Lauren Gunderson | Chinaka Hodge | Geetha Reddy
Kate E. Ryan | Andrew P. Saito | Jonathan Spector
The 2016 Resident Playwright Class
Jon Bernson | Gamal Abdel Chasten
Dipika Guha | E. Hunter Spreen
2013 Alumni | 2011 Alumni
Launched in 2008, the Resident Playwright Initiative (RPI) offers rising Bay Area playwrights something incredibly rare -- an artistic home, a community of support, and a nurturing environment in which to work. With most theaters around the country offering opportunities only to well-established playwrights or newly emerging writers, there is no place for the next generation of gifted playwrights to take the next steps in their work.
The goal of the Resident Playwrights initiative is to grow and sustain the Bay Area as a vibrant and fertile center for new plays. Tailored towards the specific needs of local Bay Area rising playwrights and early career writers of exceptional talent, the Resident Playwrights Program is a four-year residency that provides resources for the pursuit of individual career goals and creative projects, increases the visibility of Bay Area writers, and fosters an artistic community. Playwrights meet regularly over 8 months of each year to advance new creative projects, with the support of PF Staff, studios and access to directors, dramaturgs and actors. RPI offers such a place, plus access to PF’s burgeoning network of industry connections and partnerships.The project is coordinated by PF's Artistic Associate, Karen Piemme. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Resident Playwrights
Jon Bernson is an interdisciplinary playwright, musician and multimedia artist from San Francisco. In 2013, he wrote the play, A Guide to the Aftermath for the inaugural StoryWorks, a partnership between the Center for Investigative Reporting and Tides Theatre that explores the intersection of theater and journalism. Another recent play called PDX to SFO was written as a site-specific, interactive overnight Amtrak journey for twenty passengers and four actors. Currently, he is working on Antiprism, a play and multimedia installation that will be developed and performed throughout his 2015 artist residency at the de Young museum. As a musician, he has released more than twenty albums under multiple names, including Exray’s, whose music was featured in David Fincher’s Academy-Award winning film, The Social Network. He has toured the U.S. numerous times and scored more than a dozen plays and films, including his recent soundtracks for Rajiv Joseph's Gruesome Playground Injuries and Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Beautification Machine, his multimedia collaboration with Andy Diaz Hope, opened at the Catharine Clark Gallery, was presented by Miami Projects 2014 and then acquired by the Nevada Museum of Art. Bernson is a columnist at Decoder Magazine, a company member at Tides Theatre and the founder of Sunset Media Wave, where he has taught writing, music and multimedia art for fifteen years.
Gamal Abdel Chasten is a writer, actor and co founding member of Universes Theater Ensemble. His ensemble writing credits include Slanguage, which premiered at New York Theater Workshop in 2001. Their sophomore play, Ameriville premiered at Actors Theater Humana Festival in 2009, and with Universes Gamal was a contributing writer for Party People, commissioned by Oregon Shakespeare Festival. His solo writing credits include: God Took Away His Poem, a solo play directed by Steven Adley Guirgis at Labyrinth Theaters Barn Series. The Last Word premiered at Performance Space 122. The Black Mann Act / The Trail of Jack Johnson / Vaudeville Show was developed at NYTW’s summer residency at Dartmouth University. The Wall was presented at the New Orleans Fringe Festival and Let Bygones Be was featured at the Humana Festival’s 2010 Ten Minute Play series). His work has been published in several anthologies, The Fire This Time African American Plays For The 21st Century, Humana Festival: The Complete Plays, 2003, 2009, 2010 and Universes upcoming anthology, The Big Bang, Universes Plays/Poetry and Process, publisher TCG is due out this year.
