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PlayGround Announces Lineup For 26th Annual PlayGround Festival Of New Works At Potrero Stage & Simulcast

A preeminent showcase for the next generation of great playwrights, the PlayGround Festival of New Works has helped launch dozens of the Bay Area's most promising writers

PlayGround Announces Lineup For 26th Annual PlayGround Festival Of New Works At Potrero Stage & Simulcast

PlayGround has announced the full lineup for its 26th annual FESTIVAL OF NEW WORKS, running May 9-29, returning for in-person performances at Potrero Stage, where the festival has been based since 2008, and, new this year, all simulcast online.

A preeminent showcase for the next generation of great playwrights, the PlayGround Festival of New Works has helped launch dozens of the Bay Area's most promising early-career writers, including five of the past nine Will Glickman Award winners recognized for "excellence in playwriting". This year's festival features more than a dozen new short and full-length plays, from developmental staged readings to premiere presentations, including premieres of Rachel Bublitz's FUNNY, LIKE AN ABORTION, Daysha Veronica's THE DELIVERANCE (a PlayGround-LA commission), and PlayGround's twenty-sixth short play fest, BEST OF PLAYGROUND 26. The festival will also include staged readings of new full-length works by Lauren Gorski, Anne Yumi Kobori, Molly Olis Krost and Christian Wilburn, as well as short works by the Bay Area's top high school dramatists, and an opening night panel discussion and party with PlayGround's producers. All events are admission-free (donations gratefully accepted) and simulcast, with on-demand access through June 30. Advance reservations required (in-person attendees must be fully vaccinated, including booster, and wear a KN95 or higher efficiency mask). For more information or to reserve tickets, visit https://playground-sf.org/festival.

PlayGround Festival Schedule (all events at 7pm PDT)

FESTIVAL KICK-OFF & OPENING PANEL


May 9, 2022 @ 7pm PDT

PlayGround kicks off its 26th annual Festival of New Works with a special panel discussion on the future of PlayGround, locally and nationally, featuring PlayGround producers.

14th annual YOUNG PLAYWRIGHTS PROJECT
May 13, 2022 @ 7pm PDT
https://playground-sf.org/youngplaywrights

An evening of short works by the Bay Area's top high school dramatists, submitted as part of the 14th annual Young Playwrights Contest and inspired by this year's prompt, LORE: plays adapted from the myths and legends of our people. Submission deadline is April 25 and the four finalists will be announced on May 2.

BEST OF PLAYGROUND 26: The 26th annual short play fest (Festival Premiere)


May 14 & May 15, 2022 @ 7pm PDT
https://playground-sf.org/bestof

Gently Down by Monique Hafen Adams, directed by Norman Gee
In Search of an Ending by Akaina Ghosh, directed by Tracy Ward
Nutcracker Sweets by Jennifer Le Blanc, directed by Jim Kleinmann
Arpilleras by Justin P. Lopez, directed by Katja Rivera
They Dun It by Alanna McFall, directed by Tessa Corrie
A Cow Named Bo by Eteya Trinidad, directed by Ely Sonny Orquiza

FESTIVAL STAGED READINGS

May 16, 20, 23, 27 @ 7pm PDT
https://playground-sf.org/festivalreadings

Starlight by Christian Wilburn, directed by Claire Ganem (May 16)
The Bramford by Lauren Gorski, directed by Susi Damilano (May 20)
The Window Affair by Anne Yumi Kobori, directed by Tessa Corrie (May 23)
Nanay by Molly Olis Krost, directed by Ely Sonny Orquiza (May 27)

THE DELIVERANCE by Daysha Veronica (Festival Premiere)
Directed by Kimberly Ridgeway
May 21 & May 22, 2022 @ 7pm PDT
https://playground-sf.org/thedeliverance

In the midst of a devastating trade war, climate change, and increasing racial tension, an aging and injured black farmer and his family struggle with how to maintain their faith in each other, the land, their history and the future of farming when an investor takes interest in buying their land. The Deliverance is a PlayGround-LA commission and was originally developed as part of the 25th annual PlayGround Festival of New Works.

