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Rachel Bonds will take up residence in second year of New Play Development Program
March 5, 2013

(Philadelphia, PA) Arden Theatre Company proudly announces Rachel Bonds will take up residence for the second year of The Writers’ Room, the company’s innovative new play program.  The Writers’ Room is supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, and the Independence Foundation through its New Theatre Works Initiative The program was also recognized in 2012 with an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Bonds’ residency will begin in March 2013 and over a four-month period, she will write and rehearse a new play which will run on the Arden’s stage July 18-28, 2013.

The Writers’ Room launched in 2012 with playwright Wendy MacLeod, culminating with a sold-out run of her new play Women in Jep.  During this groundbreaking first year, Philadelphia Weekly called The Writers’ Room “an exciting alternative to the old model of play development.” Led by Arden Associate Artistic Director Edward Sobel, the program is designed to allow the writer to stay in closer contact with her original creative impulse and have a more wholesome relationship with the larger institution than most new play development processes currently allow.

Rachel Bonds’ plays have been developed or produced by Ars Nova, Ensemble Studio Theatre, New Georges, Williamstown Theater Festival, Playwrights Horizons, McCarter Theatre, Roundabout Underground, and MTC, among others.  She is currently an affiliated artist of New Georges’, a member of EST’s Youngblood, and a recent winner of the 2012 Sam French Short Play Festival. She is an alum of Ars Nova’s Play Group and New Georges’ The Jam, and was the Father William Ralston Fellow at the 2011 Sewanee Writers’ Conference.  Her plays include MurmurGhost Life; Michael & Edie, named a NY Times Critics’ Pick in December 2010; Anniversary, produced in Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 2010 Marathon; Anne & Ada, developed through a mini-workshop with New Georges; and The Noise Play.  Bonds is a graduate of Brown University.

With The Writers’ Room, Arden audiences have an unusual opportunity to participate in the new play development process as “Inside The Writers’ Room” passholders. Last summer, a diverse group of 45 audience members, artists, and students held passes, giving them to access throughout the writing, rehearsal, and performance process of Women in Jep. Passholders 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. Inside the Writers’ Room passes will be on sale March 14, 2013. Tickets to the culminating production in July will be on sale in early May.

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 35 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 currently running Off-Broadway, and Wittenberg by David Davalos. Award-winning writers Bruce Graham, Michael Ogborn, and Jordan Harrison have all premiered commissioned pieces at the Arden. 

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


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

The Arden’s 25th Anniversary Season includes:
Next to Normal,
Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey, Music by Tom Kitt – September 27-November 4, 2012
Freud’s Last Session, By Mark St. Germain – October 25-December 23, 2012
Cinderella, By Charles Way – November 28, 2012-February 3, 2013
Endgame, By Samuel Beckett – January 17- March 10, 2013
A Raisin in the Sun, By Lorraine Hansberry – March 7- April 14, 2013
Pinocchio, By Carlo Collodi, Adapted by Greg Banks – April 10- June 23, 2013
A Little Night Music, Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by Hugh Wheeler – May 23-June 30, 2013

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 recently announced an expansion with the Hamilton Family Arts Center, a 22,000 square foot building located three doors north of the Arden at 62 N. 2nd Street. Once renovations are complete in 2013, this building will be a home for process and innovation, including seven classrooms for Arden Drama School, a rehearsal hall, an 80-seat Studio Theatre, Lobby, Parent Lounge, and Teacher Resource Center, and a Crafts Studio for construction of set and props. Details about the Hamilton Family Arts Center can be found online at www.ardentheatre.org/new.

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, 58 awards and 276 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.

©2013 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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