Dipika Guha was born in Calcutta and raised in tea drinking countries all over the world. Her plays include I ENTER the VALLEY (Weissberger nom ’14, KILROY LIST Top 46), THE BETROTHED (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre, Chester Theatre), THE RULES (Superlab Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights Horizons) and BLOWN YOUTH (New Georges/Barnard commission). Her work has been developed by Old Vic New Voices in London, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, WordBRIDGE, Cutting Ball Theatre, the Playwrights Foundation, the Flea, INTAR, the Culture Project, One Coast Collaboration, the Lark and the Tobacco Factory (UK) amongst others. Residencies include SPACE at Ryder Farm, Hedgebrook, Ucross Foundation, Djerassi Resident Artists Program and the Rasmuson Foundation Residency in Alaska. She’s the inaugural recipient of the Shakespeare’s Sister Fellowship, a former Dramatists Guild Fellow, a Time Warner Fellow at the Women’s Project Lab, Ars Nova Playgroup alum & alum of Young Writers Program at the Royal Court Theatre, London. She’s a proud member of Ma Yi, the Claque writers group, an affiliated artist with New Georges, the Soho Rep Lab W/D Lab and has recently created a piece with the Yale Center for Scientific Teaching on women and gender bias in the sciences. BA: English Lit (UCL) MFA Playwriting (Yale School of Drama) under Paula Vogel. Despite a long run in the north east of the United States she still drinks tea. www.dipikaguha.com
Chinaka Hodge is a poet, playwright and screenwriter. Originally from Oakland, California, Chinaka received her BA from NYU’s Gallatin School and her MFA from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. She was a member of the U.S. Artist Delegation to the World Social Forum in Narobi, Kenya in early 2007. She was the Assistant Director of Suzan Lori Parks’ 365 Plays, 365 Days, at its San Francisco debut in November 2006. Her first independently written play, Mirrors in Every Corner, commissioned by SF’s Intersection for the Arts, is a 2010 Rockefeller MAP Fund grantee. Her work has been featured in Teen People Magazine, Newsweek, The San Francisco Chronicle, Theater Bay Area Magazine, San Francisco Magazine, Scholastic Magazine, Current Magazine, The Annual Women of Color Film Festival, PBS, NPR, CNN, C-Span, and in two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry.
Lauren Gunderson received her MFA from NYU, her BA from Emory, and is an NYU Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. Her 2011 3-city rolling world premiere of Exit, Pursued By A Bear, developed in PF's Rough Reading series in 2010, continues across the country. Rock Creek: Southern Gothic was featured in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival 2011. Her play Silent Sky premiered at South Coast Rep this April, and will run at Marin Theatre Company next year. Emilie: La Marquise Du Chatelet Defends Her Tonight was commissioned and premiered at South Coast Rep in 2009, now published by Samuel French and running across the country. Fire Work was developed at The O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, and is a 2011 winner for Aurora Theatre's Global Age Project. Her first musical for The Kennedy Center, The Amazing Adventures of Dr. Wonderful and Her Dog!, opens this fall in DC. She is commissioned for 2 musicals with The Kennedy Center, a musical with Harry Connick Jr., and new plays for South Coast Rep and SF Playhouse. She has developed plays with Second Stage and Primary Stages in NYC, New Rep in Boston, Playwrights Foundation, Crowded Fire, Aurora Theatre, and The Magic Theatre in San Francisco, Kitchen Dog Theatre in Dallas, Synchronicity, Actor Express and Horizon Theatre in Atlanta, JAW/West in Portland, WORDBridge, Brave New Works, and others. She received a Sloan Science Script Award (2008) for her screenplay Grand Unification. She teachers and speaks on the intersection of science and theatre, and writes for The Huffington Post. She is currently developing a tv series for MTV about science fairs. LaurenGunderson.com
Geetha Reddy's plays include Safe House (SFPlayhouse Sandbox 2010) and Blastosphere (with Aaron Loeb, CentralWorks 2009), Girl in a Box, Me Given You, Blue God Countdown, and Book Club! The Musical. She received the 2005-2006 June Anne Baker Prize, five "Emerging Playwright" awards and multiple alumni commissions from PlayGround. Her plays have been included in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the Playwright's Revolution Festival, the Playwrights Foundation's 'Rough Reading' series, and the Just Theatre PlayLab. Her short plays have been featured in the Best of PlayGround Festival, the Santa Rosa Quickies Festival and the SF Fringe Festival where she won Best of Fringe. She is a Playwright's Foundation Resident Playwright and member of the Dramatist's Guild.
