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Theatreworks Silicon Valley Partners With Stanford University For NEW WORKS NEXT GENERATION

The three-day virtual theatre festival offering three dynamic new plays about feminism, ethnicity, and religion.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley announces that it has partnered with Stanford University to present New Works Next Generation, a three-day virtual theatre festival offering three dynamic new plays about feminism, ethnicity, and religion.

Presented in collaboration between TheatreWorks's New Works Initiative, Stanford's Department of Theater and Performance Studies, and Stanford's Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity, with help from Stanford's Haas Center for Public Service, this digital event will spotlight the voices of theatre's next generation of emerging artists, with plays performed by Stanford students and directed by PhD students and TheatreWorks artists.

Each performance will be streamed as a Zoom webinar, followed by a post-show Q&A with students, artists and Stanford professors. Viewers can sign up for a link to stream the shows without charge at theatreworks.org-access is limited for each performance; reserving tickets early is recommended.

The collaboration for New Works Next Generation is coordinated by TheatreWorks's Artistic Associate and Director of New Works Giovanna Sardelli and Samer Al-Saber, Assistant Professor of Theater and Performance Studies at Stanford University. "The Next Generation program was created to connect with and support the next generation of theater artists in our community," said Sardelli. "When Samer Al-Saber reached out about a partnership with his students, we jumped at this opportunity. It has been a joy connecting the students with professional playwrights and creating a mini festival that features new plays around which we can have meaningful and necessary conversations around plays that are designed to entertain as much as to inform and challenge."

"For our Race and Performance class at TAPS (Theater and Performance Studies), with the help of the Haas Center for Public Service, we wanted to work with a theatre to reach a broader audience. Our neighbor, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, was the ideal partner," said Samer Al-Saber. "Not only are they a premier theatre company, their stated mission to support and engage with our immediate communities matched our objectives. When I reached out to Artistic Director Tim Bond and Director of New Works Giovanna Sardelli, it became clear that we had the right partner. Their ability to connect our students with professional playwrights of color allows us to manifest our theory and practice outside the boundaries of academia."

The lineup for New Works Next Generation is as follows:


MAN OF GOD

By Anna Meonch
Directed by Marina J. Bergenstock

2pm PST Sunday, November 15, 2020

During a mission trip to Bangkok, the four members of a Korean Christian girls' youth group discover that their revered pastor has hidden a camera in their hotel bathroom. Samantha is personally wounded that Pastor would do this to her. Jen is worried about how this might affect her college applications. Mimi's out for blood, as usual. And Kyung-Hwa thinks everyone needs to have lower expectations for men. Their communal rage and disillusionment fuel increasingly violent revenge fantasies amidst the no-holds-barred neon bubblegum sex-tourism mecca of Bangkok. Man of God is a funny feminist thriller about that moment when girls realize the male gaze has been watching all along-and decide they're definitely gonna do something about it.


Anna Meonch's (Playwright) plays include Man of God, Mothers, Birds of North America, and In Quietness. Her work has been produced at theatres including Geffen Playhouse, East West Players, the Old Vic, 59E59, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Flea, NYU Tisch, The Looking Glass Theatre, and FringeNYC. Commissions include the Gerbode Special Award in the Arts for a new play with the Magic Theater and a collaboration with the Japanese American National Museum and East West Players on Residence Elsewhere. Anna is the current Page One Playwright in Residence at the Playwrights' Realm and is an alumna of the Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theatre, and The Jam at New Georges. Her screenwriting and television writing work includes projects with Universal, Apple TV, and HBO.

Marina J. Bergenstock is a first year PhD student in Stanford's Theater and Performance Studies Department. She is a director, dramaturg, and educator. She received her MFA in Directing at the University of Iowa. Marina's research interests include hyphenated and diasporic identities and the performance of them in the Arab world and in the United States, and theatre as a catalyst for political, structural, and social reform. This past year, she was the Assistant Director and Dramaturg for the world premiere production of Fouad Teymour's Twice, Thrice, Frice... at Silk Road Rising.

