Acclaimed Writers Join UCSB's Launch Pad and Spotlight Project

By: Jun. 02, 2020

Acclaimed Writers Join UCSB's Launch Pad and Spotlight Project

UC Santa Barbara Department of Theater and Dance is proud to present two unique events - LAUNCH PAD's ALONE, TOGETHER and THE SPOTLIGHT PROJECT - which join acclaimed writers and directors with acting and directing students for a virtual presentation of new work and new talent.

LAUNCH PAD, UCSB's unique new play development program, created ALONE, TOGETHER to provide vibrant opportunities for theater students during California's Stay at Home order. A celebration of innovation, ingenuity, and generosity inspired by the prompt "Alone, Together" - this program brings together 24 distinguished LAUNCH PAD alumni playwrights, including Mia Chung, Yussef El Guindi, Idris Goodwin, Arlene Hutton, James Still, Cheryl L. West and others, who have written 39 short plays and monologues specifically created to be performed on Zoom. 61 actors, 23 directors and 3 designers are involved in the Festival.

"It is a dynamic mix of students and professionals working side by side on these wonderful new plays with the playwrights in virtual residence. The writers have created an enormous variety of material ranging from drama to farce and everything in between. We are so lucky to have this extraordinary roster of brilliant playwrights interacting with our students, faculty and guest artists. It is precisely what LAUNCH PAD is all about: creating the next great American play." - Risa Brainin, Artistic Director of UCSB's LAUNCH PAD

LAUNCH PAD's ALONE, TOGETHER performs in 4 chapters in one Zoom webinar, each approximately 90 minutes, on Saturday, June 6. The schedule includes Chapter 1 at 11am, Chapter 2 at 1pm, Chapter 3 at 4pm and Chapter 4 at 6pm (all times PST). LAUNCH PAD will host a "Chat and Chew" between Chapters 2 & 3 at 2:30pm and a Post-Festival Q & A after Chapter 4 at 7:30pm with artists and audience to talk about the plays and process.

Note: You do not need to watch the chapters in sequence to enjoy the Festival - each play stands on its own. To view the entire roster of plays and artists, go to and click on the Chapter links.

To watch ALONE, TOGETHER on Saturday, June 6th click this link: Viewing is free. Beginning on June 20 the full presentation for viewing, as well as a downloadable PDF of the plays, will be available at

THE SPOTLIGHT PROJECT is UCSB Department of Theater and Dance's innovative solution to sharing the work of graduating BFA actors with Industry professionals in lieu of an LA showcase. With this year's event cancelled due to the pandemic, the faculty reimagined a way for the actors to be "seen" by agents, managers, casting directors and theaters across the country. Director of the BFA Acting Program, Annie Torsiglieri commissioned writers Lynn Rosen ("Darwin: the Series," "The Firebirds Take the Field") and Nancy Hower ("Quickdraw," "10 Items or Less") to each create an original "virtual" play written specifically for the nine graduating seniors. These will be shared in a live ZOOM event on Saturday, June 13 and then distributed digitally to the Industry.

"I've been especially heartbroken for our graduating seniors. They were in the midst of searching for material for our annual showcase, which was to be held at the Garry Marshall Theater, when the pandemic hit. This event was to be their introduction to the "business" world; it is usually attended by managers, agents, casting directors and theaters. With THE SPOTLIGHT PROJECT - we are able to provide meaningful artistic experiences for the actors, while giving them exciting new content to share with the industry as they enter the profession." - Annie Torsiglieri, Professor Dept. of Theater and Dance at UCSB

THE SPOTLIGHT PROJECT's virtual showcase on Saturday, June 13 will feature Nancy Hower's STANDING ON MY HEAD at 6pm PST and Lynn Rosen's THE CATASTROPHE COMMITTEE at 7pm PST, both directed by Annie Torsiglieri, and starring UCSB's graduating BFA actors.

STANDING ON MY HEAD is a live Zoom play about nine college seniors whose loves and lives are turned upside down as they navigate the pandemic.

THE CATASTROPHE COMMITTEE is a darkly funny, and deeply human "selfie play" shot on iWhatevers that embraces and acknowledges the limits of the technology available during social distancing, with characters in search of identity and belonging.

To watch THE SPOTLIGHT PROJECT click this link: Viewing is free.

For more info about UC Santa Barbara's Department of Theater and Dance visit