Wayne Theatre Alliance and Hamner Theatre foster new plays

One of the hallmarks of the Earl Hamner Jr. Theatre is its systematic development of new scripts.  Although the theatre space in Nellysford was closed last fall, the Hamner has continued its Virginia Playwrights and Screenwriters Initiative (VPSI) under the direction of its Artistic Director Boomie Pedersen and joined with WTA’s Gateway to present a new series of developing scripts.

“I have been impressed with the work of the Hamner Theatre and in particular its dedication to the fostering of new works,” said Dr. Clair Myers, WTA’s Executive Director.  “We are fortunate to be able to host this series of play readings.”  He also notes that the readings are free, although donations to cover expenses are accepted.

The VPSI program is a unique experience for audience members and a valuable one for the playwrights.  VPSI provides a venue for playwrights to workshop, rewrite and rehearse a new script with a company experienced actors and a director and a dramaturg.  Audience members have the opportunity to participate in the develop of a new artistic creation by listening the reading and then giving their reactions to the script in an open dialogue designed to provide the playwright with new insights to the play through the audiences’ responses to the work.

Pedersen is dedicated to the VPSI program.  “Without new plays,” she says, “We are – to paraphrase Terry Teachout – condemned to repeat seasons of Clybourne Park and The Odd Couple over and over…! New plays come out of our world now.  How better to watch our world reflected, than in a darkened theater, together.”  The Gateway readings will open that world.

The first in the series will be Dancing by Richard Washer on Sunday, May 19 at 4 pm at 329 West Main in downtown Waynesboro.  The author describes the play as “An intimate dance to music that blends life and memory.  Which is which?”   The script had a first reading at the Charter Theatre in Washington, D.C.   The actors are Chris Baumer, Dinah Pehrson and Lana Young.  The reading will directed by Boomie Pedersen.

The June reading will be True Crimes by Rick Steeves.  The date and time of the workshop will be announced later.