ZAC AND SIAH OR, JESUS IN A BODY BAG

By Jeffrey Lo

Directed by Jeffrey Lo

7pm PST Monday, November 16, 2020

Jesus has just died on the cross and everyone is left confused and unsure of what to do next. Especially Jesus' loyal homies Zac and Siah who - despite what Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John will have you think - were really important to Jesus. Turning water into wine? They figured that out. Bread and fish for the village? Their handiwork as well. But when Jesus calls his shot and announces that he will rise from the dead, Zac and Siah become desperate to keep their friend's credibility and the Good News alive.

Jeffrey Lo (Playwright & Director) is a Filipino-American playwright and director who helmed TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's productions of The Language Archive and The Santaland Diaries. He is the recipient of the Leigh Weimers Emerging Artist Award, the Emerging Artist Laureate by Arts Council Silicon Valley and Theatre Bay Area Director's TITAN Award. His plays have been produced and workshopped at The BindleStiff Studio,a??City Lights Theater Company, and The Custom Made Theatre Company. His play Writing Fragments Home was a finalist for the Bay Area Playwright's Conference and a semi-finalist for the O'Neill Playwright's Conference.a??Recent directing credits include Vietgone at Capital Stage, Peter and the Starcatcher at Hillbarn Theatre, The Crucible, Yellow Face, and Dead Man's Cell Phone at Los Altos Stage Company, Uncle Vanya at the Pear Theatre (BATCC award for Best Production), Eurydice at Palo Alto Players (TBA Awards finalist for Best Direction) and The Drunken City at Renegade Theatre Experiment. Lo has also worked with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival,a??San Jose Repertory Theatre, and is a company member of Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company and San Francisco Playground. In addition to his work in theatre he works as an educator and advocate for issues of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and has served as a grant panelist for the Zellerbach Family Foundation, Silicon Valley Creates and Theatre Bay Area. He is the Director Community Partnerships and Casting Director at the Tony Award Winning TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, a graduate of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute and a proud alumnus of the UC Irvine Drama Department. Jeffrey is also a founding member of OUR DIGITAL STORIES. Lo is set to direct TheatreWorks's upcoming production of Queen in its 51st season.

BABY CAMP

By Nandita Shenoy
Directed by Suhaila Meera

7pm PST Tuesday, November 17, 2020


In the not too distant future, four progressive women spend a week at a feminine empowerment retreat where the definition of empowerment is not what they expected. But are they willing to get on board for the sake of their freedom? Baby Camp spins comedy from the existential dread about the dissolution of women's rights in our current political landscape.

Nandita Shenoy (Playwright) is a New York-based writer-actor. Her Rage Play was recently named to the Kilroys List 2020. Her Washer/Dryer has been produced multiple times nationally after its world premiere at LA's East West Players and an Off-Broadway production in which she also starred. Her first full-length, Lyme Park: An Austonian Romance of an Indian Nature, was produced by the Hegira in Washington, DC. Her one-acts have been produced in New York City and regionally. Nandita won the 2014 Father Hamblin Award in Playwriting. She is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and the Dramatists Guild. Nandita holds a BA in English literature from Yale University.

Suhaila Meera is a Ph.D. student in the Theater and Performance Studies Department at Stanford University. Her research explores the intersections between childhood, migration, and performance. She holds a BA in History and Film from Cornell University and studied acting with Barry John and at the Stella Adler Studio. Before graduate school, she worked at Teamwork Arts, Girls Write Now, and The Juilliard School. Recent artistic endeavors include dancing with Chocolate Heads Movement Band (2017), directing Nick Payne's Constellations (2019), and dramaturging Branden Jacobs-Jenkins's Everybody (2020) at Stanford.

New Works Next Generation is presented by TheatreWorks Silicon Valley's New Works Initiative. The program seeks out new material and serves as a collaborative matchmaker for writers and composers. TheatreWorks's annual New Works Festival has launched many new works onto TheatreWorks's main stage and to national productions, including Broadway's Tony Award-winning Best Musical Memphis. The Festival has given playgoers their first looks at new works by such luminaries as Stephen Schwartz, Andrew Lippa, Joe DiPietro, David Hein & Irene Sankoff, Marsha Norman, Paul Gordon, Rajiv Joseph, and Beth Henley. While TheatreWorks's 2020 New Works Festival was cancelled to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, the company has been streaming virtual works through the New Works from Home initiative, part of TheatreWorks from Home, offering viewers online workshop readings of new works including Suzanne Bradbeer's Shakespeare in Vegas and Laurel Ollstein's Pandora.


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