San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

Connecting with 31 Plays in 31 Days and DC Playwrights

on September 11, 2013
From the 31 Plays in 31 Days blog, look what DC Playwrights has accomplished in just three years:
Here is the San Diego Playwrights response:

San Diego Playwrights Respond to “DC Playwrights Scene Report and Lessons”

(Posted Aug. 27, 2013)

by Thelma Virata de Castro

Hello DC Playwrights! We hear you loud and clear!

You are the three-year-old. We are three months old. Regardless of age, I feel like we are kin.

Earlier this year I applied for a grant from the San Diego Foundation. An integral part of the application was to engage the community. The underserved, well-deserving group I chose to engage was playwrights! In order to grow, our plays must be produced. I didn’t get the grant, but I chose to go forward with my project anyway.

In June 2013 I founded San Diego Playwrights. Our goal is to get San Diego playwrights produced on local stages. We are an all-volunteer playwrights network working on joint projects. We had 7 playwrights at our first gathering. At the next we had 12. Our e-mail distribution list has now grown to 64 playwrights, plus supporters. Our participants range from community college students to an Associate Artist at The Old Globe.

Our first project was a Needs Assessment and Resources Survey. We’re using the data to prioritize future projects. Upcoming meetings include making a game plan to produce your play, survey results, playwriting exercises and getting to know producers.

We have chosen a Consensus Organizing approach to achieve our goal. Mike Eichler, also a San Diego playwright, wrote the book Consensus Organizing: Building Communities of Mutual Self Interest. Seema Sueko, Executive Artistic Director of Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company (who received a Theatre Communications Group Leadership U[niversity] One-on-One grant and mentorship with Molly Smith of Arena Stage) adapted Consensus Organizing principles for the theatre community. San Diego Playwrights wants to build a community that supports local playwrights by working with producers and audiences to satisfy mutual self-interests. To serve playwrights we plan events to connect, activate and develop. To build relationships with producers and audiences we ask what we can do to serve them.

San Diego Playwrights is exploring many questions. What is the value of producing work by local playwrights? What is the voice of San Diego? How can our local theatres represent the artists who make this city home? Can residencies and development programs for new work be made available to residents? How can public funds be used to support San Diego playwrights? We seek to include the Arts and Culture Commission and our political representatives in this conversation.

The Theatre Communications Group is coming to San Diego for its national conference in June 2014. San Diego Playwrights wants local playwrights to be included as a valuable presence in every region. By the time we turn three we’re hoping to receive great gifts like the ones that DC Playwrights helped materialize.

Thanks for sharing your story DC Playwrights! San Diego Playwrights is blowing out the candles and making many wishes.

Thelma Virata de Castro is the founder of San Diego Playwrights. She was born and raised in San Diego. She is inspired by Laura Shamas and Jennie Webb of the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative (LA FPI), Hedgebrook, a retreat for women writers in Washington State and Andy Lowe, Founder and Former Artistic Director of the San Diego Asian American Repertory Theatre and Director/Producer of Chinese Pirate Productions. She drives a minivan.

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