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New Plays Announced For 2022 Bay Area Playwrights Festival

Tickets to attend or stream the readings, priced on a sliding scale, will be available in July.

Playwrights Foundation, the West Coast's premier launchpad for exceptional new plays and playwrights, has announced its lineup for the 45th Annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival (BAPF) which will be presented as a hybrid (in-person and streamed) festival July 29 - August 7, 2022. Selected from 240 applicants via a committee process with 150 readers (the majority of whom are also playwrights), five powerful plays by five exciting new voices will receive public readings and workshops in this year's festival. Tickets to attend or stream the readings, priced on a sliding scale, will be available in July. For more information the public may visit or call 415-626-2176.

Spotlighting the power of human connection, the works include an intimate drama of luminous personal revolution between siblings; a taut, biting comedy about a Black female screenwriter facing plagiarism claims from a White male author; a poetic and silence-shattering exploration of love, caregiving, and illness in a community of lesbian elders; a witty deep dive into resilience, belonging, and the yearning for second chances among a trio of strangers from different cultures set in the American South; and a boldly theatrical bilingual family drama about a millennial healthcare worker and three generations of unbreakable bonds.

The playwrights represented this year are HBO and Shondaland screenwriter/playwright Inda Craig-Galván, award-winning novelist Elana Dykewomon who is writing her first play in her 70s, acclaimed Bay Area performer and playwright Denmo Ibrahim, multitalented writer/director/actor Iraisa Ann Reilly, and award-winning director/playwright Sharifa Yasmin.

Building on the success of the previous two online festivals, Playwrights Foundation will launch an innovative hybrid structure for the 2022 BAPF, including virtual and in-person reading presentations. The festival is scheduled to welcome in-person audiences over two weekends at Potrero Stage in San Francisco, CA and to live stream readings online during its second weekend only, allowing audiences around the globe to experience exhilarating new work by emerging theater artists.

Of the five festival scripts, three plays are scheduled to be read live onstage by actors, and two plays will be offered as digital workshops presented to Potrero Stage audiences on screen via watch parties. This combination of physical and virtual processes provides the opportunity for artists to enjoy the most agency and freedom possible, transforming digital theatre necessities of the pandemic into a springboard for ongoing innovation. Three playwrights have chosen to gather intimately with collaborators for energized in-person explorations, while digital processes will allow the other two playwrights to break geographic boundaries as well as offering additional safety for high-risk practitioners as they build their artistic teams. All plays will invite in-person audiences to gather at Potrero Stage for both festival weekends and all plays will also live stream online to viewers at home the second weekend. Additional engagement conversations and artistic events will be announced at a later date.

"We celebrate the 45th Bay Area Playwrights Festival and its impactful legacy over the years with our most ambitious festival to date. Producing online theatre these past few years has elevated access across the world, and we are dedicated to building a future of hybrid programming for greater inclusivity of both playwrights' and audiences' needs," Said Executive Artistic Director, Jessica Bird Beza, "We can't wait to uplift this powerful cohort of five playwrights and their new plays about resilience, unbreakable bonds, honesty, love, and the life-changing moments that snap us into deep relationship with others. In a different way, each script illuminates the power of human connection."

Bay Area Playwrights Festival is one of the oldest and most successful new play festivals for new works in their early stages. Established in 1976 by acclaimed director Robert Woodruff and now led by Executive Artistic Director Jessica Bird Beza, the festival has built a stellar reputation for uplifting original and distinctive new voices in the theater, investing in the development of their work, and launching storied careers. Among the first writers developed at the inaugural BAPF was the young Sam Shepard. Since then, more than 500 prize-winning, nationally significant playwrights have received their first professional experience at the BAPF. Among the American theater's brightest voices who are alumni of the festival are Pulitzer Prize winners Sam Shepard, Nilo Cruz, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Paula Vogel, and Annie Baker; MacArthur Award winner Anna Deavere Smith; Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang; and acclaimed playwrights Lauren Gunderson, Rajiv Joseph, Katori Hall, Christopher Chen, Lauren Yee, and Marcus Gardley. BAPF's ongoing success in supporting and amplifying exceptional, newly emerging writers and launching their ground-breaking new work is its enduring legacy.

In addition to the selected playwrights, Playwrights Foundation is announcing five honorable mention plays from the Finalist list: Cercle Hermaphroditos by Shualee Cook, Black Girl Joy by Phanesia Pharel, Morbid Obesity Surprise Intervention Birthday Party by Amy Gijsbers van Wijk, Brown Face by Carissa Atallah, and Berlindia! by Daniel Holzman. "Our dedicated community of national and local Bay Area readers are such passionate advocates of the plays we read, they've challenged us to live up to our Purpose, Vision, and Values of championing more writers we love on a national level." says Literary Manager Heather Helinsky. "Honorable Mention writers are offered one-on-one literary consultation and will be featured at the festival. These five Honorable Mention writers have highly theatrical stories and strong voices with compelling stories of trans history and community, a ritual healing plays for black girls, characters navigating identity politics in Spoken Word poetry, Bay Area siblings wandering around strange new worlds, and body positive empowerment."

In June 2022, Playwrights Foundation will open new applications for playwrights interested in consideration for the 46th Bay Area Playwrights Festival in 2023. This new timeline, a departure from the organization's legacy schedule of a Fall application window, will allow for more space in the review, selection, and producing process. Interested playwrights can check Playwrights Foundation's website on June 1st for more details on exact requirements and application deadlines.

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