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Center Theatre Group's Mark Taper Forum. (Photo by Tom Bonner)

Center Theatre Group Launches New Playwrights Initiative

The Los Angeles institution will co-commission more than 50 new plays over the next decade.

LOS ANGELES: Center Theatre Group has launched the Edgerton Foundation Playwrights Initiative, a partnership with four theatres: Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, London’s Royal Court Theatre and National Theatre, and New York’s Second Stage Theatre. Together with each theatre, CTG will commission multiple works over the next decade, with the intention of giving each play multiple productions and a chance to land on Broadway.

“The Edgerton Foundation Playwrights Initiative is allowing us to make bigger, bolder investments in some of the world’s best playwrights,” said CTG artistic director Michael Ritchie in a statement. “Co-commissioning with some of the top theatres in the U.S. and London allows us to put our resources together in support of the creation and production of new work around the world—with a clear path to Broadway thanks to our new connection to Second Stage and their Helen Hayes Theatre.”

The initiative is funded in part by a $1 million grant from the Edgerton Foundation, which will allow CTG to commission at least two shows annually with each of the four theatres. The playwrights that have been selected for commissions so far are Jon Robin Baitz, Will Eno, Danai Gurira, Lisa Kron, Young Jean Lee, Lynn Nottage, Qui Nguyen, Al Smith, and Paula Vogel.

“We are excited to offer commissioning funds for more than 50 new plays in the Edgerton Foundation Playwrights Initiative in partnership with four other theatres in Chicago, New York, and London,” said Edgerton president Brad Edgerton in a statement. “By jointly developing each of these new plays with two talented theatre staffs, we hope to increase the number of productions that will journey to many regional theatres, Broadway, and the West End.”

In addition to these commissions, CTG has expanded its associate artists pool to include choreographer/director Matthew Bourne, director Anna D. Shapiro, and Gurira.

“At the same time we are beginning this collaboration with four world-class theatres, we are expanding and formalizing our existing relationships with Matthew, Danai, and Anna—all artists working at the top of their game,” said Ritchie in a statement. “They will be bringing new work to our stages and collaborating with our artistic team to help set the foundation for Center Theatre Group’s next 50 years.”

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