Press Release - CrossRoads

Time Warner Foundation Supports Commissions for New Community-Inspired Plays at South Coast Repertory

COSTA MESA, Calif. (July 11, 2013) – Thanks to a generous grant from the Time Warner Foundation, South Coast Repertory is launching its new CrossRoads Commissioning Project—a community-based initiative within the theatre’s renowned new work program. As part of the project, SCR has commissioned eight playwrights, locally and nationally, to create new work inspired by the incredible diversity of Orange County.

“We’re gratified by Time Warner Foundation’s generous funding of this program, which will allow eight world-class artists time to engage with and respond to Orange County’s culturally diverse communities,” said Marc Masterson, SCR’s artistic director.

The CrossRoads commissioned artists include Luis Alfaro (Los Angeles, Calif.); Carla Ching (Los Angeles, Calif.); Julia Cho (Los Angeles, Calif.); Marc Bamuthi Joseph (Oakland, Calif.); Aditi Brennan Kapil (Minneapolis, Minn); Mona Mansour (New York, NY); Qui Nguyen (Brooklyn, NY); and Tanya Saracho (Los Angeles, Calif.).

“Our playwrights are excited to explore the breadth and fusion of cultures in Orange County, including its Latino/a, Asian-American, Arab and African-American communities,” said Kelly Miller, SCR literary director. “SCR is thrilled to reach out to our greater community and use theatre to explore the identity of where we live.”

The two-year, $150,000 grant is part of Time Warner Foundation’s New Works/New Voices initiative.

From July through September 2013, SCR’s CrossRoads playwrights will participate in four-day immersive residencies in Orange County.  After a quick orientation at SCR, they will spend time connecting with cultural and community organizations and Orange County residents. The artists will spend the first year of the grant researching and writing, followed by extensive development at SCR in the summer of 2014.

“The program’s name ‘CrossRoads,’ speaks to Orange County’s large blend of cultures and to the myriad stories its residents have to tell,” said Miller. “We’re eager to see how this talented group of artists will engage, interpret and write about our community.”

Thumbnail information about the CrossRoads playwrights (see below for full bios):

  • Luis Alfaro is a Los Angeles-based writer whose newest play, Mojada, is currently receiving its world premiere at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre. SCR has developed several of Alfaro’s plays as part of its Pacific Playwrights Festival and the Hispanic Playwrights Project.

  • Marc Bamuthi-Joseph is an acclaimed performer, poet/playwright, and choreographer. He is also the artistic director of the Living Word Project in San Francisco and a frequent collaborator with director Michael John Garces.

  • Carla Ching is a Los Angeles native whose play, Fast Company, was featured during this year’s Pacific Playwrights Festival at SCR and will receive its world premiere during SCR’s 2013-14 season.

  • Julia Cho’s work has been extensively developed and produced by SCR, including The Language Archive (2009-10), The Piano Teacher (2006-07), and 99 Histories (Pacific Playwrights Festival, 2002).

  • Aditi Brennan Kapil is a Core Writer at The Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, Minn. Her latest collection of new plays, the Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy, will premiere at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis this fall.  

  • Qui Nguyen is a playwright, fight choreographer, and co-artistic director of New York’s comic book-inspired theatre, Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company in New York. His play, War is F**king Awesome was recently selected for the 2013 Sundance Theatre Lab. 

  • Mona Mansour’s play about the 1960s Middle East, The Hours of Feeling, premiered at the 2012 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky. Her latest work, The Vagrant, was selected for the 2013 Sundance Theatre Lab.

  • Tanya Saracho recently relocated to Los Angeles from Chicago, where she first gained national attention. Her newest play, The Tenth Muse (directed by Laurie Woolery), will receive its world premiere at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., later this month.

Full biographies for CrossRoads playwrights:

  • Luis Alfaro is a Los Angeles native. His recent plays include a Greek trilogy; Bruja, an adaptation of Medea (Magic Theatre, San Francisco; Borderlands, Tucson, Ariz.); Oedipus el Rey (Getty Villa, Magic Theatre; Theatre @ Boston Court, Pasadena; Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Washington D.C.; Miracle Theatre, Portland, Ore.; and Victory Gardens, Chicago); and Electricidad, an adaptation of Electra (with 26 productions, including Goodman Theatre, Chicago, and Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles). Upcoming works to be performed include: Mojada (Victory Gardens, Chicago); Alleluia the Road (Campo Santo Theatre Company, San Francisco); and Aesop in Rancho Cucamonga (Lewis Family Playhouse, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.). Alfaro is the 2013 Joyce Foundation Fellow. He is the 2013-15 Mellon Writer-in-Residence at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. He teaches at the University of Southern California. More at:

