THE HUNTINGTON PRESENTS THE 2022 BREAKING GROUND FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS – FREE READINGS OF NEW WORKS JULY 20 – 25, 2022
Breaking Ground highlights the work of Huntington Playwriting Fellows and marks the first festival since 2019, before the pandemic
(BOSTON) – The Huntington announces that the 2022 Breaking Ground festival of new plays will be held July 20 – 25, 2022 at The Calderwood/BCA, the first Huntington readings open to the public since before the pandemic.
The Breaking Ground festival is a vital part of the Huntington’s new play development efforts and highlights the work of locally-based Huntington Playwriting Fellows and national writers in partnership with the Huntington. Since its inception in 2003, many Breaking Ground plays have gone on to appear as part of Huntington seasons as well as those of theatres in Boston, across the country, and internationally.
Readings are free and open to the public, though not to reviewing members of the press. Advance reservation is required. Find more information and RSVP at huntingtontheatre.org/BreakingGround2022
The five-day festival will include 4 plays written by Huntington Playwriting Fellows:
- Arbor, written by Catherine Epstein and directed by Morgan Green
Wednesday, July 20 at 7:30pm at The Calderwood/BCA
- Black Mother Lost Daughter, written by Fedna Jacquet and directed by Stevie Walker-Webb
Friday, July 22 at 7:30pm at The Calderwood/BCA
- Rough Magic, written by Andrew Siañez-De La O and directed by Melinda Lopez
Saturday, July 23 at 7:30pm at The Calderwood/BCA
- Let’s Pretend We’re Married, written by Kate Cortesi and directed by Rebecca Bradshaw
Monday, July 25 at 7:30pm at The Calderwood/BCA
“One of our joys at The Huntington is bringing work by Playwriting Fellows to Boston audiences in Breaking Ground,” says Huntington Director of New Work Charles Haugland. “Each of these playwrights’ voices are effortlessly distinct, and I love these plays’ humor, insight, sorrow, and humanity. We’re also happy to welcome an incredible slate of directors both new and returning. We’ll be in great hands with the teams bringing these new plays to life.”
Breaking Ground is supported by the Harry Kondoleon Playwriting Fund and the Stanford Calderwood Fund for New American Plays.
MORE ABOUT THE PLAYS AND ARTISTS:
by Catherine Epstein
Directed by Morgan Green
Wednesday, July 20 at 7:30pm
For visitors to the arboretum, the trees are a place of escape, a slice of nature — but for those who work there, the park is everything. Amidst the glorious redwoods and cedars is the chaos of a single dog off a leash, a staff meeting nobody wants to attend, a daughter who won’t call back, and somebody who keeps taking a dip in the pond! Catherine Epstein’s Arbor is a funny and perceptive take on how we all respond to change, growth, and natural evolution.
Catherine Epstein (playwright) is a writer, an educator, and a Huntington Playwriting Fellow. She was a Humanities and theatre teacher in Massachusetts for nine years, and she now lives in Virginia and works for Facing History & Ourselves. Before classroom teaching, she also worked as a radio producer, editor, and museum educator. Catherine has been a resident at the Catwalk Art Residency in Catskill, New York.
Morgan Green (director) directs films, plays, and podcasts. They often use humor as a tool to investigate something true. Her work celebrates idiosyncratic goofiness, visual poetry, and surprise. Morgan is a co-founder of the award-winning theatre company New Saloon. Their deconstructed Uncle Vanya, Minor Character was part of the 2019 Under the Radar Festival at The Public Theater. Morgan is a co-artistic director at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, where she recently directed the Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Fat Ham by James Ijames.
by Fedna Jacquet
Directed by Stevie Walker-Webb
Friday, July 22 at 7:30pm
In this searing and haunted play, playwright Fedna Jacquet asks us to consider the gap between justice and responsibility. In life, Queen painted vivid portraits that captured the truth of her subjects — but when she is killed by police, her sister Princess hopes to keep Queen’s memory alive and their mother afloat. Intimate and emotional, Black Mother Lost Daughter shows how a national reckoning echoes in the lives of three women.
Fedna Jacquet was born in Boston to Haitian parents, and is a full-time director/writer/actor. She is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow, an inaugural Still I Rise Documentary Fellow, a National Black Theatre Playwright in Residence, and a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Playwriting/Screenwriting. Her plays include Pefeksyon, Inheritance, Civic Duty, Gurlfriend, and Heroes. Her written work for the screen includes Isaiah (ABFF/TVOne Screenplay Competition Finalist, Homebase (Juilliard/NYU Showcase), Inheritance (2020 Tribeca Chanel Through Her Lens Finalist, 2021 Urbanworld Film Festival), Circus (2020 HollyShorts Quarterfinalist) and Going Home. Fedna is currently recurring as an actor on “City on a Hill” (Showtime) and “FBI: Most Wanted” (CBS), and has appeared on “The Equalizer,” “New Amsterdam,” “Law & Order SVU,” “The Blacklist,” and many others. She received her BA from Brown University and her MFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.
