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Huntington Theatre Company's Inaugural Summer Workshop Includes New Work by Huntington Playwriting Fellows John Oluwole ADEkoje, Patrick Gabridge, MJ Kaufman, and Melinda Lopez

(BOSTON) – The Huntington Theatre Company announces the inaugural Summer Workshop, a two-week new work retreat for selected members of the Huntington’s Playwriting Fellows program. The artist-driven workshop will occur July 10 – 22, and will culminate in public readings of the four plays in development:

**Readings are open to the public, but not open to reviewing members of the press. 

“We are continuously looking for ways to make our new work initiatives work better for the writers and for the local theatre ecology,” says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. “In think-tank conversations with our Huntington Playwriting Fellows, they told us that they wanted more opportunities to work in three dimensions. I can’t wait to revisit these four plays at the end of the process to see how they’ve grown.”

The Summer Workshop is modeled after the Sundance Theatre Lab and is an extension of the Huntington’s Playwriting Fellows program and Breaking Ground Reading Series. Huntington Director of New Work Lisa Timmel and Huntington dramaturg Charles Haugland will support the writers during the intensive, artist-driven development process. The festival is produced by Huntington Associate Producer M. Bevin O’Gara.

The Summer Workshop is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

ABOUT THE PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS

JAGUN FLY

by John Oluwole ADEkoje
Directed by Niegel Smith 

One African-American family’s experience collides Yoruba traditions with contemporary urban experience. Playwright John Oluwole ADEkoje connects the break-up of the African diaspora to inner-city America through ritual and language.

John Oluwole ADEkoje is playwriting fellow Huntington Theater Company. He was the recipient of The Roxbury International Film Festival’s Local Filmmaker award for his documentary Street Soldiers, which also showed at the Pan African Film Festival in Cannes, France, The World Film Festival in Montreal, as well as the BronzeLens Film Festival in Atlanta and for which he received the Brother Thomas Fellowship Award. Most recently, he was awarded the Emerging Filmmaker Award for Knockaround Kids, his first narrative feature, at the Roxbury International Film Festival. John Oluwole ADEkoje,  teaches theatre and film production at Boston Arts Academy.

(As of Septmeber 2020)

FLIGHT

by Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Jessica Bauman

Sarah escapes from her life by spending most of her time at the airport, pretending to be someone else but never going anywhere. After a janitor, Carlos, attempts to befriend her, she discovers she isn’t nearly as invisible as she’d hoped. Flight gives us a drama about people lost in a place that’s not really anywhere, trying to salvage lives torn apart by loss. 

Patrick Gabridge's Drift (2016) and Flight (2012) have been part of the Huntington's Summer Workshops. Mr. Gabridge's full-length plays include Mox Nox, Lab Rats, Blood on the Snow, Chore Monkeys, Distant Neighbors, Fire on Earth, and Blinders and have been staged by theatres across the country. He was the artist-in-residence at Mt. Auburn Cemetery for 2018-19, where he developed and produced two series of site-specific plays, The America Plays and The Nature Plays, as well as Moonlight Abolitionists (a site-specific play designed to be read under the full moon). His short plays are published by Playscripts, Brooklyn Publishers, Heuer, Smith & Kraus, StageRights, and YouthPlays and have received more than 1,000 productions from theatres and schools around the world. He’s also the author of four novels, and his work for radio/audio has been broadcast and produced by NPR, Shoestring Radio Theatre, Playing on Air, and Icebox Radio Theatre. Mr. Gabridge has a habit of starting things: he helped start Boston’s Rhombus Playwrights writers’ group, the Chameleon Stage theatre company in Denver, the publication Market InSight… for Playwrights, the on-line Playwrights’ Submission Binge, and the New England New Play Alliance. He’s currently the Eastern New England Regional Rep for the Dramatists Guild. He is the producing artistic director of Plays in Place, a company focused on creating new site-specific plays in partnership with cultural institutions and historic sites. In his spare time, he likes to farm and fix up old houses.

 

(As of September 2020)

UNTITLED PLAY ABOUT DEAD BODIES

by MJ Kaufman
Directed by Kara-Lynn Vaeni

Lila and Ella met washing dead bodies at a Brooklyn chevra kadisha, a traditional Jewish burial society. When Lila suddenly cuts off their affair on the same day Ella receives an ominous note in the mail, Ella seeks out Brooklyn's only Jewish private eye, Sassy Feigenbaum. MJ Kaufman's new play is about dead bodies and ex-girlfriends.  

Originally from Portland, Oregon, MJ Kaufman attended Wesleyan University and recently received an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama. He has received awards and commissions from the Program for Women in Theater, the Playwrights Foundation, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, Young Playwrights Inc., New Harmony Project, Global Age Project, and the Huntington Theatre Company, where he is also a Huntington Playwriting Fellow. MJ was awarded the 2010 Jane Chambers Prize in Feminist Theatre for his play A Live Dress. His work has also been produced by Fresh Ink Theatre, the Yale School of Drama, and performed in Russian in Moscow. He received the 2013 ASCAP Cole Porter Prize in Playwriting, and is currently a member of the Clubbed Thumb Emerging Writers Group, The Falcons.

(As of June 2014)

BECOMING CUBA

by Melinda Lopez
Directed by M. Bevin O'Gara 

On the eve of the Spanish-American war, widowed Adela runs a pharmacy, indifferent to the mounting conflict around her. But when the rebellion comes home to Havana, Adela, a loyal Spaniard, is forced to choose between country and family. By turns funny and impassioned, Becoming Cuba asks if freedom is something we all want. 

Melinda Lopez has appeared at the Huntington numerous times as an actress including in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (2019), Yerma (2019),and Mala (2018) (which she also wrote) and as Mrs. Gibbs in Our Town. She was playwright-in-residence at the Huntington from 2013-2019. The Huntington also produced her plays Becoming Cuba (2014) (also at North Coast Repertory Theatre) and Sonia Flew (2004) also at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Laguna Playhouse, San Jose Repertory Theatre, among others. Her play Mala (2018) (also produced at ArtsEmerson and Guthrie Theatre) earned the 2017 Elliot Norton Award of Best New Play and an Arts Impulse Award for Best Solo Performance. It is available on Audible. Ms. Lopez is a 2019 Mass Cultural Council Fellow in dramatic writing and is the recipient of the 2019 Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence.

(As of October 2019)

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON PLAYWRITING FELLOWS PROGRAM

The Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program 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.

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 Breaking Ground reading series. 

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. Recently, the Huntington began convening Fellows, past and present, at an annual meeting to solicit ideas on how to improve and expand the program, and the Summer Workshop launches in July 2012. 

In 2009, the Huntington instituted an open application process with submissions solicited each spring from any writer primarily based within commuting distance of Boston. The theatre selects two to three writers whose terms overlap with adjacent cohorts.

Huntington productions of plays by Fellows include The Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge, Before I Leave You by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, Stick Fly by Lydia R. Diamond, The Atheist and Brendan by Ronan Noone, Sonia Flew by Melinda Lopez, The Cry of the Reed by Sinan Ünel, Shakespeare’s Actresses in America by Rebecca Maggor, and Psyched and the upcoming “M” by Ryan Landry.

ABOUT THE HUNTINGTON

Since its founding in 1982, the Huntington Theatre Company has developed into Boston’s leading theatre company. Bringing together superb local and national talent, the Huntington produces a mix of groundbreaking new works and classics made current. Led by Artistic Director Peter DuBois and Managing Director Michael Maso, the Huntington creates award-winning productions, runs nationally renowned programs in education and new play development, and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. The Huntington is in residence at Boston University. For more information, visit huntingtontheatre.org.

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