Kate E. Ryan's plays include Design Your Kitchen, Dot, Him, Mark Smith, Science is Close (a sequel to Dot) and an adaptation of Sophocles' Women of Trachis. A recent Bay Area transplant, Kate was a BASH! playwright in the 2011 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. In New York, Kate's work has been produced or developed by companies including 13P, Clubbed Thumb, The Drama League, The Flea Theater, The Ontological, Soho Rep, Target Margin and The Vineyard. Kate is a member of the OBIE-winning playwrights collective 13P and is an Artistic Associate with the New York-based company Clubbed Thumb, which produces new plays by living American writers. She is also on the Artistic Advisory Board of the Bushwick Starr. Formerly, she was Co-Curator of the multidisciplinary performance series Little Theater at Tonic (OBIE grant), and Co-Chair of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab.
Andrew P. Saito's plays include La Lechera, El Río, finalist for the Princess Grace Award, Krispy Kritters in the Scarlett Night, featured at Cutting Ball Theater's 2011 Risk Is This...Festival, and The Patron Saint of Monsters, selected for a 2012 Core Apprentice developmental reading at the Playwrights Center of Minneapolis. Other presenters include the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Brava! for Women in the Arts, Kearny Street Workshop, Asian American Theatre Company, La Peña Cultural Center, and Mixed Phoenix Theatre Company in New York. He has been twice commissioned by Handful Players, and has taught playwriting in rural Mayan villages in Guatemala, and with WritersCorps, Performing Arts Workshop, legendary Peruvian theatre collective Yuyachkani, and Montalvo Arts Center as a Teaching Artist Fellow. A two-time alternate for a Fulbright Fellowship in Creative Writing, as well finalist for as a Jerome Playwriting Fellowship, Andrew is a proud founding member of Cut the Rhino, a 5-member theatre collective formed by the 2011 graduating class of the Iowa Playwrights Worksho.
Jonathan Spector is a director and playwright based in Berkeley. He is the Co-Artistic Director of Just Theater, where his directing credits include Anne Washburn's The Internationalist and I Have Loved Strangers, Jason Grote's 1001, and Melissa James Gibson's Current Nobody. With Muguwumpin co-directed/conceived This Is All I Need, and his own plays including Sandal Weather, Be What You Wish to Seem, and The World To Come, have been developed and produced by Just Theater, PlayGround, the Source Theater Festival, and St. Bonaventure College. He is a former Associate Artistic Director of Playwrights Foundation where he developed many new plays with writers including Gordon Dahlquist, Thomas Bradshaw, Rachel Axler, Brian Thorstenson, Marcus Gardley and Sam Hunter. He is currently pursuing his MFA in playwriting at San Francisco State.
E. Hunter Spreen is a playwright and an independent theater maker. Elizabeth’s play Split the Stick was featured in Playwrights Foundation’s 37th annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival. She is currently developing The Laurette Taylor Experience, a time-based immersive game, and Dumb Puppy, a play cycle that will include three full length plays (Split the Stick, Dumb Puppy, and The Keeping Room) as well as a series of shorter performance events. Last year, Elizabeth was one of 80 artists participating in Rubber Repertory’s Pilot Balloon Project, a pop up artist’s residency in Lawrence KS. She was also part of Factory Parts, an 8-month development and performance initiative with foolsFury Theater. She has received commissions from Crowded Fire and Shotgun Players. Work includes Dumb Puppy, The West is Won, Care of Trees, 611 Supreme, This World Is Not My Home, and ElectrOphelia. Elizabeth founded and was Joint Artistic Director of Paducah Mining Company, a theater ensemble that produced plays by contemporary American playwrights and devised work that dug deeply into issues involving race, class and gender. She is a member of ACME Performance Projects and Program Director for National Playwriting Month.
RESIDENT PLAYWRIGHT ALUMNI: CLASS OF 2013 Erin Bregman | Christopher Chen
Aaron Loeb | Tanya Shaffer
Erin Bregman's work has been produced by Just Theater, Playground, and the Washington DC Source Festival. She has been a multi-year finalist for the Princess Grace award and Global Age Project, and was a 2009 nominee for the Pony Fellowship. Her work has been developed in the Bay Area (Bay Area Playwrights Festival and Playground), Washington, DC (Inkwell and The Source), and New York (The Brick and The Lark). Erin is a company member of 2by4, PlayGround, and 6NewPlays, and a proud recipient of a 2014 Individual Artist Commission Grant from the SF Arts Commission for an upcoming musical collaboration with composer Alex Stein.
