CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC), the resident theater company of Chautauqua Institution, today announced its New Play Workshops for the 2023 season, its first under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Jade King Carroll.
CTC’s audience will have the opportunity to experience plays at every stage of development by the country’s most exciting playwrights. From a first new play reading to a staged workshop, from a world premiere to a published adaptation, the audience will be a part of the process as CTC deepens its long-standing commitment to new work.
CTC will present readings of three new play workshops: Harrison David River’s Proximity, Sofya Levitsky-Weitz’s Cannabis Passover, and Chisa Hutchinson’s The Bleeding Class.
“We are honored to invite these extremely respected and rising stars of the new play world to CTC as we continue to grow on our long history of launching new work onto the stage and into the industry. I’m looking forward to sharing these adventurous new plays with our audience and I think we are all in for quite an enjoyable journey,” said Carroll. “Each of these playwrights offers a vastly different perspective and style yet all of these exciting new plays look at our connection with each other and ask us to examine how we are moving forward together.”
New Play Readings
Proximity by Harrison David Rivers • July 8—9 • $15
Newly divorced and sheltering at home with her two children, Ezra hasn’t been touched by another adult in eight months. When she’s introduced to Irie, a charismatic fellow single parent, at a virtual PTA meeting, their immediate attraction causes Ezra to reconsider the limits of her COVID-bubble.
The weeklong Proximity workshop will be focused on the text to be read at music stands.
Cannabis Passover by Sofya Levitsky-Weitz • July 28—29 • $15
A somewhat dysfunctional, multi-generational family of Reform Jews congregates at a rented beach house to celebrate Passover, planning to light up more than just the Seder candles. As the generations share stories, debate about social justice issues, and try not to burn the food, they veer off-script from the Haggadah… and strange things begin to reveal themselves. On this night, right now, what does it mean to repair the world?
The weeklong Cannabis Passover workshop will be focused on the text, to be read at music stands.
The Bleeding Class by Chisa Hutchinson • Aug. 19—20 • $25
The world is under attack by a deadly plague and Sugar, a Dominican-American escort from the Bronx might just be the key to saving all of humanity. When Sugar visits the reserved Black doctor, Dr. Wesley Pennington, the two are suddenly forced to team up and move into a hastily built research compound owned by a faceless pharmaceutical giant. Power dynamics shift constantly in this highly theatrical allegorical tale, presciently written before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bleeding Class challenges us to ask ourselves what we are willing to sacrifice, who we are willing to trust, and if we are willing to love.
The weeklong workshop of The Bleeding Class will be focused on the world and movement of the play. This will be staged script-in-hand and have design elements created by CTC’s 2023 design fellows.
The New Play Workshops and Readings are made possible in part by a generous grant from the Roe Green Foundation.
CTC’s Evolving New Work Practices
All NPWs will continue to receive a weeklong workshop, but patrons may notice that two of the NPWs will be at music stands while one of them will be staged in CTC’s Signature Staged Reading format. This year, we will begin to deepen our development process even further as we move toward more industry standards – focusing on the individual needs of each playwright, and thus presenting some readings at music stands.
What playwrights desperately need and crave in the long and rigorous journey toward production is the dedicated time to write, work with actors, cross out sections and rewrite, drop in new pages, and hear them read by those same actors. It can take a handful of music stand readings before arriving at the point where a staged reading is truly helpful in the process of new play development.
Being able to meet playwrights wherever they are in the process and offer this holistic developmental experience makes CTC a truly viable player in the competitive world of new play development. This kind of dedicated script work and focused time will allow CTC to establish itself as a future home for world premiere plays that are now in the earlier stages of development. Ultimately, this is an exciting path towards becoming a more nationally recognized theater company – a path which could lead to partnerships, co-productions, transfers, publications, participation in royalties, and even award nominations and wins.
In light of this change and the shift in audience experience, CTC felt it appropriate to charge only $15 for a reading at music stands. Chautauquan audiences can look forward to becoming an integral and irreplaceable part of the development of the American classics of tomorrow.
Early New Play Development
C.A. Johnson’s The Trial of Milicent Ohakwu
CTC is honored to have received a New York State Council on the Arts grant to commission celebrated playwright C.A. Johnson to write a new play titled The Trial of Milicent Ohakwu. Johnson will be in residence with CTC this summer. Her work on this project marks the first commission under Carroll’s artistic leadership.
Kate Hamill’s The Light And The Dark
This summer, acclaimed playwright Kate Hamill will be in residence developing her new play, The Light And The Dark. Additionally, Hamill will serve as a guest speaker with the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle’s lecture series, discussing her adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice during Week 6: “A Life of Literature.”
To read more about our playwrights for the 2023 season, click here.
ABOUT CHAUTAUQUA THEATER COMPANY
Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC) produces high-quality, live theater in a vibrant nine-week summer season. We are committed to the development of new work, the next generation of theater artists, producing galvanizing world premieres as well as exceptional modern and contemporary plays, and infusing fresh insight into the classical canon.
CTC is dedicated to becoming a national home for exciting new plays: commissioning, developing and producing new and established American playwrights. We are where the finest artists of tomorrow bridge the gap between their training and the professional world. CTC is actively building the future of the American theater.
ABOUT CHAUTAUQUA INSTITUTION
Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer — and year-round through the CHQ Assembly online platforms — with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through engaged dialogue.
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