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2011/12 Press Releases
Arden Theatre Company introduces The Writers’ Room
Innovative New Play Development Program supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative and
the Independence Foundation’s New Theatre Works Initiative
January 12, 2012

(Philadelphia, PA) Arden Theatre Company has been awarded a two year grant of $150,000 from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative and a three year grant of $150,000 from the Independence Foundation through its New Theatre Works Initiative to launch an innovative new play program, The Writers’ Room. Beginning in 2012, The Writers’ Room, will offer a unique playwright residency focusing on immediacy of production and transparency with audiences.

The Writers’ Room addresses a need across the field of new play development by giving playwrights direct monetary and institutional support and shortening the time between the writing and production process. Within a four month period, the selected playwright will conceive, write, and rehearse a new play, followed by a limited run of the work on the Arden’s stage.

The project will be led by Arden Associate Artistic Director Edward Sobel. ”We are attempting to address the problem of a playwright creating a play that is put through many months (if not years) of workshops and readings before seeing what they’ve created in production in front of an audience. We want the playwright to better be able to keep close contact with the creative impulses that generated the work. And so we have created a program that, in essence says, ‘You write the play, we do the play. Not two years from now. Right now.’ “ Sobel previously founded Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s First Look Repertory of New Work, which has developed notable works that have premiered at major theatres across the country in its five years of existence and provided unique access to hundreds of audience members.

The Writers’ Room marks a continuation of the Arden’s commitment to developing new plays for the national canon. The Arden has long been a home for new plays, having developed 34 new plays that have gone on to over 185 productions on a national and international scale. Notable Arden premieres include Michael Hollinger’s Opus (one of the top 10 most produced plays in the United States in 2009-10), Aaron Posner’s adaptation of My Name is Asher Lev, and Wittenberg by David Davalos. Award-winning writers Bruce Graham, Michael Ogborn, and Jordan Harrison have all premiered commissioned pieces at the Arden.

With The Writers’ Room, Arden audiences will have an unusual opportunity to participate in the new play development process. A limited number of the public will purchase “Inside the Writers’ Room” passes, entitling them to access throughout the writing, rehearsal, and performance process of the new play. Pass holders will engage in conversation around the work, becoming personally invested in the play. No other play development program in the Philadelphia region provides such a holistic experience for both writers and audience members.

The first selected playwright to participate in The Writers’ Room will be announced in early 2012, take up residence in spring 2012, and premiere their production in summer 2012. Inside the Writers’ Room passes will go on sale in early spring 2012 and the summer production on the Arden’s Arcadia Stage will be open to the general public.

For interviews and details on The Writers’ Room, press should contact Leigh Goldenberg at lgoldenberg@ardentheatre.org, 215.922.8900 x43.

# # #
Arden Theatre Company is located at 40 North 2nd Street in the heart of Old City, Philadelphia.

The Arden’s 2011/12 season includes:
  • August: Osage County by Tracy Letts – September 29-October 30, 2011
  • The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez – October 27-December 18, 2011
  • Charlotte’s Web Adapted from the book by E.B. White by Joseph Robinette – November 30, 2011-February 12, 2012
  • Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris – January 26-March 25, 2012
  • Cyrano by Edmond Rostand, Translated by Michael Hollinger, Adapted by Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner - March 8-April 15, 2012
  • Robin Hood by Greg Banks – April 25-June 17, 2012
  • Tulipomania a new musical by Michael Ogborn – May 24-July 1, 2012

Subscriptions for the 2011/12 season are now available. Subscribers enjoy significant savings on tickets, the best choice of seats and a liberal ticket exchange policy. Call the Arden Box Office at 215.922.1122, order online at www.ardentheatre.org, or visit the box office.

Founded in 1988, Arden Theatre Company is dedicated to bringing to life great stories by great storytellers on stage, in the classroom, and in the community. We stage five productions each season as part of our mainstage series and two productions through Arden Children’s Theatre, the city’s first resident professional children’s theatre program. We create and produce new work through our new-work development program, the Independence Foundation New Play Showcase. The Arden Professional Apprentice program trains future theatre leaders, and our theatre classes through Arden Drama School teach children and teens about the craft of making plays. Our access program, Arden for All, makes our work available to the entire community through subsidized tickets and books for economically disadvantaged young people. We also offer sign language-interpreted, captioned and audio described performances and Pay-What-You-Can final dress rehearsals that benefit other nonprofits.

The Arden has received seven Philadelphia Magazine “Best of Philly” Awards, the Arts and Business Council’s Arts Excellence Award, five City Paper “Reader’s Choice” Awards, four Philadelphia Inquirer “Theatre Company of the Year” citations, 53 awards and 272 nominations from the Theatre Alliance of Greater Philadelphia’s Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, and was named “Best Theatre Company” by Philadelphia Weekly in 2009.
©2012 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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