FUNNY, LIKE AN ABORTION by Rachel Bublitz (Festival Premiere)

Directed by Giovanna Sardelli
May 28 & May 29, 2022 @ 7pm PDT
https://playground-sf.org/funnylikeanabortion

Monroe finds herself knocked up, and since abortions are illegal in the United States, she throws a surprise abortion party with her best friend Jade. Monroe prepares over twenty at home abortion options for them to sort through, neither will walk away until they select the best of all of these terrible options. But that's not all! Come on down for juggling, a tap dancing number, and a horrific view at what our future may hold. A comedic two-hander in one scene featuring Rosie Hallett and Isabel To. Funny, Like An Abortion was originally developed as part of the 25th annual PlayGround Festival of New Works.

About the Playwrights

Monique Hafen Adams (BoP26, Gently Down), she/her, is an actress who has performed on stages across the Bay Area (ACT, TheatreWorks, SF Playhouse, SJ Stage, SJ Rep, Center REP). As the pandemic threw us all into our own personal chaos, Monique decided to double down in her passion for theatre. Left without a way to experience art in the real world, Monique escaped into her own words. A new mom, Monique would like to give credit to her writing assistant, Ella, now 8 months old. Monique is a graduate of Santa Clara University's Theatre Department.

Rachel Bublitz (Festival Premiere, Funny, Like An Abortion), she/her, is a playwright and mom. She received the 2020 Will Glickman Award for Z Space's world premiere production of her play Ripped. Other plays include Burst (developed with PlayGround, Utah Shakespeare Festival, MACH 33 Festival from Caltech and Pasadena Playhouse, and more), The Night Witches (commissioned and produced by Egyptian YouTheatre, published with Dramatic Publishing), and Let's Fix Andy (developed at the Wyoming Theater Festival, finalist for the 2018 Bay Area Playwrights Festival). She was awarded the June Anne Baker Prize from PlayGround in 2015. When she isn't writing, she's chasing after her two viking-like kids. RachelBublitz.com.

Akaina Ghosh (BoP26, In Search of an Ending), they/them, is a non-binary theater artist. They've debuted original works at numerous Bay Area venues including PianoFight, Z-Below, TheatreFIRST, and The Flight Deck. They are a two-time recipient of 3GirlsTheatre's Innovator's Series Grant. In 2020, Akaina was a semi-finalist in the National Alliance for Musical Theater's 15-Minute Musical Challenge with selections from their original folk musical Lilith. They are passionate about reconstructing historically significant narratives through a gender expansive lens and generating new works that center queer voices and perspectives. Follow Akaina's work at akainaghosh.com.

Lauren Gorski (Festival Reading, The Bramford), she/her, has a Master's in Professional Writing with emphasis in Stage and Screen from the University of Southern California. She writes fiction, poetry, screenplays, and stageplays. Her fiction and poetry have been featured in "apt", "Badlands", "Jersey Devil Press", "Underground Voices", and elsewhere. Her plays have been performed for the Hollywood Fringe, PlayGround (including the Best of Festival), PianoFight's ShortLived series, and more. She is a past playwright-in-residence with PlayGround San Francisco. She is also the Comics & Film Editor of Exposition Review, a multi-genre digital literary journal.

Anne Yumi Kobori (Festival Reading, The Window Affair), she/her, is a Japanese-American playwright, actor, producer, director, and teaching artist. As a director, she has worked with Utopia Theatre Project, EnActe Arts, Los Altos Youth Theatre, and SF Shakespeare Festival, where she spent 5 years as Education Program Manager. She has written multiple short plays: for production: THE ART OF SUFFRAGE (Best of PlayGround 25), NEW YEAR, COWARD'S FLAME, GIVE ME THE SKY (MondayNightPlayGround), SIMULATION (Pear Theatre), ROSES IN THE DESERT (Dragon Theatre) and THE DISAPPEARANCE OF BETTY LA ROSE (Neighborhood Stories). Her full-length plays SEEDS and EVERY DAY ALICE, and her adaptation of Chekhov's THE SEAGULL have premiered with Utopia Theatre Project. Currently, Anne is a co-writer for Braided, a play exploring Native American liberation and Japanese American resilience, in development with Theatre of Yugen. Recent projects include Script Co-Conspirator for A.C.T.'s production of Neo Symposium, and the Pear Slices short play festival with Pear Theatre, where she is a Playwrights' Guild member. BA Theatre Arts, summa cumlaude, Santa Clara University. www.anneyumikobori.com.

