Tag Archives: new play development

Link Roundup! – 2/26/16

Link Roundups feature articles and bits of internet goodness that our dramaturgy team digs up. If you find something you want to send our way, drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!


 The playwright Kirsten Greenidge, whose “Baltimore” is a beneficiary of the Big Ten New Play Initiative. Credit Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times

The playwright Kirsten Greenidge, whose “Baltimore” is a beneficiary of the Big Ten New Play Initiative. Credit Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times

The New York Times highlights C1 playwright alum Kirsten Greenidge in a story about the Big Ten New Play Initiative:

Giving more such practice to female undergraduates is a major objective of the program that commissioned “Baltimore” and is rolling it out in productions at several universities this academic year. The Big Ten New Play Initiative — yes, schools better known for football or basketball are behind it — has begun seeding the canon with a fresh crop of works by women.

Naomi Iizuka, Rebecca Gilman and Madeleine George are the other playwrights tapped so far for the project, which is intended in part to address one of American theater’s most pressing concerns: the need to put more plays by women onstage. But the initiative goes a significant step further. Each script is bound by just one rule, said Alan MacVey, who oversees the $10,000 commissions: It must include at least six substantial roles for young women.


A group of 27 women and people of color talk about what it’s like to work in Hollywood for a huge feature for the New York Times:

In 1985, I’m sitting in the casting office of a major studio. The head of casting said, “I couldn’t put you in a Shakespeare movie, because they didn’t have black people then.” He literally said that. I told that casting director: “You ever heard of Othello? Shakespeare couldn’t just make up black people. He saw them.” I started carrying around a postcard of Rubens’s “Studies of the Head of a Negro.” The casting director actually was very kind to me. He referred me to my first agent.

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BCA PlayLab: What We’re Reading – Vol. 2

The 2015 BCA PlayLab is coming to a close in a few short weeks. Here are a few pieces of writing that we think is worth checking out as we wrap up the program. Let us know what you think on Facebook or Twitter!


We’ve been talking a lot about work/life balance as a writer, as well as best practices for maximizing opportunities to connect with potential collaborators during the past couple PlayLab sessions — here are a few more articles that touch on similar topics. (As a reminder, the links we share aren’t necessarily endorsements, but are a great jumping off point for discussion.)

End of year advice from our writers – The Playwrights’ Center

“1. Always write the play you’d actually go see.
2. It’s okay to write in the style of your hero. After all, your hero ripped off his/her style from somebody else too. But don’t tell the same stories as your hero. Yours are way better.
3. The week-long retreat in the woods culminating in the staged reading is great, but don’t wait or rely on it to hear your play read. Call some actors, find a room, print some scripts, and get it going. Do this until you run out of favors or until the week-long retreat people finally invite you.”
—Core Writer Idris Goodwin

Having Kids: Worst Idea, or Worst Idea Ever? – Bitter Gertrude

I’ve been asked many times about how I made parenting and a life in the theatre work. The sad truth is, there’s no magic formula that will make those early parenting years less difficult, but the happy truth is, it goes by in a blink. Your life as an artist will last decades, and your kids will only need direct supervision for 15ish years. It’s over before you know it. I know that’s not much consolation to people with a screaming baby who somehow have to teach three classes and rehearse for four hours on 37 minutes of sleep, but believe me, it’s true. Your screaming baby will be 15 and able to come home, do his homework, make his dinner, take a shower, and get himself to bed at a reasonable hour sooner than you think. It will be bittersweet, but it will happen.

Melissa Hillman and her son Jonah, May 2001

Playwright Melissa Hillman and her son Jonah, May 2001

How I Got Eight Full-Length Productions This Year – donnahoke.com Continue reading

On ASTRO BOY and its Process at Company One Theatre

Purple-Logo copy From the Director of New Work


Thank you for attending the Boston premiere of ASTRO BOY AND THE GOD OF COMICS created and directed by Natsu Onoda Power. We are so glad to have you with us for this genre-bending, imaginative theatrical event. I’d like to take this moment to tell you a bit about the path the play has traversed so far, its development through the XX PlayLab, and its presence in Company One Theatre’s larger community engagement work.

After years of developing ASTRO BOY’s central material through other projects and workshops, Natsu premiered the full version of the play at Studio Theatre’s 2ndStage in Washington, DC, where it was named one of the top three theatre experiences of 2012 by The Washington Post. Jamie Gahlon, the Associate Director of HowlRound (in residence at Emerson College), was a member of Natsu’s original ensemble in DC, and helped connect Natsu with Company One Theatre in 2013. Knowing that Natsu wanted to revise and expand the play, we invited her to participate in the 2013-14 XX PlayLab—a program collaboratively run by the Boston Center for the Arts and Company One Theatre, dedicated to propelling works by women to the stage. Past Company One productions that have emerged from the XX PlayLab include HOOKMAN by Lauren Yee (2012), and SPLENDOR by Kirsten Greenidge (2013).

Over the course of this season, Natsu and her longtime DC collaborators—projection designer Jared Mezzocchi, and actor Clark Young—participated in three workshops with the ensemble of Boston actors, dramaturgs Ramona Ostrowski and myself, and Assistant Director/Creative Consultant Jamie Gahlon. During these weeks, the cast and creative team worked on skill building, text revision, and interactive projection models.

Of particular interest for this collaborative team was training a new group actors in the performance techniques that have been a hallmark of Nastu’s aesthetic since her days as a graduate student at Northwestern University—large scale collaborative illustration, interactive stage animation, and an interest in where the scientific and the human meet. Company One Theatre also significantly expanded our own capacity for these techniques, and for the kind of innovative multimedia technologies that are Jared Mezzocchi’s unique specialty.

Together with the BCA, we mounted a series of public events in November and March, culminating in the XX PlayLab Festival in early June, which provided ongoing access to the piece-in-process. Furthermore, the ASTRO BOY ensemble has had an unprecedented level of involvement in community events around the city, thanks to The Mabel Louise Riley Foundation, which funded Company One to create a boundary-busting engagement initiative called the C1 Street Team, led by youth organizers. Our artists have participated in ASTRO-themed workshops for youth and families at Cambridge River Festival, Anime Boston, UMass Boston, and Figment Boston, and will be connecting with community groups serving local teens during the run of the production. Together, Natsu and Company One are excited to further expand the reach of our mission—the creation of civically engaged artists, and the production of theatre with a social impact.

A development process of this type is an uncommon opportunity, and we’re thankful to have a partner like the BCA working jointly towards the support of groundbreaking artists. Workshops and readings are important steps, but it’s production where playwrights discover most clearly the world they’ve created. ASTRO BOY AND THE GOD OF COMICS, like much of Company One’s work, incorporates a sense of magic, and a structure that breaks traditional narrative forms. We’re excited for the surprises that await audiences as the story of Osamu Tezuka, the creator of the character Astro Boy, is revealed in reverse chronological order. We are so happy to share this event with the Boston community, and hope that you find it as thrilling as we do.


Ilana M. Brownstein, Director of New Work


A PDF of this letter can be downloaded by clicking HERE.

The Writing Life x3: Boston New Play Ecology, 2014

In his blog post, writer Patrick Gabridge analyzes how the Boston theatre scene has changed regarding new play development since 2010. He also posts the demographics of the playwrights and directors at each theatre. Read the post here.