Playwrights Foundation

Playwrights Foundation

Playwrights Foundation is home for playwrights that supports and champions contemporary theatrical writers in the creation of new works to sustain theater as a vital, dynamic art form. PF actively fosters the creative process of playwriting and the dissemination of new works to national theater producers, while sustaining a commitment to the playwright, whom we regard as the creative wellspring of the theater...
Playwrights Foundation is home for playwrights that supports and champions contemporary theatrical writers in the creation of new works to sustain theater as a vital, dynamic art form. PF actively fosters the creative process of playwriting and the dissemination of new works to national theater producers, while sustaining a commitment to the playwright, whom we regard as the creative wellspring of the theater. PF is regarded as one of the top play development centers in the nation; over 80% of the artists we work with receive subsequent productions, and in 2014 alone, 36 PF-workshopped plays had productions across the U.S. including Aaron Loeb’s Ideation, which recently won the 2014 Will Glickman Award for Best New Play.

Organization Overview
Playwrights Foundation (PF) is entering its 38th year, and is the only new play lab of its size and scope on the West Coast, widely recognized for its programmatic excellence: program alumni have won all three of the past three Will Glickman awards, among many others. Founded in 1976 by Robert Woodruff to provide a forum for vanguard playwrights to experiment with new ideas, to develop and nurture creative collaborative relationships, and push the boundaries of the form, PF has since served nearly 500 emergent playwrights in successive waves, providing them with the indispensable, illusive resources and support required to advance new plays early in their development toward production. Our program alumni, first discovered early in their careers, have given voice to the social issues of the day, uplifted our cultural heritage, experimented in new forms, and promoted connectedness between people, and now include some of the most prominent names in contemporary theater, including Sam Shepard, David Henry Hwang, Nilo Cruz, Anna Deavere Smith, Philip Kan Gotanda, Paula Vogel, and Naomi Iizuka, to name just a few.

In the past ten years, over 80% of the artists we have worked with received subsequent productions, and their experience with the BAPF, has proven to be a significant step in that process. Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop; Lauren Yee’s Samsara; Kimber Lee’s brownsville song: b-side for tray, Chris Chen’s The Hundred Flowers Project, Peter Nachtrib’s Bob, along with Aaron Loeb, Lauren Gunderson, Marisela Orta, and Yussef el Guindi exemplify a few of the many recent beneficiaries of our work. Since 2012, program alumni have won three consecutive Will Glickman new play awards, Sam Hunter (BAPF 2007) won the MacArthur Genius Award, and Annie Baker (also BAPF 2007) won the Pulitzer. Both of these artists had their very first professional experiences at PF. In 2011, two PF workshopped plays had Broadway runs: Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo and Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop.

The centerpiece of our programming is the Bay Area Playwrights Festival (BAPF); as one of the first and longest-running new play festivals in the U.S., the BAPF is a hothouse for new work, which has supported over 300 diverse, fiercely talented writers. PF’s other programs are: the Producing Partners Initiative /Commissioning Program, the New Play Institute; the Rough Readings Series; the Resident Playwrights Program; the SF One-Minute Play Festival; and Des Voix…Found in Translation. Through these innovative programs, PF is continuing to fulfill our role as an essential resource for writers to develop new work, learn new skills, forge connections with producers, and engage audiences with their work.

Community/region/audience. PF serves national and local playwrights and new play producers, and theatergoers in the ten-county Bay Area. In 2014, we provided direct services to 64 professional playwrights, 56% of whom were based in the Bay Area, and over 100 playwrights taking classes in the New Play Institute. Our public programs served a total of 3,040 individuals last year, plus 4,849 unique viewers from 12 countries during two live-streamed events on #NewplayTV, the BAPF Symposium, and the SFOMPF. PF’s loyal cohort of audiences, donors and funders have been nurtured through our commitment to open participation and fostering conversation directly with the artists.