Molly Olis Krost (Festival Reading, Nanay), they/she, is a Filipina Jewish playwright splitting their time between the Bay Area and Seattle. Their plays explore the constant collisions of the human experience: collisions with others, with our society, and within ourselves. They incorporate ritual and faith, in a variety of forms, to manifest the emotions that often exist beyond words. They love to blur the line between reality and the fantastical and all the creative possibilities that can create for the artists they collaborate with. Their play NANAY was a semi-finalist for the National Playwrights Conference and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Their play WHAT WE FOUND was a finalist for the National Jewish Play Contest and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.

Jennifer Le Blanc (BoP26, Nutcracker Sweets), she/her, adapted Jane Austen's Persuasion which received its world-premiere at San Jose Stage Company and Defoe's Moll Flanders which received its world-premiere at Pacific Repertory Theatre. She wrote We Made Bread, a one-woman show adapted from interviews, for Perspective Theatre Company (formerly Arabian Shakespeare Festival). Jennifer has contributed short plays to Shotz, Perspective Theatre Company's New Works Festival, and Our Digital Stories. Jennifer received her BA in English Literature from U.C. Berkeley and her MFA in Acting from the National Theatre Conservatory. She is an associate artist with the Perspective Theatre Company and Livermore Shakespeare Festival.

Justin P. Lopez (BoP26, Arpilleras), he/him, is an actor, singer, writer, and boba-milk-tea enthusiast, who loves to find true connection and humanity in each script and song. Justin's work has been presented by several companies, including Custom Made Theatre Company, The Pear Theatre, and Ross Valley Players. His new play, The Re-Education of Fernando Morales, was a finalist for the 2021 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. As an actor, recent credits include the world premieres of Kiss My Aztec! (Berkeley Repertory Theatre) and Unbreakable by Andrew Lippa (SFGMC). Find out what else Justin is up to at www.justinplopez.com

Alanna McFall (BoP26, They Dun It), she/her, is a novelist and playwright. Her novel, The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus, was published by Atthis Arts. She was a company Resident Playwright for two seasons and has been featured in Best of PlayGround 22 and 23. Alanna was the 2019 recipient of the June Anne Baker Prize.

Eteya Trinidad (BoP26, A Cow Named Bo), she/her, is a playwright, stage manager, and theater artist. Her full-length play, La Sirena, was recognized as a finalist for the 2019 Bay Area Playwrights Festival and received a staged reading at Ross Valley Players. She wrote and directed her first play, La Mestiza's Colors, with the College Players at the University of San Francisco. Since then, her work has been seen at San Francisco Olympians Festival, Amios West, 3Girls Theatre, and Theatre is the Cure, among others.

Daysha Veronica (Festival Premiere, The Deliverance), she/her, is a playwright, author, digital media producer, MFA candidate at UCLA and a Television Academy Foundation Internship alum. Her plays have been workshopped/performed at UC San Diego, UCLA, Meet Cute LA, Celebration Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop and PlayGround-LA. She has also received recognition/awards for her work from The Kennedy Center, Playwrights Foundation, Kentucky Women Writers Conference, UCLA, UC San Diego, University of Central Florida, and PlayGround-LA. Her digital work has appeared on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, BuzzFeed, Refinery29, and The Huffington Post. Social: @DayshaVeronica.

Christian Wilburn (Festival Reading, Starlight) is a San Francisco based writer whose work blends the deeply personal and the fantastical. Christian has been working with PlayGround frequently over the past three years; being featured in Monday Night PlayGround, Best of PlayGround, and the PlayGround Playwright Residency Program. Christian thanks PlayGround for commissioning this piece based on his short play, Sasha and the Angelier, which won the People's Choice Award for Best of PlayGround 2021. Christian is a graduate of Santa Clara University and holds an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco.