Christopher Chen’s plays include Into the Numbers, The Window Age and Anomienaulis. His work has been produced and developed by Central Works Theatre Ensemble, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Beijing Fringe Festival, American Conservatory Theater, The Lark Play Development Center, hotINK Festival, Theatre Mu, Silk Road Theatre Project, Fluid Motion, Asian American Theater Company, and Crowded Fire, where he is currently developing his newest play The Hundred Flowers Project, about Mao Tse-Tung. Honors include a Ford Foundation Emerging Writer of Color Grant, 2nd Place in the Belarus Free Theater International Competition of Modern Dramaturgy for Into the Numbers, Jerome Finalist, Seven Devils Finalist, and Princess Grace and O’Neill Conference Semi-Finalist. He is currently a Resident Playwright at the Playwrights Foundation, a member of the Magic Theatre Artist's Lab and Just Theater New Play Lab, and is co-director of the Asian American Theater Company New Works Incubator Program. He is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, and holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from S.F. State. He has been translated into Russian and Chinese.
Aaron Loeb's work has been performed in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Ft. Worth, San Jose and Connecticut. His full-length plays include Brown, First Person Shooter, Blastosphere (with Geetha Reddy) and Abraham Lincoln's Big, Gay Dance Party, which had its Off-Broadway premiere in 2010. Among the honors Loeb has received are: two Bay Area Theater Critic Circle Awards for Best New Play (First Person Shooter in 2007, Abraham Lincoln's Big, Gay Dance Party in 2008), Outstanding Play from the New York International Fringe Festival (Abraham Lincoln's Big, Gay Dance Party 2009), GLAAD Media Award Nominee (Abraham Lincoln's Big, Gay Dance Party 2009), and seven "Emerging Playwright Awards" from PlayGround. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Inc. and a Playwrights Foundation resident playwright.
Tanya Shaffer's plays and original solo performances include Baby Taj, Let My Enemy Live Long!, Brigadista, Miss America's Daughters, and the one-act play The People in the Park, as well as Social Work, co-written for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, and On the Other Side, a children’s play co-written with Alisa Peres. Her work has been produced by Berkeley Repertory Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre (Seattle), TheatreWorks, Talespinners Theatre Company, and others, and has toured to more than forty cities in the U.S. and Canada. Tanya's solo show Let My Enemy Live Long! ran for more than six months in the San Francisco area and was awarded a Bay Area Theatre Critics' Award for Solo Performance. Her play Baby Taj was selected by the San Francisco Chronicle, the San Jose Mercury News, and the Oakland Tribune as one of the Top Ten Shows of 2005, and was nominated for an American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg Award. It is now available in print from Samuel French, Inc. Tanya is also the author of the book Somebody's Heart is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa, which was profiled in Vogue and USA Today and selected by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of the Best Books of 2003. Her latest project, The Fourth Messenger, a musical written in collaboration with composer Vienna Teng, has enjoyed readings and workshops with Playwrights Foundation and TheatreWorks, and will premiere in the Bay Area in late 2012/early 2013. Visit her online queendom at tanyashaffer.com.
RESIDENT PLAYWRIGHT ALUMNI: CLASS OF 2011Eugenie Chan's plays include Kitchen Table; Daphne Does Dim Sum; Rancho Grande; Emil, A Chinese Play; Bone To Pick; Novell-Aah!; Pilgrim; Consent; Tour Sino, a radio play; and the original story and libretto for Snakewoman, an opera. Her work has been produced or developed on the East Coast at the Public Theatre, Ma-Yi Theatre, Pan Asian Rep, Perishable Theatre, Centenary Stage, Duke and Columbia Universities; in the Midwest at PlayLabs; in Seattle at the Northwest Asian American Theatre, the Group Theatre; Los Angeles at East West Players; and in San Francisco at the Magic Theatre, Cutting Ball, Thick Description, San Francisco Mime Troupe, Brava! For Women in the Arts, Opera Piccola/StageBridge, and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. DAPHNE was produced this February at Centenary Stage. Bone to Pick was part of Cutting Ball’s 2008 Avant-Garde-a-Rama, and will be remounted during their current season. Current commissions: the Magic Theatre/Sloan Science Initiative, Cutting Ball/SF Foundation. Education: B.A., Yale in Literature. M.F.A., NYU in Dramatic Writing. She is a Resident Playwright at the Playwrights Foundation, New Dramatists, and an Associate Artist at Cutting Ball Theatre in San Francisco.
