The New Works Festival
The 2016 New Works Festival The Historic Elitch Theatre (HET) began accepting submissions Feb. 1 for the second year of its New Works Festival, and the submission window closed on April 1. Through the New Works Festival, HET encourages new playwrights,……
The 2016 New Works Festival
The Historic Elitch Theatre (HET) began accepting submissions Feb. 1 for the second year of its New Works Festival, and the submission window closed on April 1. Through the New Works Festival, HET encourages new playwrights, composers and lyricists to submit their work for the opportunity to be produced as a main stage show in the theatre’s regular season.
This year the HET Reading Selection Committee reviewed each of the submitted works and choose six plays to be read by local actors during the festival, August 12-20. Two works will then be chosen for staging as workshop productions in the 2017 festival, before one is chosen for main stage production during the 2018 season.
“After the tremendous success of the inaugural New Works Festival in 2015, we are proud to present more live theatre in this historic building,” said David Nehls, vice president of the Historic Elitch Gardens Theatre Foundation. “It’s another step to bringing the Elitch Theatre back as a performing arts venue.”
Sitting on this year’s Reading Selection Committee are Chris Till, literary agent, Creative Artists Agency (CAA); Billie McBride, Broadway actress and director; Gavin Mayer, UNC theatre professor and director; David Nehls, author, “The Great American Trailer Park Musical”; Piper Arpan, Broadway actress and choreographer; Gayle Seay, New York casting agent; Scott Wojik, New York casting agent; Kenn McLaughlin, artistic director, Stages Repertory Theatre, Houston; and Christina Crawford, Elitch Theatre alumna (1964 season) and author, Mommie Dearest.
The six 2016 New Works finalists are:
* A Kiss for my Daughter by Mitch Samu
* American Outlaws by Adam Seidel
* The Brothers Paranormal by Prince Gomovilas
* Lady of the Chimney Corner by Andrew Maikovich
* The Snowstorm by Rae Binstock
And the Mary Elitch Award selection is:
* Listen by Sandra Marie Vago
Workshop productions of the New Works Festival 2015 finalists
Last year, more than 70 musical and non-musical theatre works were submitted to the inaugural New Works Festival. The two finalists—“The Mess of Us” by Moss Kaplan and Greg Ungar and “In the Closet” by Siegmund Fuchs—will be staged as workshop productions this summer. After the workshops, audiences will help select one as the first New Works Festival winner. The winner will be produced as a main stage show in HET’s 2017 season programming.
Mary Elitch Award for Excellence in Female Playwriting
The New Works Festival was designed to showcase the works of young and emerging playwrights, and a new feature of the 2016 festival will nurture the work of women playwrights, in particular. In a three-season study (2011-2014) of 2508 productions from 153 Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theatres, 14 percent of the playwrights were women, according to a December 2015 Dramatists Guild magazine feature, “The Count.” Such statistics inspired Christina Crawford, a Dramatists Guild member and Elitch Theatre alumna, to create the Mary Elitch Award for Excellence in Female Playwriting.
Named after Mary Elitch—who played an integral role in the Elitch Theatre’s 125-year history, and the first woman to own and manage a theatre and zoo—the award was established to encourage more work from female playwrights dealing with women’s issues.
“The Dramatist Guild study revealed that a shockingly low number of plays written by women are being produced,” Crawford said. “I am so honored to be a part of the new Mary Elitch Award encouraging women playwrights to achieve their potential, particularly at an historic theatre where I performed as a young actress.”
This season, Crawford will present the first $1000 award to the selected female playwright: $250 will fund the reading of the winner’s play and $750 will be awarded directly to the playwright. Crawford has committed to presenting the Mary Elitch Award for the next five years.
On June 1st the inaugural Mary Elitch Award-winner was announced — congratulations Sandra Marie Vago!
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