MESA, ARIZ.: The Bridge Initiative: Women in Arizona Theatre has named New York City-based Kat Ramsburg its playwright of the year and Phoenix native Amanda Noel Trombley as director of the year. Trombley will direct the world premiere of Ramsburg’s Anatomy of a Hug, about a young woman whose dying mother is discharged from prison into her care, as part of the Bridge Initiative’s inaugural gathering, June 19-21, at Mesa Encore Theatre.
The Bridge Initiative received 102 plays from 22 states, the District of Columbia, and three foreign countries for its playwriting contest. Works were adjudicated by a team of 13 professional artists living in New York City, Los Angeles, Colorado, Oregon and Arizona. Every submission was scored anonymously, on criteria of originality, storytelling, dialogue, characters, production potential and a wanna-see factor.
The Bridge Initiative has also awarded two runners-up, whose plays will be presented in readings in June. Carolyn Nur Wistrand’s Magdalena’s Crossing, set in Texas and the Mexican borderlands, is described by the playwright as a “modern sorrow song of identity and immigration.” And Heidi Armbruster’s Dairyland follows a young woman from Wisconsin who loses herself in New York City and only rediscovers her identity when she returns home to the farm.
The Bridge Initiative, which launched in January, is an Arizona nonprofit working to identify and empower female artists in the Southwest region, with the aim of gender parity across all theatrical disciplines. Its mission also includes bridging the gap between academia and the professional world to encourage students to envision a clearer path to becoming lifelong artists.