Stevie Walker-Webb (director) is an award-winning director, writer and cultural worker who believes in the transformational power of art. As a survivor of poverty and the associative violence that comes with growing up black and poor in America, he creates work that liberates and reframes the narratives of marginalized groups. He is a co-founder and executive director of HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS, an arts and advocacy non-profit that makes visual the suffering and inhumane treatment of incarcerated mentally ill people and the policies that adversely impact their lives. He is the recipient of an Obie Award for Directing (Ain’t No Mo at The Public), the Princess Grace Award for Theatre, The Lily Award in honor of Lorraine Hansberry awarded by the Dramatists Guild of America, a 2050 Fellow at New York Theatre Workshop and a Wellspring Scholar. He’s The Founding Artistic Director of the Jubilee Theatre in Waco, Texas, and has created art and Theatre in Madagascar, South Africa, Mexico, Mississippi and across America. His work has been produced by The Public Theatre, American Civil Liberties Union, The New Group, Cherry Lane, Zara Aina, Woolly Mammoth, Baltimore Center Stage, La Mama, and Theatre of the Oppressed-NYC. Along with his art and advocacy work, Stevie currently teaches and creates art at Harvard and NYU’s Tisch School for the Arts. steviewalkerwebb.com
by Andrew Siañez-De La O
Directed by Melinda Lopez
Saturday, July 23 at 7:30pm
A hurricane is raging in Houston, but that won’t stop Miranda from breaking into her school’s gym and enacting her master plan. She’ll need her abuela’s help, her best friend’s guidance, and a nudge from a friendly ghost if she wants to survive this storm. Rough Magic is an intimate reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest brought to life with a touch of brujeria and the warmth of a candle.
Andrew Siañez-De La O (he/they) is a Mexican-American stage and audio dramatist from the US Borderlands. His work, which often centers his borderland heritage and cultural diaspora, has been developed and produced across the country. He is an organizing committee member of the WGA Audio Alliance working towards an equitable future for audio drama writers. His audio work includes being a scriptwriter for “Timestorm” and an upcoming collaboration with Stormfire Productions, an audio series adaptation of his young adult fantasy play “The Ortiz Twins Are Coming Home.” He is currently writing for ZeniMax Online Studios’ MMO “Elder Scrolls Online.”
Melinda Lopez (director) is Artist-in-Residence at The Huntington. As performer: Mala (ArtsEmerson, Guthrie Theater, The Huntington, Audible, PBS), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Our Town, Persephone, Rose Tattoo, A Month in the Country (Huntington), Grand Concourse, Appropriate, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Theatre District, Anna in the Tropics (SpeakEasy Stage), Many Colors Make the Thunder King (Guthrie Theater), Romeo and Juliet (Portland Stage), Taming of the Shrew, Twelfth Night (Shakespeare & Company). As playwright: Mala, adaptation of Yerma, Becoming Cuba, Sonia Flew, audio series Dream Boston, Black Beans Project (The Huntington), Back the Night, Orchids to Octopi. Residencies: Sundance Institute Theatre Lab, Lark Play Development Center, New York Theatre Workshop. Awards: IRNE Award, Elliot Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, October 29, 2016 declared Melinda Lopez Day in the City of Boston. Professor at Northeastern University.
by Kate Cortesi
Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw
Monday, July 25 at 7:30pm
Sabrina’s an indoor kid. Literally. Her deathly allergy to the sun means if she takes a step outside, she’ll be dead within the week. So when her mom leaves her home alone for the first time in her sunless 25 years, there’s little danger of Sabrina sneaking out. But someone sneaking in? Enter Nic, the new kid in town with plenty of baggage. What ensues between these two young strangers might be the strangest one-day love story in the history of one-day love stories. A hilarious, heartsick tale that combines fairytale wonder and dystopian undercurrents, Let’s Pretend We’re Married pays tribute to the power of imagination to get us through dark times when we’re stuck inside.
