Power to the Playwright! That’s the rallying call of the Seattle-based dramatist-centered organization known as Rain City Projects. Originally founded in 1991 by theatre director Mark Lutwak, Rain City Projects set out with one mission: support playwrights and their work in the Pacific Northwest. And it is upon that founding principle that twenty-nine years later, RCP continues to stand, weaving itself into the very DNA of the Seattle theatre community and the Pacific Northwest region at large.
In its nearly three-decade history, RCP has taken on many incarnations and services, branching out into publishing (printing almost 200 individual plays), producing play readings, circulating monthly journals, and hosting wild Ukulele-themed events--always working to understand what artists want, and then provide. In its current iteration, the devoted seven-member team of multi-hyphenated artists works hard to provide opportunities and programming that live up to RCP’s original mission and goes beyond. A highlight among Rain City Projects’ many current offerings is the Manifesto Series—an ongoing set of published and printed play anthologies featuring plays by local/PNW dramatists. To date, there are five volumes in the Series, each curated by a Nationally-recognized playwright, each with their own manifesto speaking to the current state of theatre. A strong variety of playwrights have been featured across the five volumes including established local dramatists Holly Arsenault, Elizabeth Heffron, Brett Fetzer, and Wayne Rawley. Up-and-comers Keiko Green, Benjamin Benne, and Seayoung Yim have been featured more recently. And nationally-recognized Yussef El Guindi, Samuel D. Hunter, and the Tony-nominated Heidi Schrek have shared the spotlight as well. Notable Series Editors include Lauren Yee, Naomi Iizuka, and Steven Dietz. To further serve the playwrights, the Manifesto is mailed out free of charge to over five-hundred theatres, universities, libraries, and arts organizations nationwide, with the hopes of gaining maximum exposure for these magnificent plays and their authors. The Manifesto Series is also available for purchase on Amazon. Another highlight: Through a recent partnership with the National Winter Playwrights Retreat, RCP has been able to send playwrights to Creede, Colorado to develop new work. In 2018, local playwright/performer Amy Escobar was able to develop her fabulously gothic haunted house tale We Go Mad through her time in Creede. She produced the play the following year at fringe theatre 18th & Union to rave reviews. Other RCP offerings include travel grants to support playwrights travelling for rehearsal and production, structured and unstructured writing retreats, hosted playwright brunches, and various speed networking events.
As the board of Rain City Projects looks toward the future, they continue to listen and respond to the needs of our community, in order to find innovative ways to uplift the amazing talent we have here. It’s a fact that the Pacific Northwest is brimming with vital stories to tell and brilliant writers to tell them. Organizations like Rain City Projects play a critical role in making sure that an entire region of voices and stories don’t go unheard.
Find out more: www.raincityprojects.org
ANDREW LEE CREECH is a Seattle-based writer and performer dedicated to telling stories which center on the Black experience. His work has been produced/presented by: Copious Love Productions, Radial Theatre Project, The Kraine (NYC), Theatre Southwest (Houston, TX), and more. He serves as the Seattle Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild.