Chautauqua Institution’s New CHQ Assembly Platform to Feature Works by Charly Evon Simpson and Heather Raffo
CHAUTAUQUA, N.Y. — Chautauqua Theater Company (CTC), under the leadership of Artistic Director Andrew Borba and Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy, will preserve its commitment to new work development by presenting virtual workshops of Charly Evon Simpson’s it’s not a trip it’s a journey, directed by Nicole A. Watson, on July 15, and Heather Raffo’s Tomorrow Will Be Sunday (working title), directed by Jenny Koons, on July 22. Both New Play Workshop performances will be offered at no cost; viewers will be encouraged to provide a donation to benefit Chautauqua Institution’s Arts Education initiatives in local schools.
“Even though we will not be meeting in person for the 2020 season, due to generous funding from the Roe Green Foundation we will still be able to offer rehearsals, extended workshops and a public virtual performance of new works by esteemed playwrights Charly Evon Simpson and Heather Raffo,” Corporandy said. “And we are pleased to announce that both workshops will be presented free to the public, removing all barriers of access to these exciting new works.”
Over 13 seasons, CTC and the New Play Workshop series, funded by The Roe Green Foundation, have hosted playwrights such as Lauren Yee, Anna Ziegler, Zayd Dohrn, Molly Smith Metzler, Nick Gandiello, Chelsea Marcantel, Charly Evon Simpson, and Noah Haidle, nurturing new work onto the stage and launching it into the industry. In addition to the numerous recent regional and off-broadway productions by NPW playwrights, Haidle’s 2017 NPW Birthday Candles was set to open on Broadway this spring but has been pushed to a later date.
“With the NPW Series, we support the playwright. Period. We help facilitate the growth of the play in whatever stage of the development process it is in,” Borba said. “And this mission will hold true for Heather’s and Charly’s plays, while we virtually explore and support the work of these two exceptional writers.”
Please visit theater.chq.org beginning June 22 for updates on how to access Chautauqua Theater Company’s 2020 Season including New Play Workshops, Brown Bag programs, Cocktail Hours and more.
Charly Evon Simpson’s plays include Behind the Sheet, Jump, form of a girl unknown, it’s not a trip it’s a journey, and more. Her work has been seen and/or developed with Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Lark, P73, The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, PlayMakers Repertory Company, Chautauqua Theater Company, Salt Lake Acting Company, and others. She is a recipient of the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Dramatists Guild’s Lanford Wilson Award. She has received commissions from MTC/Sloan, The New Group, EST/Sloan, Cleveland Play House, and South Coast Repertory. She is a new core writer at the Playwrights’ Center and is a member of The New Georges Jam. She’s a former member of SPACE on Ryder Farm’s The Working Farm, WP Theater’s 2018-2020 Lab, Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group, Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood, and Pipeline Theatre Company’s PlayLab. Recently, she was a staff writer for a new TV show on Showtime. She received her BA from Brown University, a master’s in Women’s Studies from University of Oxford, New College, and her MFA in Playwriting from Hunter College. www.charlyevonsimpson.com
Heather Raffo is an award-winning playwright and actress whose work has taken her from the Aspen Ideas Institute to the U.S. Islamic World Forum in Qatar, and from classrooms across the nation to the Kennedy Center. Her work has been supported by the State Department, Doris Duke, Mellon and Annenberg Foundations and has been seen off Broadway, off West End, in regional theater and in film. She is best known as the author and solo performer of the play 9 PARTS OF DESIRE, which The New Yorker called “an example of how art can remake the world”. 9 PARTS has garnered a Lucille Lortel award, Susan Smith Blackburn commendation as well as Drama League, OCC and Helen Hayes nominations. Her most recent play, NOURA, won the prestigious Weissberger award and Helen Hayes award for Best Original New Play. Hailed “The Most Ambitious Premiere” of the Women’s Voices Theatre Festival by The Washington Post. Raffo is a proud member of the socially transformative Epic Theatre Ensemble’s Artistic Advisory Council and has enjoyed a decade-long collaboration with Georgetown’s LAB for Global Performance and Politics. Future play commissions include The Playwrights Center, Williamstown, The Old Globe Theater and Arena Stage.
About Chautauqua Theater Company
Entering its 38th season, Chautauqua Theater Company is the resident professional theater and Conservatory of Chautauqua Institution. Internationally known actors, directors, designers and writers join 19 emerging artists drawn from the nation’s top training programs to form a unique company that produces a vibrant summer of work in the historic Bratton Theater. Dedicated to the next generation of theater artists, the development of new work, first-rate productions of modern and contemporary classics, and fresh insight into Shakespeare’s canon, CTC produces the best of a year-round regional theater within an eight-week summer season.
About Chautauqua Institution
The pre-eminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States, Chautauqua Institution comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 people visit Chautauqua and participate in programs, classes, and community events for all ages — all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village. As a community, we celebrate, encourage, and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue.
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