Kate Cortesi is a Boston area-based playwright from Washington, DC who writes about women, young people, liars, and the American psyche – with jokes. Her full-length plays include Great Kills (Princess Grace Award), A Patron of the Arts (Cherry Lane Theatre, South Coast Rep New Scripts Series, In Scena! Festival, Rome), ONE MORE LESS (NYFA award, Relentless Award finalist, Playwrights Horizons New Works Lab), Love (Sky Cooper New American Play Prize, Marin Theatre Company, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Kilroys List) and Is Edward Snowden Single? (The Jungle Theater, Single Carrot Theater, Dorset Theatre Festival, The Pool at The New Ohio). She is a Huntington Playwriting Fellow, a resident playwright at New Dramatists, and a New Georges Affiliated Artist. Kate wrote three theatre pieces in quarantine: an audio play called Radio Nowhere, produced by Keen Company, available wherever you listen to podcasts, a short monologue play, “I Love Parties” which raised money for The Homebound Project and won first prize in the Hear Me Out Monologue Competition, and Let’s Pretend We’re Married. katecortesi.com
Rebecca Bradshaw (director, she/her) is artistic director of Kitchen Theatre Company in Ithaca, NY. She built her career in Boston as a theatre director, producer, educator, casting director, and advocate. She has directed full productions for Kitchen Theatre Company, The Huntington, Lyric Stage, The Nora Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage, Greater Boston Stage Company, ART Institute, Emerson College, Bridge Rep of Boston, Central Square Theatre/MIT, and The Umbrella Center for the Arts, among others. Before her current position, Rebecca was the associate producer of The Huntington, where she handled line producing, casting, and developing new work. She is a part of the affiliate faculty of Emerson College, teaching directing and producing, and has taught casting seminars at Harvard University, Suffolk University, Boston University, Brandeis University, Lesley University, and Boston Conservatory. She is a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers union.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON THEATRE COMPANY’S NEW PLAY INITIATIVES AND PLAYWRITING FELLOWS PROGRAM
The Huntington is a national leader in the development of new plays and has produced more than 120 world, American, or New England premieres. The cornerstone of activity is the Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program, a two-year fellowship for selected local writers that creates relationships between a local community of writers and a nationally prominent producing theatre, forges those bonds through authentic conversation and artistic collaboration, and encourages dialogue between local artists. The Breaking Ground festival of new plays allows selected HPFs and national writers to develop their plays in two and three dimensions.
The Huntington’s 22-23 season includes two plays by HPFs: The Art of Burning by Kate Snodgrass and K-I-S-S-I-N-G by Lenelle Moïse. Previous Huntington productions of plays by HPFs include Sonia Flew, Becoming Cuba, and Mala by Melinda Lopez; Common Ground Revisited, Our Daughters, Like Pillars, Milk Like Sugar and Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge; A Guide for the Homesick by Ken Urban; The Atheist, Brendan, and The Second Girl by Ronan Noone; The Bluest Eye, Stick Fly and Smart People by Lydia R. Diamond; Ryan Landry’s “M” and Psyched by Ryan Landry; Before I Leave You by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro; The Cry of the Reed by Sinan Ünel; and Shakespeare’s Actresses in America by Rebekah Maggor.
Since 2003, the HPF program has invited writers to participate in two-year residencies, during which playwrights receive a modest honorarium, join in a biweekly writers’ collective with artistic staff, attend Huntington productions and events, and are eligible for readings and support through the Summer Workshop and Breaking Ground festival of new plays.
The primary focus of the program is creating relationships with writers at all stages of their careers, from emerging talent to established professionals. The program provides a framework for an in-depth, two-year artistic conversation and a long-term professional relationship.
Since 2009, the Huntington has instituted an open application process with submissions from any writer primarily based within commuting distance of Boston; applications are generally solicited every 18 months to two years, and the theatre selects two to three writers whose terms overlap with adjacent cohorts.
ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON
Celebrating its 40th season, The Huntington is Boston’s theatrical commons and leading professional theatre company. On our stages and throughout our city, we share enduring and untold stories that spark the imagination of audiences and artists and amplify the wide range of voices in our community. Committed to welcoming broad and diverse audiences, The Huntington provides life-changing opportunities for students through its robust education and community programs, is a national leader in the development of playwrights and new plays, acts as the host organization for a multi-year residency of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a Black theatre company based in Boston, and serves the local arts community through our operation of The Huntington Calderwood/BCA. Under the leadership of Norma Jean Calderwood Artistic Director Loretta Greco and Managing Director Michael Maso, The Huntington is currently conducting a transformational renovation of the historic Huntington Theatre, a storied venue with a bold vision for the future. The project will allow us to innovatively expand our services to audiences, artists, and the community for generations to come. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.