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National New Play Network Launches Cross-Pollination Program

The initiative will support an exchange of playwrights and their plays at multiple theatres.

DALLAS: The National New Play Network (NNPN) has announced a new playwright exchange project called Cross-Pollination, which will allow theatres to share their local playwrights with other companies with similar aesthetics and artistic values.

The participating theatres will be Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT), InterAct Theatre Company, Philadelphia, and Kitchen Dog Theater, Dallas. The pilot group of playwrights include James Ijames, Jonathan Norton, and Lisa Langford.

“NNPN was founded 20 years ago to create a pipeline that would enable new play theatres to share the works of the writers they knew and loved with each other across markets,” said NNPN executive director Nan Barnett in a statement. “It seems perfectly wonderful to me that as we celebrate the creation of this organization that has radically altered the way that new plays are discovered, developed, produced, and propagated in America, we are supporting in a new way the very thing that brought us together in the beginning: the desire to collaborate and introduce new play theater-makers to new communities across the country.”

James Ijames.

The new plays will include Ijames’ history of walking, which will go from InterAct Theatre Company to Cleveland Public Theatre in January, about violence and compassion at the end of the world.

The project will also feature Norton’s A Love Offering, about a nurse’s aide caring for patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia who suffers an attack by a patient. The play will go from Kitchen Dog Theater to InterAct Theatre Company in May.

Lisa Langford’s Rastus & Hattie will transfer from Cleveland Public Theatre to Kitchen Dog Theater in June. The play follows a post-racial friendship that is disrupted by two black robots that confront the two friends’ ideas about race.

“The Cross-Pollination initiative is providing a rare and valuable opportunity for CPT to deepen our relationships with sister theatres—organizations and artists sharing a lot of the same values as CPT,” said artistic director Raymond Bobgan. “It is not only helping us develop our own work, but the initiative is also introducing us to playwrights, and new ways of approaching play development. So much can be learned from intersections of artistic communities—and we can’t wait to see how this program will impact our work and the work of playwrights we serve.”

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