development of works by David Henry Hwang, Paula Vogel, Claire Chafee, Anne Washburn, as well as Katori Hall and Rajiv Joseph prior to their Broadway debuts, as well as many others. The BAPF's ongoing success in discovering and supporting exceptional, newly emerging writers, and launching their ground-breaking new work is its enduring legacy.


Founded in 1976, Playwrights Foundation is today widely recognized as one of the top new play incubators in the U.S., dedicated to the creative development and career acceleration of contemporary playwrights. We serve emerging and mid-career playwrights,from the Bay Area and around the country. We seek to identify exceptional writers and give them space, time and professional artistic collaborators to explore new theatrical ideas, allowing them to experiment and take risks with structure, form and/or content in an environment that is free from thepressures of the marketplace. Playwrights we have worked with have won every award in the theater including the Pulitzer, the Obie, the National Critics Circle Award, and many more.


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