NEW YORK CITY: After transitioning from a producing theatre to a full-time playwriting service organization in 2021, the Playwrights Realm has launching its 2022-23 season with three programs: a cohort of Writing Fellows, a fresh group of Scratchpad Playwrights, and a new Native American Artists Lab.
In addition, the Realm has remodeled its community programming offerings into a new program, Aspiring Playwrights, offering free online articles and filmed classes covering the basics of playwriting, as well as a new round of Script Share, an opportunity for aspiring writers to engage in a one-hour discussion with a theatre professional about a particular script. Aspiring Playwrights is a free program open to anyone interested in writing for the stage.
Said founding artistic director Katherine Kovner in a statement, “As we proudly announce the incredible, dynamic artists that will be joining us in 2022-23 in Writing Fellows, Scratchpad, and Native American Artists Lab programs, we’re excited to simultaneously be expanding our support for aspiring playwrights. If someone says, ‘I’m interested in being a playwright,’ we want the Realm to be their first resource. Our goal is to have a wealth of content generated by professional playwrights and theatre artists and Realm staff, free-of-charge, and totally accessible—no need to apply or subscribe.”
Added asssociate artistic director Alexis Williams in a statement, “Across our open submissions for all three programs, we received 861 applications—a sobering reminder of just how many wonderful artists are in need of support. We can’t wait to spend the year getting to know the 2022-23 cohort, and getting their projects heard by, and introduced to, audiences. These are promising voices everyone who’s interested in the future of theater should know about.”
The Writing Fellows program supports four early-career playwrights with nine months of resources, including a $4,000 stipend, workshops, and feedback designed to help them reach their professional and artistic goals. This year’s recipients are Andrea Ambam, Alyssa Haddad-Chin, Jesse Jae Hoon, and Alex Lin.
The Scatchpad Playwrights Series is another opportunity for the Realm to usher emerging playwrights into the industry. It engages with new playwrights every year by removing geographic limitations so playwrights can participate and expressly inviting playwrights from across the country to join. Recipients receive a paid developmental process of up to one week culminating in a reading (internal or public, at the writer’s discretion) of the play. Playwrights will be connected with professional collaborators, such as a director, casting director, cast, and the Realm’s artistic staff, who will offer dramaturgical development and discussion prior to and following each reading, as well as professional development guidance and industry introductions. This year’s Scratchpad participants are Anamaria Guerzon, Ankita Raturi, and Christopher Washington.
The Native American Artist Lab is designed to be a pipeline for playwrights from international nations to reach out to artists from domestic nations to support the development of their work. The lab focuses on developing a specific project and professional development by offering individualized attention to recipients and providing support such as design consultations, individualized mentorship, and industry networking. The program will end with an in-person reading in New York City, with the Realm deferring to the artists on whether these presentations are public. All recipients will receive stipends and housing and transportation costs for participation in readings. This year’s recipients are Sean-Joseph Choo and Moki Bear Eagle.
Andrea Ambam is a Brooklyn-based performing artist whose roots originally stem from Cameroon. She is a Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX) artist-in-residence and has been a PenAmerica Writing as Activism Fellow, an Artistic Fellow at Signature Theatre, and the inaugural Artivism Fellow with Broadway Advocacy Coalition and many more. Ambam is developing Fragile State, a play about a Gen-Z Black activist whose world turns upside down upon receiving a visit from her Cameroonian grandmother.
Alyssa Haddad-Chin is a Brooklyn-based playwright and teaching artist of Lebanese and Italian descent. Credits include Off-White; Or The Arab House Party Play, The Newlywed Game and The Ancestry Dot Com Play. Haddad-Chin is developing The Ancestry Dot Com Play, about a group of friends who take a DNA test and grapple with how the results affect their identity.
Jesse Jae Hoon is a playwright, actor, and organizer, and the author of I’ve Got a Sinking Feeling in the Pit of My Stomach, Dong Xuan Center, and On the Clock. Hoon is developing Somebody Is Looking Back at Me, a satire about a best-selling Asian American author returning to a gentrified Chinatown.
Alex Lin, originally from New Jersey, has had plays developed with Ma-Yi, Magic Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Theater Mu, Union College, Alleyway Theatre, the COOP, and Central Square Theater. Lin is developing LASTHUNTER, a play about radical revenge and the fragility of nationalism.
Anamaria Guerzon is a Filipina American theatre artist and musician based in Seattle. She is the author of Filipina Rock Song. Guzeron is developing SKIN, which explores the relationship between a modern-day tattoo apprentice and a man in the 1600s being trafficked for his full-body cultural tattoos.
Ankita Raturi is a bisexual, bicultural, bilingual writer currently living in Southern California. She is the author of the audio play, Backwaters. Raturi is developing No One Plays Badminton in America, a love letter to the sport that asks what it means to figure out who you are away from where you’re from.
Christopher Washington is a Black queer actor and writer who grew up in the suburbs of Austin, and is the author of the play Touch. Washington is developing The Facts Are as Follows: a play about a new law student juggling microaggressions, critical race theory, and love.
Sean-Joseph Choo is a multi-ethnic, multi-hyphenate, Hawai’i-based artist from Honolulu. He is the author of the play otou-san, tourist shell shock and the one-man play, i love my AAPI grandparents! He is developing the play, The Isle is Full of Noises, about a college dropout turned Hawaiian painter who returns home to seek out answers from his culture and his ’ohana.
Moki Bear Eagle is Oglala Lakotan, raised from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of South Dakota. He is a professor at his tribal college and is working on developing plays that represent his voice and his tribe. Eagle is developing IGMU kiŋ na PAHA kiŋ, a play about a Lakotan girl in the United States during 1890 who befriends a young black cat.
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