Please give a warm welcome to two newly elected Regional Reps: John Pietrowski in New Jersey, and Brian Walker in Kentucky. Elections will be opening in ten regions by the end of August – be on the lookout for future announcements from the Dramatists Guild, and make sure to VOTE for your next Regional Representative!
BRIAN WALKER - KENTUCKY
I am a playwright living in LaGrange, Kentucky (just outside Louisville). I’ve been writing plays since I was eight years old. Theatre has been in my blood since I was a child and it’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. I committed high school and college to acting, but while I was pursuing acting, I wrote more and more and realized it was what I was supposed to be doing. Writing plays feeds my soul and I do it because I have to do it. I believe storytelling is what makes us human, the sharing of ideas and emotions; it is what brings us together and helps us to evolve and to empathize. The theatre is where I’ve always wanted to tell my stories. I feel like theatre has an opportunity to actively and immediately grab audiences over multiple generational and social backgrounds and engage them in what theatre is and can do: it can change lives and change perspectives, it can provoke, it can help us escape.
I started producing my own plays in my late 20’s, and have also produced eight festivals of ten minute plays written by local playwrights, in addition to full length productions by multiple Kentucky playwrights. I have recently decided to hang up my producer’s hat, but I feel like I have a lot to offer in the way of advice and wisdom on self-producing and gathering playwrights into communities.
I started an organization, with David Clark, called Derby City Playwrights, here in Louisville, for local playwrights; we’re about to launch our 6th season. Our model: eight to ten playwrights meet once a month over the course of a season to read new pages of works in progress, with the shared goal of having a full length play at the end of the season to present to the community in readings and productions.
Derby City Playwrights has taught me the power of community and shared mentorship. Bringing playwrights together makes us all better playwrights. We can be stones for each other’s swords, and we all walk away sharper and better prepared for battle.
The reason I joined the Dramatist Guild was for the sense of community outside of my own bubble, to feel like I was a part of something larger, and most importantly, that I’m not alone in my pursuits and passions. I have consistently found that as a member, and it’s why I have remained a member for over ten years. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and befriend several Kentucky playwrights because of meet ups or events hosted by previous DG regional reps; these are friends I wouldn’t have had it not been for the Guild. It’s why the Guild is important to me, and why I’m excited at the opportunity to serve.
As the Kentucky regional rep for the Dramatist Guild, I will look forward to creating dynamic events to bring Kentucky playwrights together in different regions, and offer opportunities for development, and also social connection. I also look forward to getting out of Louisville into the great state of Kentucky, and meeting and connecting with more playwrights outside my city.
I look forward to serving as your regional rep for the next three years!
JOHN PIETROWSKI - NEW JERSEY
I am very grateful for this opportunity to serve as Regional Representative in the “research and development” state that is New Jersey. Our numbers are legion-- 15% of us are writers of color and/or part of the LGBTQ+ community and 43% of us are women writers. I am currently working with members to put together an Ambassador team that will reflect on, and resonate with, our diversity, and hope to quickly develop a comprehensive three-year plan for programs and services, building on the excellent work started by Stephen Kaplan. At the same time, I am trying to get a handle on the new play ecosystem in the state; you may know I am very familiar with NJ professional theatres, less familiar with our community theatre scene. I am putting together a database of these theatres, and am coming across a number of pleasant surprises. I am also trying to find informal writing groups in the state. These latter two groups are not easy to corral, so if you have suggestions, let me know. I will provide a summary of my findings, as soon as I get everything together. Hopefully, when things are set to fire up again, we’ll be ready to go.
Find Your Regional Rep or Ambassador