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Campo Santo and Crowded Fire Theater Announce Playwright-in-Residence

Star Finch will develop new works and facilitate writing groups as part of the three-year residency.

SAN FRANCISCO: Campo Santo and Crowded Fire Theater have announced that San Francisco native writer Star Finch will be hired as a full-time playwright-in-residence for three years as part of the Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence Program.

Star Finch.

“Star’s revolutionary and dynamic work will change the way we support her plays to production, how we approach new work development with other artists, and how we think about where and for whom theater is made,” said Mina Morita, artistic director of Crowded Fire Theater, in a statement. “Crowded Fire is eager to learn from the community-based, collaborative development that Campo Santo embodies.”

Sean San José, a co-founder of Campo Santo, added in a statement, “Campo Santo is excited to learn from Crowded Fire’s rich history and model of new play development. With this opportunity, along with the established commitment to Star’s work, we are tasking ourselves to place the Black Woman’s voice at the rightful center of our work.”

Finch’s residency will include leading writer labs, curating a Black Women Voices series, and being a key instigator and creative collaborator with the groups. Finch will be supported on staff as she develops new pieces, culminating with the premiere of at least two new plays to be produced at both companies between now and summer 2023, including Shipping & Handling with Crowded Fire, and Side Effects for Campo Santo. While she focuses on her writing, Star will additionally co-facilitate two writing groups within the partnership, and lead the development of a Black-women-centered arts program co-produced by the organizations.

 Finch is a member of Campo Santo Theater Company and a resident playwright at Playwrights Foundation. Her plays include H.O.M.E. [Hookers on Mars Eventually] and Bondage (Princess Grace Award semifinalist, Relentless Award honorable mention), and she is a recipient of the San Francisco Arts Commission Individual Artist Commission in Theater.

“This residency will aim to light two fires: to keep a fire burning on telling stories of my City and to the Black experience within it, and two: to frame a clean space of potential and possibility in relation to how the Black experience might freely manifest itself in the future,” said Finch in a statement. “My intention is to always approach topics and themes with a new aesthetic lens. I feel at home both at Campo Santo and at Crowded Fire, and both Sean and Mina have offered amazing two collaborative partnerships as directors, even while being such different organizations and artists.”

Founded in 1996, Campo Santo is an award-winning group committed to developing new performance and to nurturing people of color centered on new audiences. 

Crowded Fire Theater Company, founded in 1997 by a group of young artists interested in experimental contemporary theater, is known for developing and presenting innovative and provocative new plays. 

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