Center Theatre Group has selected participants for the 2018-2019 L.A. Writers’ Workshop, where local playwrights are invited to spend eight months in residence at the company researching and writing new works with the feedback from artistic staff and their fellow writers. The workshop, administrated by Center Theatre Group’s Artistic Department, is designed to foster new voices, inspire playwrights to create their best work, encourage bold writing and build relationships among local playwrights, Center Theatre Group and the Los Angeles theatre community.
Those participating in the 2018-2019 L.A. Writers’ Workshop include Luis Alfaro, Aziza Barnes, Diana Burbano, Noah Haidle, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Brian Otaño and Ruby Rae Spiegel. Playwrights were selected by Center Theatre Group’s artistic staff. Each year, the goal is to bring together Los Angeles playwrights, all of varying backgrounds and writing styles, with the intent on creating work that challenges audiences and the surrounding theatre community. To be eligible, the writers must currently reside in Los Angeles and must be either starting work on a new play or interested in starting work on a new play. The workshop began in November with a weekend-long salon where local experts of the playwrights’ choosing were invited for a Q&A session. Through the session, the playwrights were able to use each expert’s knowledge and experience to garner additional insight on their respective play topics. The workshop will continue with monthly meetings wherein the seven playwrights will come together to fuel the creative process and further the evolution of their work. During these meetings, the playwrights will have the opportunity to lead cold readings, conduct improvisational exercises for scene development, discuss and deliberate relevant topics and invite additional experts as needed.
In June 2019, a three-day retreat will serve as the residency year’s conclusion. Play readings of all seven plays will be conducted throughout the weekend with the help of professional actors hired by Center Theatre Group. The workshop will leave each playwright with a fully faceted theatre piece that they can put forth as they see fit. In June 2018, Center Theatre Group launched the L.A. Writers’ Workshop Festival at the Kirk Douglas Theatre. It featured three new plays by L.A. Writers’ Workshop participants from throughout the program’s 13-year history. Details for the 2019 L.A. Writer’s Workshop Festival will be announced at a later date.
Center Theatre Group has produced plays developed in the Writers’ Workshop, including the world premieres of Eliza Clark’s “Quack” (currently playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre), Lisa Loomer’s “Distracted” (which had its world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum in 2007) and Sheila Callaghan’s “Women Laughing Alone with Salad” (which debuted at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in 2014). Several of the plays written and developed in the Writers’ Workshop have been produced around the country, including Julie Marie Myatt’s “My Wandering Boy” (South Coast Repertory), Adriana Sevahn Nichols’ “Night Over Erzinga” (Golden Thread/Silk Road Rising co-production) and Brett Neveu’s “The Opponent” (A Red Orchid Theatre). Additionally, Julie Hébert’s dance-theatre piece “Night Falls” was performed in San Francisco in 2011 and Lila Rose Kaplan’s “Entangled” premiered at UC Santa Barbara’s Launch Pad in 2012. In the 13 years since its founding, the Writers’ Workshop community has grown to 96 playwrights, including Jennifer Haley (“The Nether”), Dominque Morisseau (“Shameless,” “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations” and “Pipeline”), Qui Nguyen (“Vietgone”) and Marco Ramirez (“The Defenders,” “The Royale”).
Center Theatre Group, one of the nation’s preeminent arts and cultural organizations, is Los Angeles’ leading nonprofit theatre company, which, under Artistic Director Michael Ritchie, programs seasons at the 736-seat Mark Taper Forum and 1600 to 2000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at The Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition to presenting and producing the broadest range of theatrical entertainment in the country, Center Theatre Group is one of the nation’s leading producers of ambitious new works through commissions and world premiere productions and a leader in interactive community engagement and education programs that reach across generations, demographics and circumstance to serve Los Angeles.