Garret Jon Groenveld is a San Francisco based poet and playwright. The author of many plays, his work has appeared in BAPF 1999 (The Blood of Winter, now called The Absence of Birds) and 2004 (Missives). Missives premiered at Theatre Rhino in 2005 and will receive its New York premiere in March 2008 by Animated Theatreworks at 59E59, in no small part to his participation in the Sister Cities Project through the Playwrights Foundation. Missives was originally commissioned by PlayGround, which also commissioned the full lengths plays The Grand Divorce and his current play, The Serving Class. He has an MA in Poetry and an MFA in Playwriting from San Francisco State University and has worked with Edward Albee in his advanced workshop at the University of Houston.
Julia Jarcho is a playwright, director and performer. Her plays include American Treasure (13P, New York, 2009 and Bay Area Playwrights Festival 2009), The Highwayman (NTUSA performance space, Brooklyn, 2004; published in The Best American Short Plays of 2005-2006, Applause Books), A Small Hole (Performance Lab 115, FringeNYC, 2006), All I Do Is Dream of You (Sophiensaele and English Theatre Berlin, 2006), Take Me Away (Il faut brûler pour briller festival, Paris, 2007), The Whole Tree (Electric) (Playwrights Foundation Rough Reading Series 2008) and Nursery (Young Playwrights Festival, Cherry Lane Theater, New York, 2001). She was a writer-in-residence at the 2002 Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference and won a Berrilla Kerr award the same year. She is a Resident Playwright at the Playwrights Foundation, a board member of Young Playwrights Inc. and a member of the New York-based playwrights' collective 13P.
Peter Sinn Nachtrieb is a San Francisco-based playwright whose works include boom (TCG's most produced play 2009-10), T.I.C. (Trenchcoat In Common) , Hunter Gatherers (2007 ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award, 2007 Will Glickman Prize), Colorado, and Multiplex. His work has been seen off-Broadway and across the country including at Ars Nova, SPF, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Seattle Repertory, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Cleveland Public Theatre, Brown/Trinity Playwrights Rep, Wellfleet Harbor Actor’s Theatre, Dad’s Garage, and in the Bay Area at Encore Theatre, Killing My Lobster, Marin Theatre Company, Impact Theatre, and The Bay Area Playwrights Festival. He is under commission from South Coast Rep, A.C.T., and is a Resident Playwright at the Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco. Peter holds a degree in Theater and Biology from Brown and an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. He likes to promote himself online at peternachtrieb.com.
Marisela Treviño Orta received an MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco. Her first play Braided Sorrow was read at the 2005 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the 2006 [Inside] the Ford Summer Reading Series and won the 2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama. Currently Marisela is working on American Triage, a play commissioned by Marin Theatre Company; Ghost Limb, a new play in development with Just Theater's '08 Play Lab; and Woman on Fire, a play commissioned by the Latino Playwrights Initiative. Her poetry has appeared in BorderSenses, Double room, 26: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics and Traverse.
Brian Thorstenson's plays include: The Horses (Alter Theater Ensemble), Over the Mountain (Brava Center for Women in the Arts, The Global Age Project, 2003 Bay Area Playwrights Festival), Wakefield; or, Hello Sophia and Shadow Crossing (Central Works Theater Ensemble), Drop (Alter Theater Ensemble), Heading South (The Studio at Theater Rhinoceros, The 450 Geary Theater), and Summerland (Alternative Theater Ensemble, 2000 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Wings Theatre Co., NYC). He has collaborated on two dance theater pieces, Tuesday and Sugarfoot Stomp, with Stephen Pelton Dance Theater. His radio adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here was broadcast nationally on the Pacifica Radio Network. He was an artist in residence at the Blue Mountain Center in 1999 and 2001, and the Djerassi Resident Artist’s Program in 1996. Brian is a member of the Resident Playwrights Initiative at the Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco, playwright in residence with Stephen Pelton Dance Theater and a member of the Dramatists Guild. He teaches at San Francisco State University and Santa Clara University. Brian received a B.A. in Theater from Willamette University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. He lives in San Francisco.