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Ambassador Report: South Florida
2019-2021 Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Playwright Development Program
2019-2021 Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Playwright Development Program

Although the pandemic has brought a halt to live theatre, many theatres and programs in South Florida continue the wonderful work they do supporting Florida dramatists, now in virtual platforms. This blog highlights Miami-Dade County.

Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Playwright Development Program

     An incredible program for Miami-Dade playwrights, the Playwright Development Program (PDP) is a series of two-day workshops conducted by nationally renowned playwrights in conjunction with the South Florida Theatre League and the Deering Estate. The program is designed to provide intensive support for developing new work from Miami-Dade County’s growing and diverse playwright community.

     The PDP Cycle lasts two years and consists of three weekend workshops each year. Selected local playwrights develop their work further in intensive sessions with a nationally renowned playwright. At the conclusion of the series, “workshopped” plays may be presented in professionally produced readings at the Deering Estate at Cutler.

     Prior years’ Playwright Development Program cycles have featured the participation of Kenny Finkle, JOHN GUARE, EDWARD ALBEE, MARIA IRENE FORNES, LESLIE AYVAZIAN, Nilo Cruz, SHERI WILNER, A.R. GURNEY, Eduardo Machado, and ARTHUR KOPIT. Alumni include: CHRISTOPHER DEMOS-BROWN (American Son); VANESSA GARCIA (Amparo); ANDIE ARTHUR (The Secret of the Biological Clock), MARJ O’NEILL-BUTLER (Roadhouse), and Juan C. Sanchez (Miami Motel Stories).

     The 2019-2021 program is facilitated by award-winning dramatist and DG council member KIA CORTHRON. Playwrights include DG members JAKE CLINE, RICKY J. MARTINEZ, LOWELL WILLIAMS, and me.

THE GREENHOUSE Play Development Program at FIU

     Three South Florida playwrights are selected for one-week intensive residencies in the summer to workshop/revise a draft of a full-length play. A director, a dramaturg, and age-appropriate actors work with the playwright. The week culminates in a public reading of the revised work—this year, virtually on Zoom.

     MICHAEL YAWNEY, Dramatists Guild member and president of the South Florida Theatre League, is the facilitator of the Greenhouse. The 2020 series features all DG members: Purple Hearts by Jake Cline; Uneven Sides of a Triangle by Marj O’Neill-Butler; and The Words of Dead Men by ISRAEL GARCIA.

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

     The Adrienne Arsht Center is one of the jewels of downtown Miami. During normal times it is host to Broadway tours, concerts, dance companies and orchestras in addition to its educational outreach program. Arsht@Home offers free, hyperlocal content for arts enthusiasts of all ages. Exciting options include creating art with family and friends with the help of local teaching artists as well as watching Miami’s talented actors, singers and musicians perform. Additional offerings include resources and thrilling performances from the Center’s resident companies and arts partners, Spotify playlists curated by artists and Arsht Center staffers especially made for Arsht@Home, free 1:1 professional development training with the Center’s HR team, and much more. Miami Monologues features work by Miami playwrights including Dramatists Guild members Andie Arthur, Jake Cline, MICHAEL MCKEEVER, Vanessa Garcia, SUSAN WESTFALL, and Christopher Demos-Brown.

Fantasy Theatre Factory

     Fantasy Theatre Factory at the Sandrell Rivers Theater is a welcome haven for Florida dramatists. Their annual Summer of Substance Play Reading Series often features local writers; and their New Year, New Works! Series selects 4-5 plays by Florida dramatists to have a staged reading. The 2020 Series: Centennial by EDWARD BLOOR; Accommodation by GREG BURDICK (DG Regional Ambassador); Inquisition by Robert Hilliard, Transitions by DONNA WARFIELD, and my play Touch the Moon.

     Finally, a quick shout out to Main Street Players in Miami Lakes and their annual New Plays Competition. This year they chose two plays by local playwrights for staged readings.

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