Aspiring playwrights meet at virtual retreat – Ashland Tidings


Heesun Hwang, Jasmine Sharma and Carlos-Zenen Trujillo, top row, and Kathryn de la Rosa and Ty Greenwood, bottom row, have been chosen for the Ashland New Plays Festival’s inaugural New Voices playwright retreat.

Ashland New Plays Festival mentors new talents

The inaugural retreat of the New Voices playwrights at the Ashland New Plays Festival is taking place this week – via video conference.

Hailing from Brooklyn to Seattle, emerging playwrights Kathryn de la Rosa, Ty Greenwood, Heesun Hwang, Jasmine Sharma and Carlos-Zenen Trujillo are in a virtual retreat to work with mentors and guest artists as they develop new scripts.

“I can’t wait to expand (my) game and delve deeper into the characters,” said Greenwood, a Seattle resident. “I am also very excited about the members of my cohort. … This is by far the most diverse group that I have been a part of. And the mentorship is going to be amazing.

Mentors of the week include comedy writer and playwright Sarah Cho; playwright and television scriptwriter Inda Craig-Galván; director, adapter and activist Lavina Jadhwani; senior cultural strategist and playwright for Play On Shakespeare Amrita Ramanan, and Luan Schooler, director of new play development and dramaturgy for the Artist Repertory Theater.

“It has been an incredibly difficult year – emotionally, physically and financially,” said ANPF Artistic Director Jackie Apodaca. “My hope for retirement is to ‘redeem’ some of these playwrights’ time, their daily work or other commitments, they can spend that to develop their art.

The ANPF is best known for its play competition which ends with a fall festival reading of four new plays chosen from hundreds of submissions.

In addition to mentoring, the retreat offers special sessions with guest artists from New Voices who share their experiences and ideas.

Guest artists include Octavio Solis, playwright and ANPF associate artist; Paul Adolphsen, literary director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Dana Lynn Formby, playwright and faculty member of Chicago Dramatists; UNIVERSE actor, director and co-founder Steven Sapp, and Beth Kander, Chicago-based playwright and author.

The retreat week will conclude with conversations with the playwrights which will be available on the ANPF’s social media platforms and podcast.

The playwrights will reconnect with the ANPF this fall for a live virtual panel at the ANPF Fall Festival, October 20-24, where they will talk about their work and what it’s like to be a new writer during this unprecedented period. Each playwright receives a stipend of $ 500.

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