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Playwrights Realm Transitions From Producing Full-Time Service

The move reinforces the organization’s mission of giving playwrights time and resources to develop new work.

NEW YORK CITY: Playwrights Realm has announced that for the remainder of the 2019-20 season and for the upcoming 2020-21 season it will become a full-time playwrights’ service organization.

“The Realm is centered around helping early-career playwrights, not only through productions, but in every way we can imagine, and I have never experienced a moment when playwrights needed that help so much,” said the Realm’s founding artistic director Katherine Kovner in a statement. “This would usually be the time we announce our next season’s productions, but I’ve spent the last few months talking to our artists and it’s become clear that’s not what they need from our organization right now. So we’re doubling down on being a home for playwrights: reading through open submissions as we put together a new cohort for next season, exploring how we can be a resource for the broader world of early-career playwrights, and finding new ways of supporting our Realm family artistically, financially, and even emotionally. The Playwrights Realm name is not symbolic—this is a space where playwrights come first, so in this time of crisis we are going to devote ourselves to listening to them and helping them meet their needs more than ever.”

Through a series of virtual town halls, surveys, and direct conversations, Playwrights Realm has broadened their support structures for playwrights for the remainder of the 2019-20 season in a number of ways, including offering educational support via artists workshops taught by Realm staff; emotional support via Realm O’Clock, a digital gathering space to talk and unwind; and financial support via micro-commissions to parent-playwrights through the Play At Home program and relief aid to playwrights who have been impacted economically.

For the latter, the Realm has surveyed all 63 playwrights who have participated in their programs, allotting at least $750 to each playwright who has expressed financial and professional need. There’s also discretionary additional disaster relief funding based on needs, in keeping with the Realm’s Radical Parent-Inclusion Project (including elder or family care), as well as related to housing instability, food insecurity, funeral expense, or other special circumstances. For the 2020-21 season, funds that were earmarked for production will instead be used for playwright services, which will be structured around the needs expressed by the Realm’s playwrights.

“The Playwrights Realm has asked artists what they want, and beyond asking, they have listened, even when the answer is the simple, brutal truth of ‘financial support,’” said Daria Miyeko Marinelli,  who is part of the Realm’s 2019-20 Scratchpad Playwright cohort, in a statement. “Home is, unsurprisingly, a place where the door’s open and the lights are always on, and the soul is nourished. Without a doubt, this has been a moment of intense feeling for all of us. One thing I didn’t expect, especially as an L.A.-based playwright, is to feel fully and utterly home, in a gorgeous, warm institution called the Playwrights Realm.”

This effort is made possible in part through COVID-19 relief grants from NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in The New York Community Trust and the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation.

The Playwrights Realm, founded in 2007, is devoted to supporting emerging playwrights throughout their careers, helping them to hone their craft, fully realize their vision, and build meaningful artistic careers. It has built a reputation for its world premieres Off-Broadway, including Pulitzer Prize finalist The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe and The Moors by Jen Silverman.

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