Founded in 1994 by Jim Kleinmann, Brighde Mullins and Denise Shama, PlayGround has grown into the Bay Area's leading playwright incubator and theatre community hub, with a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, helping to uplift and center artists from historically underrepresented communities. Over the past 28 years, PlayGround has supported more than 300 early-career playwrights, developing and staging over 1,000 of their original short plays through PlayGround's signature programs, Monday Night PlayGround and the PlayGround Festival of New Works. PlayGround has also commissioned 90 new full-length plays by 60 of these writers through its Commissioning Initiative and has directly facilitated the premiere of 34 of those works through its innovative New Play Production Fund. Over the past 28 years, PlayGround has developed a unique model for identifying and nurturing the Bay Area's best new writers, while helping them to build a significant body of original work and lasting connections with the artistic collaborators they need to know to ensure their success. PlayGround expanded to Los Angeles in 2012 and to NYC in 2021, and is launching PlayGround-Chicago this fall.

In 2015, PlayGround signed a long-term lease to operate the former Thick House Theater, where PlayGround has produced its festival since 2008. Following a successful $300,000 renovation which included new theatrical lighting, seating, signage, and upgrades to the lobby, box office and restrooms, PlayGround reopened the theatre in February 2017 as Potrero Stage: PlayGround Center for New Plays. In addition to supporting PlayGround's expanding new play programs (including the PlayGround Solo Performance Festival launched in 2018), the theatre serves as home for some of the Bay Area's other leading new play developers and producers, including Crowded Fire, Golden Thread, and Playwrights Foundation, as well as up-and-coming companies such as Ferocious Lotus and Bread & Butter Theatre, among others. In 2019, PlayGround launched the Innovator Incubator, fostering theatrical innovation and next generation innovative theatre companies. The program culminates in the annual Innovators Showcase, which takes place each November/December, featuring over half-a-dozen new works, from developmental readings to full premieres, by the year's Innovator Incubator cohort.

Following the closure of theaters due to the pandemic in 2020, PlayGround was one of the first theatres in the country to shift all of its programming online, with the launch of the PlayGround Zoom Fest and a unique partnership with the performers union, SAG-AFTRA. With the return of in-person performance, PlayGround has recommitted to radical accessibility with admission-free programming and online simulcast and on-demand streaming of all performances. PlayGround's radical accessibility initiative is sponsored in part by First Republic Bank.

PlayGround's alumni have gone on to win local, national, and international honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the Steinberg Awards, Humana Festival, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Will Glickman Awards, New York International Fringe Festival, and others. PlayGround received the 2009 Paine Knickerbocker Award for outstanding contributions to Bay Area theatre, 3 BATCC Awards for Best Original Script for PlayGround commissions, a 2014 National Theatre Company Grant from the American Theatre Wing (founder of the Tony Awards) and a 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award.

In addition to its company of playwrights, PlayGround maintains a company of leading Bay Area directors, actors, designers and technicians whose work is regularly seen on the Bay Area's top professional stages. PlayGround has actively positioned itself as a hub, bringing together hundreds of individuals and organizations representing the best in Bay Area theatre. For more information about PlayGround, visit https://playground-sf.org.

WHAT: PlayGround presents the 26th annual PlayGround Festival of New Works, California's preeminent showcase of new plays and playwrights, featuring more than a dozen new short and full-length plays from developmental staged readings to premiere presentations, including Daysha Veronica's THE DELIVERANCE and Rachel Bublitz's FUNNY, LIKE AN ABORTION.

Admission is free (donations gratefully accepted) but advance reservations are required. Proof of vaccination (including booster) and masks are required for in-person performance at Potrero Stage. Links for online viewing will be sent the day of the performance and can also be accessed through your PlayGround account at https://tickets.playground-sf.org (log in, click "home" for the main menu, then "tickets for upcoming performances", select the proper show, and choose "watch"). If you have any questions, please contact the Box Office at boxoffice@playground-sf.org. For more information about the PlayGround Festival of New Works, call (415) 992-6677 or visit https://playground-sf.org/festival.



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