Lauren Gunderson's New Work FATALES to Headline 40th Annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival

Lauren Gunderson's New Work FATALES to Headline 40th Annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival

Playwrights Foundation (PF) Artistic Director Amy Mueller has announced a year-long celebration of its illustrious 40-year legacy discovering and supporting unknown playwrights, who have gone on to become some of the most important contemporary voices of American theater. Playwrights Foundation kicks off the 40th Anniversary celebration with its flagship event, the annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival (BAPF) July 14 - 23, 2017 at Custom Made Theatre, San Francisco CA.

The Festival is a two-week celebration of playwriting during which six new plays, selected from over 500 submissions, are performed as staged readings with top Bay Area actors, offering audiences an intimate experience of engaging with the creative process. Tickets go on sale June 1st. For more information, visit our new website,

BAPF has nurtured successive generations of explosive, powerful, and exceptional emerging playwrights from a vast array of cultural, ethnic, and aesthetic identities. From immigrants to asylum seekers, from citizens to resisters, Playwrights Foundation will offer a sanctuary of support for artists who engage in poetic truth-telling. Unforgettable Festival alumni, first discovered as relatively unknown writers include Sam Shepard (BAPF 1976, 1983), David Henry Hwang (1985), Anna Deveare Smith (1991), Nilo Cruz (1994, 1995), Marcus Gardley (2002), Annie Baker (2007) and Katori Hall (2008) among over 500 other.

Anchoring the 40th anniversary festival will be Fatales, a new work from the prolific and prophetic pen of Lauren Gunderson, recently named the most produced playwright in the U.S. Gunderson describes Fatales as "...wild, feminist, aesthetically progressive and ready to be seen and worked on. All female cast. A take down of violence against women everywhere." An additional five newly created works will complete the line-up, and will reflect the quality, daring, diversity and relevance on which the annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival has staked its formidable national reputation.

"I'm proud to announce that Resident Playwright alumnae Lauren Gunderson will debut a new work in development, One of the reasons PF has not just survived, but thrived, is that we are solely dedicated to amplifying the most relevant and important new voices, generation after generation. This anniversary year will be no exception", remarked Artistic Director Amy Mueller.

The full lineup will be announced in late April, along with a schedule of special events featuring local scholars and artists that will illuminate the plays, along with special anniversary events, alumni and special guests.

From its inception in 1976, PF has championed the deepest and most direct expression of the human condition. Mueller continues "As we embark on the next phase of our growth, especially within the current chaotic political and social milieu, it is especially important that we support the next generation, the voice of the 21st century, who identify as global and diverse, non-linear and poly-everything. Their transformative and relevant stories will give shape to their generation. Playwrights Foundation is a proud sanctuary for playwrights. In times of difficulty, we remain a beacon for free artistic expression by supporting writers that speak with urgency and ferocity to the issues of the day."

Playwrights Foundation's annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival is among the oldest and most successful new play festivals in the U.S. Established in 1976 by RoBert Woodruff, the festival has continuously discovered original and distinctive new voices in the theater, and invested in the development of their work. Playwrights Sam Shepard, Nilo Cruz, Bill Irwin, David Henry Hwang, Anna Deavere Smith, Maria Irene Fornes, Naomi Iizuka; and more recently, Marcus Gardley, Annie Baker, Sam Hunter, Katori Hall, Lauren Yee, Aaron Loeb, Lauren Gunderson, Kimber Lee, Aditi Brennan Kapil and George Brant are just a few of the hundreds of writers who were recognized early in their careers through the BAPF, and who are today some of the most prominent names in contemporary theater.

The BAPF serves as a forum and a showcase for vanguard, emerging and mid-career playwrights to experiment with new ideas, to develop and nurture creative collaborative relationships, and to push the boundaries of the form. The heart of the Festival is an in-depth three-week process that includes a three-day artistic retreat, two weeks of work in the studio with professional actors, directors and dramaturgs, and two weekends of public staged readings for audiences and theater community, with time between for rewrites and rehearsals. The festival also includes a host of audience/artist engagement activities, networking, panels, parties and more.

Playwrights are chosen through a rigorous open submission process anchored by a national reading group and an erudite local group of theater professionals who review an average of 500 submissions, eventually winnowing them down to six full length plays that reflect the caliber, range and daring quality that is a hallmark of the Festival.

Founded in 1976, Playwrights Foundation is today widely recognized as one of the top playwright development organizations in the U.S., dedicated to the creative development and career acceleration of contemporary playwrights. We serve emerging and mid-career playwrights, primarily from the San Francisco Bay Area, but not exclusively. 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 content in an environment that is free from the pressures 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. For more information, visit the new website,

Playwrights Foundation offers selected playwrights comprehensive resources that help them to advance the development of unfinished new works, make connections to producers and theaters interested in producing the work, advance their careers, and form partnerships with collaborators. We offer writers substantial time to focus on the unique concerns of a particular play; financial support; travel and housing for nonlocal writers; opportunities for career development, professional, high caliber actors, directors and dramaturgs; and as needed composers, musical directors, scenic designers; a rehearsal studio, table readings, monthly public readings, working retreats, and dramaturgical work.

Programs include the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, annually offering critical resources for the development of six new works; the Resident Playwrights Initiative, which provides support for ten Bay Area playwrights over a four-year residency period; and the Producing Partners Initiative, which leverages partnerships and alliances to garner support for development and production opportunities.

Playwrights Foundation is grateful for the institutional support in our anniversary year of the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the RHE Foundation, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the San Francisco Hotel Grants for the Arts, the Dramatist's Guild, the Wattis Foundation, the Osher Foundation, and the Fleishhacker Foundation, as well as many generous individuals, and sponsor, Mechanics Bank.


40th Anniversary Season of the BAY AREA PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL

Thursday, July 13 - Anniversary Gala Celebration (location TBA)

Friday, July 14 - Sunday, July 16 - Six play readings and special events

Friday, July 21 - Sunday, July 23 - Six play readings and special events

At Custom Made Theatre 533 Sutter St, Francisco CA 94103

Single tickets, 3-show FlexPasses, and VIP All Access Passes go on sale JUNE 1st.

Info: or by calling 415-626-2176


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