PlayGround’s 24th Season


PlayGround’s 24th season begins October 16, 2017 and runs through June 17, 2018 in Berkeley and San Francisco. The Season opens October 16, 2017 – March 19, 2018 in Berkeley with its acclaimed Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. In the spring, PlayGround’s season continues with the PlayGround Festival of New Works from May 10-June 17, 2018 at San Francisco’s Potrero Stage, the company’s newly-renovated home. A highlight of this year’s PlayGround Festival are premieres of two PlayGround commissioned full-length plays: SCAPEGOAT by William Bivins and BRIGHT SHINING SEA by Julianne Jigour, both originally developed at the 2016 Festival.

Monday Night PlayGround

Monday Night PlayGround launches on Monday, October 16 with an evening of original short plays written by members of the just-announced 2017-18 Writers Company (Writers Pool and Resident Playwrights), with the October topic to be announced on Friday, September 29. The Monday Night PlayGround series continues on third Mondays through March at Berkeley Rep. Monday Night PlayGround season subscriptions start at just $75 and individual tickets are $15-$30. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit http://playground-sf.org.

PlayGround Writers Company

In September, PlayGround convened its new Writers Company, the thirty-six playwrights selected for the 2017-18 PlayGround Writers Pool and twelve alumni selected for the 2017-18 Resident Playwrights Program. Over the next six months, these writers will generate more than 180 original short plays inspired by monthly prompts (topics) as part of the Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series performing at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The top six plays each month will receive professional script-in-hand staged readings led by leading Bay Area directors and actors. At the conclusion of the season, the best works will receive full production as part of the annual Best of PlayGround, now going on its twenty-second year.

Each year through the Resident Playwrights Program, PlayGround supports the development of more than a dozen new full-length works, including six new or ongoing commissions. Four plays competitively selected from among these works and other alumni submissions will receive two-week developmental workshops and public staged readings as part of the annual PlayGround Festival of New Works at Potrero Stage next May.

The playwrights of the 2017-18 PlayGround Writers Company are: Lynn Aylward, Kathy Boussina, Madeleine Butler, Karen Catalona, Nara Dahlbacka, Rob Dario, Victoria Chong Der+, Ai Ebashi, Nancy Fishman, Elizabeth Flanagan, Jerome Joseph Gentes+, Akaina Ghosh, Lauren Gorski, Ruben Grijalva+, Garret Jon Groenveld+, Tanya Grove, Karen Hartline, Devony Hof, Sam Hurwitt, Genevieve Jessee+, Melissa Keith+, Kate Keleher, Katie May+, Alanna McFall, Jeanie Ngo, Cheryl Ossola, Ishai Padawer, Lana Palmer, Erin Marie Panttaja+, Ken Prestininzi+, Madeline Puccioni, Marsha Roberts, Annette Roman, Cleavon Smith+, Nic Sommerfeld, Aimee Suzara, Jon Tracy, Mary Weikert, Steven Westdahl, Zoe Young, Maury Zeff+, Lesli Zephyr, and Ignacio Zulueta+ (+ Resident Playwright).

The first round of Monday Night PlayGround is Monday, October 16 at Berkeley Rep, with six plays on a topic to be announced on September 29. The remaining Monday Night dates are: November 20, December 18 (“Holiday Extravaganza”), January 15 (“Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival” presented in collaboration with Planet Earth Arts & Stanford), February 19, and March 19. Past topics have included: “we hold these truths to be self evident,” “going viral,” “borders,” and “Nutcracker, Sweet!” Tickets are on sale for all performances and six-event subscriptions begin at $75. For more information and tickets, visit http://playground-sf.org/monday.

PlayGround Festival of New Works

This spring’s 22nd annual PlayGround Festival of New Works runs May 10-June 17, 2018. with more than 40 public performances and staged readings over six weeks, the Bay Area’s largest celebration of new plays and new playwrights. The Festival includes: Best of PlayGround 22 (May 10-27, 2018), featuring the top six short plays from the 2017-18 Monday Night PlayGround season; Festival Staged Readings of four bold new works by PlayGround alumni (May 19-20 & 26-27, 2018); and the world premiere of two PlayGround commissions – Julianne Jigour’s BRIGHT SHINING SEA and William Bivins’ SCAPEGOAT – originally developed at the 2016 PlayGround Festival.

Julianne Jigour (BRIGHT SHINING SEA) began writing with PlayGround-LA, PlayGround’s sister company in Los Angeles, in 2015 and received the PlayGround Emerging Playwright Award in 2016 for her short play, Bright Shining Sea. She received a PlayGround/Planet Earth Arts commission to adapt and expand that play into a full-length in October 2015 and collaborated with PlayGround on the development of the work, initially at Stanford University as part of the Planet Earth Arts New Play Festival, and later at the 20th annual PlayGround Festival of New Works, where the play received two public staged readings. Julianne was a semifinalist for the 2015 KCACTF Gary Garrison Short Play Award and was selected for the 2014 Theater Masters National MFA Playwrights Festival. Her TV pilots, Antarctica and Arkansas Auguries, received grants from the 2014 and 2015 Carnegie Mellon/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation competitions. Julianne earned her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University and currently resides in Los Angeles. She has had staged readings and productions of her plays in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Aspen, Cleveland, and New York.

