In your own words, tell us a little about your organization:
Playwrights Project empowers individuals to voice their stories through live theatre, advancing literacy, creativity and communication. Participants explore theatre from the perspective of playwrights. As each individual writes his or her own play, they write about any subject that speaks to them and create worlds over which they have control. The resulting scripts are performed by professional actors, either in informal readings or in full productions.
Who is your target program demographic? (Who do you serve?):
While audiences of all ages and backgrounds enjoy Playwrights Project’s performances, its playwriting programs primarily serve school-aged youth (3rd – high school) and adults in disenfranchised communities throughout San Diego (including individuals involved in foster care, immigration, the military, and correctional facilities).
In what geographic region do you operate?:
Programs are conducted across the county from English Language Learners in San Ysidro to juvenile court schools in Kearny Mesa to college preparatory schools in La Jolla and Carlsbad. Adult programs range from military personnel in Oceanside and Point Loma to inmates in correctional facilities in Otay Mesa to immigrant communities in Logan Heights, Escondido and even across the border into Mexico. The organization’s annual festival of Plays by Young Writers presents full productions of selected plays from students (ages 18 and under). This year ushers in the 30th season of the festival, which will be presented at The Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre January 24 – February 1, 2015.
How do you serve your target demographic?:
Participants in the programs are encouraged to reflect on their personal experiences, struggles, and passions to draw ideas for their plays. A theatre artist guides the process, helping writers to develop fictional characters and put their characters into action overcoming obstacles to achieve a meaningful goal. Whether the character succeeds or fails is up to the writer, but the character’s life is significantly changed from the journey. The writer has taken control of their story, turned it into something moving and often profound. When writers see their plays performed by professional actors and communicated to an audience, they experience success as writers and recognize the power of theatre to create empathy and build community.
How long have you been operating your programs?:
Playwrights Project was founded as an education organization in 1985, and the programs have continued and expanded ever since.
Looking out at the next 6 – 12 months, what is the one thing that your organization needs to grow? (ex. Development staff, press coverage, new office in a new territory, etc):
The organization would benefit from greater visibility. With a small staff primarily focused on program implementation, marketing often falls to the wayside. While the organization is greatly respected by educators and theatre professionals, it is as not as widely known by the general public.
What is stopping you from making that a reality?:
Limited staffing and virtually no marketing budget make it difficult for us to expand the visibility of Playwrights Project.