Los Angeles theater collective Artists at Play and Asian Pacific American Friends of Theater announce the creation of the APAFT & AAP Emerging Playwright Commission, which will award $ 1,000 to an emerging playwright of Asian-American descent.
Artistic direction of Artists at Play and members of APAFT’s Artistic Advisory Board examined an exciting range of narratives, voices and varying levels of experience from the AAPI playwright community to find the recipient. of this commission. The inaugural recipient is Ankita Raturi, a dramatic writing student at UCSD.
“Ankita Raturi’s writing is fresh in its depth, strength and empathy,” said Marie-Reine Velez, artistic director of artists at Play Producing. “She tackles difficult topics around colonialism and its legacy in today’s messy world, and we admire her ability to articulate and demonstrate these complexities in a very meaningful and theatrical way.”
The commission will also provide institutional and artistic support to Raturi to help advance his work on the commissioned play as well as a staged public reading in 2022. Finalists for the APAFT & AAP Emerging Playwrights Commission included Kathryn from la Rosa, Lisa Sanaye Dring and Mary Lyon Kamitaki.
“APAFT encourages the development of new APA plays as part of its mission to enable APA theater artists to enhance their talent and access the main stages of this region,” said the president of APAFT , Judge Ernest Hiroshige. “We enthusiastically join Artists at Play to select a promising APA playwright and help develop a new play by that writer.”
For the past 10 years, APAFT has been a non-profit corporation that advocates for the inclusion of Asian-Pacific American actors, writers, directors and other performers in stage productions. APAFT supports theatrical productions featuring artists or APA themes by developing audiences for APAF theaters by hosting revelers and artist talks. The APAFT scholarships fund APA high school and college students, professional actors and playwrights to attend classes to improve their skills in the theater arts. The Playwright Commission is the culmination of APAFT’s vision by creating a space dedicated to American stories from Asia-Pacific.
“We are grateful to Judge Ernest Hiroshige and the APAFT, who generously agreed to partner with us and fund the first APAFT and AAP Emerging Playwrights Commission,” said Stefanie Lau, manager. artistic performance of Play Producing. “With this collaboration, we will be able to ambitiously create and support new works, and nurture emerging talent.”
APAFT & AAP Emerging Playwright Commission marks expansion and deepening of Artists at Play’s new play development programs that include the annual New Plays Festival
Artists at Play Readings. Since 2013, Artists at Play has provided development support to over a dozen writers, including Sanaz Toossi, Carla Ching, Leah Nanako Winkler and Preston Choi. The Two Kids that Blow Shit Up by Carla Ching and Two Mile Hollow by Leah Nanako Winkler emerged from Artists at Play Readings and continued in world premiere productions with Artists at Play and other theaters across the country. Artists at Play will produce the world premiere of Preston Choi’s This is Not a True Story in 2022.
“This commission project is a natural progression of our commitment to new work,” said Nicholas Pilapil, Producer Member of Artists at Play. “And our vision to bring new Asian American and Pacific Islander narratives to the canon of American theater.”