Madeleine Oldham, resident dramaturg and director of The Ground Floor at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, talks about what she is looking forward to in this summer's inaugural residency lab for the creation and development of new work.
By Madeleine Oldham
It’s sort of amazing to me to wake up in the morning and be this happy about going to work. We are counting down the days until July with some pretty serious excitement around here. The inaugural summer residency lab for Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor is 64 days away, and the artists we have coming to join us and the projects we’re supporting and the program we’re developing and the energy we’re fostering and the meals we’ll be eating together and the conversations to be had, and the and the and the…Um, yeah. I’m excited.
We grew really restless about doing most of our development work other places. We had support from some amazing organizations along the way like New Dramatists and JAW and The Playwrights Center, among others, but we really felt like something was missing back home. And it was. The staff had very little connection with our new play pipeline, our community didn’t get to experience the awesomeness of our writers until they and all their time were swallowed by rehearsals for production, and our new work program only really made sense to the handful of us actively participating on an ongoing basis.
Not to mention that we live in the part of the country that brought us Silicon Valley, Burning Man, denim jeans, and the Chinese fortune cookie. The Bay Area is home to some of the most innovative minds of our time, and to take most of our creative energy elsewhere always felt a little strange.
So we’re bringing it home, people. The Ground Floor is the umbrella for all of our new work activity. It’s year-round, with a concentrated period of activity in July for our summer residency lab. We chose 13 projects, some of which were Berkeley Repertory Theatre commissions, others of which came to us through applications, and the rest by way of some spirited coffee meetings. We don’t require anybody to have any sort of public component like a final reading, though we will provide one if an artist requests it. We will have dinner together every night, with various cocktail hours and parties thrown in for good measure. It’s my hope that we’re able to intermingle with each other, and with our Bay Area community to increase what is already a robust local appetite for new work. Making plays is fun, yo.
This summer's residency lab includes:
The Food Project
Marcus Gardley: "The House that Will Not Stand"
Madeleine George: "The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence"
Kathryn Keats: "The Hummingbird"
Carson Kreitzer & Erin Kamler: "Runway 69"
Dan LeFranc: "Troublemaker, or The Freakin’ Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright"
Michael Mitnick: "Little Boy Blue"
Dominic Orlando: "The Barbary Coast"
Greg Pierotti: "Apology"
Amelia Roper: "She Rode Horses Like the Stock Exchange"
The Erika Chong Shuch Performance Project: "After All"
Heidi Stillman: "The North China Lover"
Meiyin Wang: "motherland / foreign relations (we all here why you never call?)"
For more information on what’s happening this summer, click here.
The views represented in this Chatterbox Art & Opinion post are those of the individual author, and do not necessarily represent the views of Theatre Bay Area or its staff.