Marin-based AlterTheater has announced the inaugural members of its new playwright residency program. Designed for recent students, their AlterLab First Acts program is designed to provide a supported environment for BIPOC playwrights early in their careers. The inaugural “class” includes Texas natives lily gonzales and Alicia Margarita Olivo, New Yorker Devin Porter, Chicago-based Jasmine Sharma, and California native Baylee Shlictman.
“Community is vital for writers, and to be able to give space to BIPOC playwrights to create something new, with no restrictions is a joyful thing, especially when these writers have felt constrained in other spaces,” says twice-commissioned AlterLab playwright Diana Burbano (GHOSTS OF BOGOTÁ).
Burbano will lead AlterLab First Acts playwrights in a 12-week residency program, where each writer will create a new one-act play. She says, “My great joy is to give writers space to breathe, to talk, to question, free of the need to be “perfect”. In the lab, the writers will be encouraged to write what excites them, without worrying about whether it follows rules, is “universal”, is “producible”. Their imaginations can be free and they will be able to interrogate new ways of presenting their work.”
“AlterLab First Acts is a natural expansion of our AlterLab playwright residency program,” saysAlterTheater artistic director Jeanette Harrison. “We do our best to listen to what artists need, and this program is for both our resident playwrights who want to lift up the next generation of writers, and for early career writers. We hope to interrupt harm, and to help BIPOC writers build a community that canfollow them throughout their careers.”
Burbano echoes this, “My hope is that the pieces written in this program will find life on the stage and that the writers will find a cohort that will support and challenge their work, and will continue to count on each other as they navigate their way through the theatre world.”
AlterLab First Acts will meet weekly on Zoom through November 24th. Playwrights were chosen from national submissions. Applicants are current or recent students, or graduated in the previous two years.
Click HERE for more information on the AlterLab First Acts program and its participants.