National Reports

Florida – West by Dewey Davis-Thompson

Florida – West by Dewey Davis-Thompson

Wake up West Florida, drama is brewing! This fall offers more than ever for Dramatists Guild members. Free tickets, new localized ambassadors and events.

First, let’s welcome the ambassadors. No longer “youth” ambassadors, and no longer restricted to “intern” duties, Tampa’s Jaime O’Brien still covers social media, so send events to jaimeo@mail.usf.edu.

In Sarasota, Arthur Keyser is by no means a youth, and began writing at 80. Now he is on fire. Arthur’s full-length play, Before Steepletop, was the winning play at The Players Centre for Performing Arts 2017 New Play Festival. His full-length play, Harry’s Angel, has been published by ArtAge Senior Theatre Resource Center and will be produced at Magic Curtain Productions Theatre in Orlando.

Arthur reports that Connie Schindewolf’s Mammoth Bones, had its premiere at the Players Centre for Performing Art. Her play Mammoth Bones won the Players’ 2016 New Play Festival.

Also in Sarasota, Larry Parr reports that in October Hi-Hat Hattie was performed in Wichita, Kansas, starring Karla Burns. Hi-Hat Hattie also runs in December at the Aurora Fox Theatre in Denver, Colorado. Next spring, Cell Theater in Albuquerque presents The I.C.E. Storm, a 10-minute play, and Ensemble of Cincinnati will roll out Parr’s His Eye Is On The Sparrow, The Story Of Ethel Waters.

In Naples, new ambassador Shawn Ryan has been instrumental in setting up The Southwest Florida Stage Writers Group. Playwrights, librettists, composers and lyricists of all levels of experience are invited to meet other writers, get feedback on writing samples and keep up-to-date on local theater activity. The first meeting was in Naples, but future meetings will also be held in Lee County. For details and to RSVP, contact Shawn Ryan: shawnryan.fl@gmail.com.

Our new ambassador in the central swamp-lands, Chuck Dent has served as the President of Playwrights’ Round Table’s Board of Directors since 2008, and has in that time produced hundreds of 10-minute plays, one-acts, and full-lengths, including Miss, winner of the Charles M. Getchell Best New Play from Southeastern Theatre Conference.

Orlando playwright William Newkirk’s play Miss also won Best Full-Length Play at the Tampa Bay Theatre Festival in September. Meanwhile, St. Pete’s Roxanne Fay was named a Hawthornden Writing Fellow, and recently spent a month in residence at Hawthornden Castle in Scotland, working on two new plays closely tied to the myth and legend of that country.

All of the local ambassadors are working to expand the Playwrights Welcome program to more west Florida theatres. So far about a dozen theatres have agreed to offer free tickets to Dramatists Guild members who show their ID card. Details are available on the DG website and a list of all the theatres is at samuelfrench.com/playwrightswelcome along with restrictions for each theatre.

DG Footlights is expanding to Florida! Starting in November at Florida Studio Theatre and then rotating between venues across the region, Footlights offers DG members the chance to present a staged reading of a full-length work to a local audience. For more info, or to submit your play for consideration, please email me at ddavis-thompson@dramatistsguild.com.

In other news, DLDF and the National Library Association present Banned Together, a nation-wide celebration of theatrical works that have been censored or pilloried. In Tampa we teamed up with Theatre Tampa Bay and a cast studded with local luminaries Lynn Locher, Angela Bond, Karla Hartley, Jim Sorensen, David Warner and Chris Romeo. With DG member Tom Sivak as Music Director and ambassador Jaime O’Brien as Assistant Director, the production was hosted by StageWorks on September 25.  Special thanks to Creative Loafing, Theatre Tampa Bay and John Burchette for support.

And finally, in December we shall be graced with Dramatists Guild President and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright at an event on December 10 at Florida Studio Theatre in cooperation with the Hermitage Artists Retreat. Keep your peepers peeled for more details in your emails.