Lisa Morse (foreground) and Steven Westdahl in 'Abominable,' part of the 20th PlayGround Festival of New Works, presented in San Francisco by the Bay Area's PlayGround in 2016.
Lisa Morse (foreground) and Steven Westdahl in 'Abominable,' part of the 20th PlayGround Festival of New Works.

PlayGround Announces Inaugural Season in New Space

The longtime Bay Area new-play incubator will stage four world premieres and host five local companies in its new space.

SAN FRANCISCO: PlayGround, a new-play development hub, has announced its 2017 season, its inaugural season at the Potrero Stage: The PlayGround Center for New Plays. In addition to hosting local Bay Area companies like Crowded Fire Theater Company and Golden Thread Productions, PlayGround will also present four world premieres by Bay Area playwrights.

PlayGround took over the lease to the Potrero Stage, formerly known as the Thick House, in 2015 and raised $250,000 for a capital campaign to renovate the space. “The creation of Potrero Stage marks a huge step forward for PlayGround and the entire Bay Area theatre community, in our ability to support new plays and new voices,” said PlayGround cofounder/artistic director Jim Kleinmann in a statement.

PlayGround’s 2017 season will kick off with the Potrero Nuevo Project (Feb. 2-9). Eight playwrights—Patricia Cotter, Victoria Chong Der, Ruben Grijalva, Garret Jon Groenveld, Genevieve Jessee, Martha Soukup, Maury Zeff, and Ignacio Zulueta—have been commissioned to write plays based on the 250-year history of the region. The project will be helmed by PlayGround company member Margo Hall and artistic director Kleinmann.

In May, PlayGround will host its 21st annual PlayGround Festival of New Works, with performances and readings over six weeks. Within the festival will be the world premieres of Hedge by Robin Lynn Rodriguez (May 15-June 17) and Kano + Abe by Ignacio Zulueta (May 22-June 18), both developed at prior PlayGround Festival.

PlayGround’s 2017 season will close with Vignettes on Love by David Steele, Victoria Chong Der, and Davern Wright, with a soundtrack curated by music festival producer Noise Pop (July 6-30). It is described as “a tragicomic character study on self-reflection and self-deception.”

And besides hosting Crowded Fire and Golden Thread, PlayGround will present a world premiere by Philip Kan Gotanda, courtesy of First Look Sonoma, 3Girls Theatre Company’s latest New Works Festival, and a touring production from Blue Panther Productions.

“We look forward to working with PlayGround, Crowded Fire, and all other companies that will make this cherished space their home, and to building on its stellar reputation as a center for new plays and underrepresented voices in San Francisco,” said Golden Thread’s artistic director Torange Yeghiazarian  in a statement.

Since 1994, PlayGround has provided development and production opportunities for local playwrights. To date, it’s fostered 200 local playwrights, and staged more than 800 original short plays and 71 new full-length commissions.

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