The cover of The Atlanta Issue of The Dramatist
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Pumphouse Players
Pumphouse Players. Photo credit: Michael Boatright
Pumphouse Players. Photo credit: Michael Boatright

Will: Pumphouse Players is opening the door to a wider community for me. I live and write in a very rural area, and while I have friends who are interested in theater, my access to seasoned performers and directors is limited. It’s easy to get a group of friends together on your couch, but it doesn’t always show you all the things you need to see.

Pumphouse was great to reschedule my reading in an effort to keep their community safe during a COVID spike, so now I am counting down to May to get my chance to work with them, to hear my play, and to get a taste of what the greater-Atlanta theatre community is like. 

Emily: I’m so excited for your reading, Will, and I hope you are able to benefit from the reading series at Pumphouse as much as I have. For folks who might not be aware, Pumphouse Players is a community theatre in Cartersville, GA. This relatively small group has made a huge impact in our writing community through their staged readings series. Offered at no cost to Georgia playwrights, Pumphouse provides a director and actors that rehearse the play and perform in a public staged reading. This is an amazing opportunity for us to hear our work and receive that all-important feedback. Pumphouse Playwrights program director Karen Ruetz (a talented playwright herself!) clearly understands the needs of playwrights and uses the resources available to create a space where new work is cared for and playwrights are encouraged and supported. 

I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in the process three times: My Brother’s Secret Keeper, Paradise, Stayed, and most recently Julie’s Place have all gone through the staged reading process at Pumphouse. Each time I’ve been impressed by the performers and their commitment to putting forth strong representations of the characters I’ve written. I appreciate that the readings are rehearsed rather than a straight, cold reading. While the performers are still script-in-hand, they are clearly familiar with the text and are able to make the kinds of informed character choices that come from a good director/performer relationship. This allows the audience at the reading to have a more polished experience and it’s representative of the work as it truly was meant to be experienced. The post-reading session is moderated by a theatre professional who guides the discussion in a caring and artist-centered manner. The feedback I’ve received has been invaluable as I revise. Pumphouse’s reading series is an incredible gift to the Atlanta theatre scene and I hope more Georgia playwrights take advantage of the experience! 

Will Murdock
Will Murdock

is a Georgia-based playwright and director. He is the Artistic Director and playwright for Georgia’s Official Folk-Life play Swamp Gravy, annually creating a play based on true stories from the community. His plays can be read on New Play Exchange.

Emily McClain
Emily McClain

is a playwright and theatre educator. She’s a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and a founding member of WriteStuffATL and some bodies theatre collective. Her work may be read on New Play Exchange.