ADV – Leaderboard

Pacific Playwrights Fest, BIPOC Elders Grants, Essential Theatre Playwriting Award

A roundup of prizes, fellowships, and other recognitions.

COSTA MESA, CALIF.: South Coast Repertory has announced the lineup for the 26th Pacific Playwrights Festival (PPF), which will take place May 3-5. The annual showcase of new works is part of the theatre’s play development initiative, the Lab@SCR.

The 2024 festival will feature five staged readings: Meeting for Worship by Ana Nogueira on May 3 at 1 p.m. on the Segerstrom Stage, The Brothers Play by Arya Shahi on May 3 at 4 p.m. on the Julianne Argyros Stage, You Are Cordially Invited to the End of the World! by Keiko Green on May 3 and 4 at 8 p.m. and May 5 at 2:30 p.m. in the Nicholas Studio, Fremont Ave. by Reggie D. White on May 4 at 10:30 a.m. on the Julianne Argyros Stage, and An Oxford Man by Else Went on May 5 at 10:30 a.m. on the Segerstrom Stage. Single tickets and ticket packages for the festival are available on SCR’s website.

Anchoring the festival are the world premiere productions of Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical, with music by Daniel Messé, lyrics by Sean Hartley and Daniel Messé, book by Craig Lucas (April 5-May 4), and Galilee, 34 by Eleanor Burgess (April 21-May 12). Both shows were featured in previous PPFs.

Prior to the 8 p.m. performance on May 4 of Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical, the American Theatre Critics Association will present the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. The weekend also includes a free panel discussion with this year’s playwrights on May 5 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

South Coast Repertory is a professional theatre company dedicated to exploring urgent human and social issues and expanding the artistic possibilities of theatre. The company presents a mix of classic and modern plays and musicals alongside its robust new-play development program.

Frank Chin, Rhodessa Jones, Ramona Peters, and Yary Livan.

LOS ANGELES: artEquity has announced the inaugural recipients of its BIPOC Elders and Culture Bearers Grants. The seventh round of funding to come out of the Artist and Activist Community Fund, these grants offer $5,000 in unrestricted funds to visionary BIPOC elders and culture bearers who have supported their community with a legacy of art and activism. The recipients are Frank Chin, Rhodessa Jones, Yary Livan, and Ramona Peters.

Frank Chin is an author, playwright, and pioneer of Asian American theatre. He has advocated for redress and reparations for Japanese American WWII draft resisters and those in incarceration camps, and was a key part in the establishment of the Day of Remembrance, which marks the signing of Executive Order 9066 that stripped the rights of Japanese Americans.

Rhodessa Jones is an actress, teacher, director, and writer, and serves as the co-artistic director of San Francisco’s Cultural Odyssey. She is also the director of the Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women, a performance workshop designed to achieve personal and social transformation with incarcerated women and women living with HIV.

Yary Livan is a master ceramicist, teaching new generations traditional Khmer pottery. Livan is recognized as one of only three surviving masters of traditional Cambodian ceramics and kiln building, which date back to the sixth century.

Ramona Peters is a Mashpee Wampanoag potter who revived traditional Wampanoag clay forms and is the founder and current president of the Native Land Conservancy. Most of Ramona’s work has focused on repatriation, Indigenous rights, land and cultural preservation, and many other endeavors to expand the Wampanoag identity. She has been deemed a Wampanoag Culture Keeper by her peers.

artEquity is a nonprofit that provides tools, resources, and training at the intersection of art and activism. The organization aims to build a base of individuals and organizations with a shared analysis so they can contribute effectively to organizational culture change, sector change, and social change.

SAN FRANCISCO: PlayGround has announced the 2024 cohort for the Innovator Incubator program. Launched in 2019, the annual program seeks to foster innovative new theatre companies and productions with a strong commitment to historically marginalized or excluded communities. The multi-year intensive incubator provides emerging theatre companies with access and opportunity, including financial support, fiscal sponsorship, free and discounted performance and rehearsal space, and mentorship.

The 2024 cohort includes two new additions, L.A.’s American Jewish Theatre and House Theater, as well as six returning companies: Analog Theatre, The Chikahan Company, Latinx Mafia, Network Effects Theater, Oakland Public Theater, and Poltergeist Theatre Project. Find out more about these emerging companies here.

Participating companies will work to refine their organizational structure, strategize fundraising and budgeting, and hone their mission and vision statements. The process seeks to prepare them to continue on as full fledged production organizations within the Bay Area and Los Angeles theatre scene. PlayGround will continue to support and sponsor these companies on an ongoing basis, culminating in the season-ending Innovators Showcase Nov. 4-24.

PlayGround is a playwright incubator and theatre community hub based in the Bay Area. The organization seeks to support the development of significant new local voices for the theatre and helping to launch these writers onto the national scene.

Emily McClain.

ATLANTA: Essential Theatre has named Emily McClain its 2024 Playwrighting Award winner. Her play The Rock & The Hard Place will receive a full production during the Essential Theatre Festival this summer and McClain will be honored at the theatre’s Celebration of Georgia Playwrights on April 28. The award comes with a $1,000 cash prize.

McClain is a playwright, theatre educator, and member of WriteStuffATL and the Dramatists Guild. Born in Tupelo, Miss., she currently resides in Atlanta, where she teaches theatre at School of the Arts at Central Gwinnett High School. This is McClain’s second Essential Theatre Playwrighting Award, as her first full length play Slaying Holofernes was a co-winner in 2019. Since her first production with Essential, her later plays have been produced and earned accolades locally, nationally, and abroad. She received a Synchronicity Theatre Stripped Bare grant, was a semifinalist in the Risk Theatre International Competition, and won the 2022 William Faulkner Literary Prize.

The Rock & The Hard Place follows Elsie Tully as she is driven to extreme lengths in her attempts to exonerate her father on Death Row, condemned to be executed for a crime she’s sure he didn’t commit.

Sponsored by Could Be Pretty Cool, the annual Essential Theatre Playwriting Competition is dedicated to recognizing the work of Georgia playwrights. The theatre is accepting submissions of previously unpublished plays by Georgia playwrights for the 2025 competition through April 23.

Essential Theatre is a performing arts organization dedicated to nurturing and producing new works by Georgia playwrights and enriching its audience’s experience by actively engaging them in the process.

Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by joining TCG, which entitles you to copies of our quarterly print magazine and helps support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism.

ADV – Billboard