Theatre Lab’s Fair Play Initiative
by P. Burks | Tuesday, Jul 16, 2019
Theatre Lab, the professional resident company of Florida Atlantic University, is pleased to announce the launch of its newest program, “The Fair Play Initiative,” a program for commissioning and development of plays by LGBTQ+ playwrights. The initiative is made possible through generous funding from Our Fund Foundation, which promotes a culture of responsible philanthropy by uniting donors with organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community to make South Florida the most livable community in the country for LGBTQ+ people. In February, Theatre Lab announced a nationwide call for submissions from self-identifying LGBTQ+ playwrights for two commissions of new plays.
“After carefully reviewing more than 80 applications from playwrights across the country, we are incredibly excited to announce the two winners, Patricia Cotter and Rachel Lynett,” said Matt Stabile, Theatre Lab artistic director. Each playwright will receive a monetary award for their new plays and visit Theatre Lab to participate in a week-long development process, culminating in a publicly presented staged reading at Theatre Lab during the 2019-20 season.
“Theatre Lab believes one of our most important responsibilities is doing all we can to help level the playing field for artists from all walks of life,” said Stabile. “We are committed to ensure that these deserving stories are shared with a broader community – promoting a deeper understanding and connection between us all.”
Theatre Lab will retain exclusive rights to a world premiere production of each play for up to one year following its first public reading. Additionally, all future productions or publications of the play will include the billing “Commissioned by Theatre Lab at FAU as part of the Fair Play Initiative, made possible by Our Fund Foundation.”
“The Fair Play Initiative supports Theatre Lab’s mission of presenting dynamic new playwrights from diverse backgrounds and from under-represented demographics within our community, the region and nationally,” said Louis Tyrrell, Theatre Lab founding director.
The first public reading of Cotter’s “After All I Did for You,” which presents a specific and intimate history of the HIV/AIDS crisis and how it has impacted both the gay and lesbian communities, will take place on Sunday, Oct. 27 during Theatre Lab’s Playwright’s Forum and Masterclass Series. “Last Night,” by Rachel Lynett, a dark comedy that explores the aftermath of a hate crime, specifically through a queer lens, will receive its first public reading during Theatre Lab’s New Play Festival from Jan. 3-5, 2020. Playwright’s bios can be found below.
Cotter’s awards include American Academy of Arts Letters, Richard Rodgers Award, and several Emmy Award productions including “The Daughters,” which was at the San Francisco Playhouse in 2019, “Rules of Comedy,” produced in 2015 at the Humana Festival of Ten-Minute Plays, and “Drinking On A Plane” and “The Anthropology Section,” both produced by The Actors Theatre of Louisville’s The Tens. Other plays include “1980 (Or Why I’m Voting For John Anderson)” at Chicago’s Jackalope Theatre in 2017, “The Surrogate,” winner of the 2016 Susan Glaspell Award and finalist at the 2016 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, produced at Centenary Stage Company, New Jersey in 2017, and “The Break Up Notebook” (a GLAAD Award nominee). Musicals (librettist/ adaptations) include “Rocket Science: A Musical,” which received readings at Playwrights Horizons in New York (directed by Kathleen Marshall) and was produced at The Village Theatre, Seattle, and “The Break Up Notebook: A Musical” (based on her play), at The Vineyard Theatre in New York. Cotter is currently in residence as a playwright at the Playwrights Foundation in San Francisco.
Lynett is a queer Afro-Latinx playwright based in Arkansas. Her plays have been featured at Capital Repertory Theatre, Teatro Espejo, Theatresquared, Equity Library Theatre, Chicago, Talk Back Theatre, American Stage Theatre Company, Florida Studio Theatre, and Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Her play “Well-Intentioned White People” had its world premiere with Barrington Stage Company and the Michigan premiere with Matrix Theatre. Her play, “Abortion Road Trip,” produced by Theatre Prometheus, won best comedy at Capital Fringe and then was later an invited production the 2017 Page to Stage Kennedy Festival. For more information about the Fair Play Initiative and about shows at Theatre Lab, visit www.fau.edu/theatrelab.
Image: Matt Stabile. Image courtesy of http://palmbeachartspaper.com/theatre-labs-new-director-committed-to-south-florida/