SAN DIEGO–Cygnet Theatre have teamed up with long time supporters Bill and Judy Garrett to launch the Bill and Judy Garrett Finish Line Commission, a program that reinforces the 14-year-old theatre’s commitment to new work and discovering new, diverse voices.
For two years, Cygnet and Associate Artistic Director Rob Lutfy, have partnered with the Playwrights Project to present Playwrights in Process which included a multi-day festival including readings, workshops and a reception. This new program has a deeper commitment to helping a playwright finish a work and move toward a possible full production. In addition, Cygnet Theatre will become an associate member of the National New Play Network – a coalition of nonprofit theatres around the country committed to new work.
“At Cygnet, we believe the best way to really have an impact on the American theater is to focus on new plays. The footprint of this program is to allow writers to work on their dream play. This could be a play that may have been sitting in their computer for a few years or a play that was given a commission but never produced. Basically, a play that needs a home and support getting over the finish line,” explained Lutfy. “By producing new plays, we are directly supporting living artists who are in the prime of their creative years. We are helping to keep artists in the business of making art, an essential service to our community and to our times.”
Plays awarded a Finish Line Commission will be given a week long workshop at the theatre in November, a financial reward and an assurance that the play will have a shot at a world premier production at Cygnet.
“These will be plays from writers in whose work we have a committed interest and whose voice speaks to our mission and our community,” explained Lutfy. “These are plays that are not submitted to us, rather playwrights we seek out. These readings give the playwright the opportunity to develop the play and give Cygnet Theatre the exposure to potential new collaborators for our main stage programming.”
“We enthusiastically support the nurturing of new playwrights who are exploring provocative, entertaining, contemporary stories and topics to add to the vast lexicon of theatrical works currently available to performers and audiences. We’re delighted to be able to help create new works for today’s audiences,” Judy Garrett said.
The Bill and Judy Garrett Finish Line Commission provides:
- Financial support to the playwright, actors, director, dramaturg and designers.
- A set designer and costume designer for each playwright to create a “dream design” if the play were to be produced on Cygnet’s stage. This gives the playwright a visual concept with a clear idea of how the play could potentially work in Cygnet’s space.
- Housing, roundtrip travel and a vehicle for the week long stay.
- Rehearsal space, actors, a director and a dramaturg.
- Finishing Commission grant for a mid-career playwright and right of first refusal.
- A Finish Line Commission grant for a local playwright and right of first refusal
- Public readings of both plays. November 11-12.
- A series of public forums around the festival.
- A yearly membership to the National New Play Network. This allows the playwrights the chance to pitch plays to other member theaters. They will be connected to other playwrights and directors committed to making new work.
Playwright Rachael VanWormer’s Death of a Late Summer Songbird – Set in the South in the midst of the Great Depression, a young woman struggles against the odds to keep hope alive for her withering family. When an unlikely friendship challenges the fundamental values with which she has been raised, she is faced with an impossible choice.