The Playwrights Foundation, the West Coast’s preeminent play development center, which is recognized as one of the country’s top sources of new play development, today announced the 34th Annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival (BAPF) will take place July 22 through July 31, 2011. The Festival will be presented at the Thick House in San Francisco’s vibrant Potrero Hill neighborhood.
Selected from over 500 submissions, the 34th Annual BAPF will include full-length plays by Clarence Coo, Dan Dietz, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Lauren Gunderson and Amelia Roper; and commissioned one-act plays by Bay Area locals Kate E. Ryan and Chinaka Hodge. The playwrights will engage in an in-depth development process over three weeks this summer, collaborating with professional actors, directors and dramaturgs. The process culminates with two staged readings of each play, with a week in between for rehearsal and rewriting. In addition, the Festival includes classes with veteran master playwrights Bill Cain and Lee Blessing, panels, symposia and other festivities.
This year’s festival lineup is a testament to Playwrights Foundation’s mission to support fresh, vanguard playwrights without concern for box office pedigree or previous national acclaim. The festival is a place to celebrate the emergence of the next wave of contemporary playwrights and the Playwrights Foundation has an incredible track record of discovering writers early in their careers, often providing a critical milestone for writers who go on to reshape the landscape of American theatrical expression. “It’s a great time to focus on our incredible creativity as a country,” says Mueller. “Broadway, and in fact the entire country, is suddenly exploding with extraordinary new work by relatively young writers like Katori Hall (The Mountaintop) and Rajiv Josef (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), both of which had their first developmental readings and workshops at Playwrights Foundation. It is vitally important to continue to discover the next generation.”
We had the pleasure of attending a reading of her latest work-in-progress play last night, here in NYC, but, unfortunately, aren’t allowed to say anything about it. For those just joining us, you should get acquainted with 29-year-old Katori Hall, who seems to be on the verge on an explosive career spurt, with her award-winning play, The Mountaintop, which we’ve written about a lot on this site, making its Broadway debut this fall, with Samuel L. Jackson starring.
Also, as I recently announced, Ms Hall has been accepted into the 2011 Sundance Screenwriters Labs, taking place this summer. So, not only is she winning acclaim for her plays, she’s also starting to get attention for her screenwriting efforts. Her Sundance Labs entry, by the way, is based on one of her plays. So, expect a filmed version of it in the future.
She’s incredibly busy at the moment, but we should be getting an interview with her eventually, which will be posted here.
In the meantime, watch the below video, which is the most recent I could find – uploaded in March of this year. I think we’re going to be talking about her a lot more in coming years, so allow her to introduce herself
April 14, 2011, 6:00 pm
“The Mountaintop,” Katori Hall’s play about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., will make it to Broadway this fall, but with only one of the two high-profile actors who were expected to appear in it. Producers for the play said on Thursday that Samuel L. Jackson, the Academy Award-nominated star of “Pulp Fiction,” will portray Dr. King in the production, which will be presented at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theater, with previews beginning Sept. 22 and opening Oct. 13; Kenny Leon, a Tony Award nominee for last year’s revival of “Fences,” will direct. Halle Berry, who was supposed to play Camae, a hotel maid at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis in Ms. Hall’s imagined account of the night before Dr. King’s assassination, will not be participating in the production as had been anticipated. In a statement, producers said “Ms. Berry would not be appearing in the role due to child custody issues,” and that an actor for the role “will be announced shortly.” “The Mountaintop,” which made its debut in London in 2009, won Ms. Hall the Olivier Award for best new play last year. The play is produced by Jean Doumanian Productions, Sonia Friedman Productions, Ambassador Theater Group, Jerry Frankel, Ted Snowdon, Bob Bartner and Tom Wirtshafter.