In Bright Shining Sea, six characters navigate personal losses that the Earth echoes back to them. A couple struggles with the grief of a third miscarriage. A young farmer calls it quits and moves back in with his therapist mother. A scientist races to complete her research on ocean acidification as her memory begins to falter. Her teenage daughter knows the world will never be the same.

As Julianne explains, Bright Shining Sea confronts destruction—personal and environmental—but presents connection and compassion as the means by which hope is possible. It asks us to view the Earth holistically, to recognize our interconnectedness, and to do what the current administration won’t—to take responsibility for our planet, for each other, and for future generations.

William Bivins (SCAPEGOAT) joined the PlayGround Writers Pool in 2012 and was selected for the Best of PlayGround in 2013 and 2014. He received a commission to write Scapegoat in 2014 and the play was selected as a PlayGround Festival of New Works finalist in 2016, receiving a two-week developmental workshop. Bill is an award-winning playwright whose full-length productions include The Apotheosis of Pig Husbandry, The Education of a Rake, The Position, Ransom, Texas, The Afterlife of the Mind, and Pulp Scripture. He has won the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Original Script, Pacific Repertory’s Hyperion Project Original Play Competition, the San Francisco Fringe Award for Best New Comedy, and PianoFight’s Short Lived Play Competition.

Bill conceived and wrote Scapegoat during a time when he was angry, sad, and confounded over a spate of killings of black men at the hands of the police. The enormity of the injustice represented by the episodes—which at one point seemed to occur daily—caused him to think about whether or how art can address the topic of race in America. Clive is a struggling comic book artist whose series, Scapegoat, once celebrated as a cunning metaphor for the African American experience, is now running thin. When Clive’s protégé is shot by police, Clive finds renewed purpose for Scapegoat. But as sales soar, violence erupts, and Clive begins to question the role of art in the pursuit of justice. The play includes projections of graphic novel panels and blends the real and comic book worlds as Clive struggles to separate the real from the imagined.

About PlayGround

PlayGround, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, annual PlayGround Festival, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund, among others. To date, PlayGround has supported more than 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of 850 original short plays and 75 new full-length plays, including 22 that have since premiered in the Bay Area. PlayGround alumni – including some of the most distinguished new writers coming out of the Bay Area, such as Aaron Loeb, Lauren Yee, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Geetha Reddy, among others – have gone on to win local, national, and international honors for their short and full-length work, including recognition at the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Humana Festival, Sundance Festival, The Lark, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and New York International Fringe Festival, among others. PlayGround recently completed renovated on its San Francisco home, Potrero Stage: PlayGround Center for New Plays, a 99-seat state of the art performance venue and home to some of the Bay Area’s leading new play developers and producers, including PlayGround, Crowded Fire, Golden Thread, and Playwrights Foundation, among others. For more information on PlayGround and Potrero Stage, visit http://playground-sf.org.

PlayGround presents Season 24 of
MONDAY NIGHT PLAYGROUND
at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

October 16 / 8PM
November 20 / 8PM
December 18 / 8PM
January 15 / 8PM
February 19 / 8PM
March 19 / 8PM

Monday Night PlayGround Tickets: $15-$30 (advance); $20 (at door, subject to availability); 6-admission subscriptions start at just $75. For more information call 415-992-6677 or visit http://playground-sf.org/monday.

Tickets for the 2018 PlayGround Festival of New Works go on sale April 1, 2018.

Gary Poux & Cristina Fernandez in the ten-minute play, BRIGHT SHINING SEA by Julianne Jigour, from the Best of PlayGround-LA 2015 at the Zephyr Theatre, Los Angeles. Photo: Jim Kleinmann.
(L-R, Top) Liam Vincent, David Cramer, Michelle Ianiro, Robyn Grahn, (L-R, Bottom) Nicole Apostol Bruno, and Morgan J. Booker in Jerome Joseph Gentes’ OR: OR, THE PLAY OF LIGHT, from Best of PlayGround 21. Photo: mellophoto.com.
(L-R) Steven Westdahl, Kimberly Ridgeway, Daryl Anthony Harper, and Caitlin Evenson in Robin Lynn Rodriguez’s HEDGE (May 15-June 17, 2017), part of the 21st annual PlayGround Festival of New Works. Photo: mellophoto.com.
(L-R) Melvign Badiola, Jasmine Osborne, and Jed Parsario in Ignacio Zulueta’s KANO + ABE (May 22-June 18, 2017), part of the 21st annual PlayGround Festival of New Works. Photo: mellophoto.com.
(L-R) Kunal Prasad and Heather Gordon in VIGNETTES ON LOVE, a new multi-media play by David Steele, co-written by Victoria Chong Der, July 6-30, 2017 at Potrero Stage. A PlayGround / Noise Pop Co-Production. Photo: mellophoto.com.