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Christopher Chen (Photo by Sasha Arutyunova), Danny Haengil Larsen (Photo by Alexis Buatti-Ramos), Michelle Elliott (Photo by Alexis Buatti-Ramos), and Rehana Lew Mirza (Photo by Christine Chambers.)

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Presents 2022 New Works Festival

The festival will feature works by Jonathon Larson Grant Winners Danny Haengil Larsen and Michelle Elliott, Obie award-winning playwright Christopher Chen, and Kleban award-winning playwright Rehana Lew Mirza.

SARATOGA, CALIF: TheatreWorks Silicon Valley has announced that the 19th annual New Works Festival will make its first in-person return since 2019 at Montalvo Arts Center from Nov. 6 to Nov. 13. 

The annual festival will showcase new plays and musicals in their early stages of development and will give audiences an opportunity to provide feedback to the creators. With multiple performances of each show scheduled throughout the festival, playwrights and composers will be able to take in and incorporate feedback, allowing audiences to watch the shows develop and evolve. 

“Developing new works is in TheatreWorks’ DNA,” said artistic director Tim Bond in a statement. “An integral part of our mission is to foster and build community around artists as they create works that will engage theatre audiences of the future. I’m so excited for the in-person return of this beloved and vital TheatreWorks tradition.”

This year’s festival is a partnership between TheatreWorks Silicon Valley and Montalvo Arts Center’s Lucas Artists Residency Program, a creative incubator that supports artists across many disciplines in their process to develop new work. TheatreWorks and Montalvo previously partnered on a developmental reading of the new musical Alice Bliss, which is scheduled to receive its world premiere at TheatreWorks July 12-Aug. 6, 2023.

“We at Montalvo Arts Center are excited to share these experiences with TheatreWorks,” said Kelly Sicat, director of Lucas Artist Program, in a statement. “We hope that this continued partnership not only leads to many more opportunities to build art with our shared community, but that it also highlights for Silicon Valley a model for more organizations to collaborate together to create and inspire community. We look forward to very successful events and anticipate a bold future of making and supporting art together.” 

This year’s festival includes Jonathan Larson Grant winners Danny Haengil Larsen and Michelle Elliott’s new musical, Hart Island, about an immigrant woman and an inmate who form an unlikely connection in the face of tragedy. The musical was previously presented at the 2020 National Alliance of Musical Theatre Festival, received a Beta Series production at Village Theatre, a series of staged readings at Playwrights Horizons in 2018 and was featured in the 2017 Village Originals Festival of New Musicals

Additionally, Obie-winning playwright Christopher Chen’s play The Motion explores values and belief systems among four scholars involved in a debate about animal rights. The Motion was originally a Manhattan Theatre Club Sloan Commission

Kleban Award winner Rehana Lew Mirza’s play Words We Believe portrays a powerful examination of fractured community after a search begins for a missing 17-year-old individual in Orange County, Calif.

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley was founded in 1970 by Robert Kelley and is currently led by artistic director Tim Bond. In 2019, they received the Regional Theatre Tony Award. TheatreWorks continues to champion new work, offering artists support and a home to develop new stories for American theatre. Additionally, TheatreWorks offers arts education and engagement programs for local schools in the surrounding Silicon Valley neighborhoods. As of 2020, the theatre’s budget was approximately $8.3 million.

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