  • Carla Ching is a Los Angeles native who first came to theatre through writing and performing with the New York pan-Asian performance collective, Peeling. Since then, she’s turned to playwriting. Her plays include TBA, The Sugar House at the Edge of the Wilderness, Fast Company and The Two Kids That Blow Shit Up. She has been produced and developed by South Coast Rep, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST/Sloan commission) and 2g among others. She is an alumna of The Women’s Project Lab and The Lark Playwrights Workshop. She’s the former artistic director of 2g and a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and New Dramatists. Her play Fast Company will premiere at South Coast Repertory in October 2013. More at:
  • Julia Cho’s plays include The Language Archive, The Piano Teacher, Durango, The Winchester House, BFE, the Architecture of Loss and 99 Histories. In New York, her work has been produced at Roundabout Theatre Company, The Public Theater, The Vineyard Theatre, Playwrights Horizons and New York Theatre Workshop. Regionally, her work has premiered at Long Wharf Theatre, South Coast Repertory and Theatre @ Boston Court among others. She is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, the Barrie Stavis Award, the Claire Tow Award for Emerging Artists, the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, a New York Foundation for The Arts grant and a Van Lier Fellowship from New York Theatre Workshop. Her plays have been developed at the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, the Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Sundance Theatre Lab, the Cherry Lane Theater’s Mentor Project, and the MacDowell Colony. She is the recipient of a two-year Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellowship at Juilliard, Cho is an alumna of New York University’s Graduate Dramatic Writing Program. Her television work includes “Fringe,” “Big Love” and “Betrayal.” Read a Los Angeles Times profile:

  • Aditi Brennan Kapil is a playwright, actress, and director. She is of Bulgarian and Indian descent, raised in Sweden, and currently resides in Minneapolis, Minn. Her work has been produced around the country to critical acclaim. Her plays include Love Person, which received the Stavis Playwriting Award in 2009, and Agnes Under The Big Top, a tall tale, which was selected as a Distinguished New Play Development Project by the National Endowment for the Arts. Her Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy—consisting of Brahman/i, a one-hijra stand-up comedy show, The Chronicles of Kalki, and Shiv—is scheduled to premiere in repertory at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis, Minn., in fall 2013. More at:

  • Mona Mansour’s play The Way West will receive its world premiere in spring 2014 at Steppenwolf, directed by Amy Morton. The Hour of Feeling, directed by Mark Wing-Davey, premiered at the 2012 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. It will have its West Coast premiere in fall 2013 at Golden Thread in San Francisco. The Vagrant, the third play in the trilogy, was selected to be a part of the Sundance's 2013 Summer Institute and will be directed by Mark Wing-Davey. She was a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, a Core Writer at Minneapolis’ Playwrights’ Center, and was just selected for membership in New Dramatists. Other plays include Across the Water, Girl Scouts of America and Broadcast Yourself. Her television credits include “Dead Like Me” and “Queens Supreme.” She received a 2012 Whiting Writers Award and an honorable mention at the 2010 Middle East America Distinguished Playwright Awards. More at:

  • Qui Nguyen is a Brooklyn-based playwright, screenwriter, and co-founder of Obie Award-winning Vampire Cowboys Theatre Company. His work includes Off-Broadway productions of Soul Samurai, The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G (both premiered by Ma-Yi Theater); the hip-hop musical Krunk Fu Battle Battle (East West Players); Aliens Versus Cheerleaders (Keen Company); and Vampire Cowboys productions of Alice in Slasherland, Fight Girl Battle World, Men of Steel, and Living Dead in Denmark. His most recent play, She Kills Monsters, premiered last season by The Flea and garnered a 2012 GLAAD Media Award nomination and a 2013 AATE Distinguished Play Award. It was subsequently produced at Steppenwolf by Buzz22 Chicago and in Boston with Company One to great critical acclaim. Qui is a resident artist of New Dramatists, The Playwrights Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and an alumnus of Youngblood. He’s currently workshopping his newest musical, War is F**king Awesome, at Sundance and writing episodes for PBS KIDS upcoming PEG+CAT, premiering in October 2013). More at:

  • Marc Bamuthi Joseph is the artistic director of the HBO documentary “Brave New Voices”, a 2011 Alpert Award winner, 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award winner, and an inaugural recipient of the United States Artists’ Fellowship. He is the founding program director of the exemplary non-profit Youth Speaks, and is a co-founder of Life is Living, a national series of one day festivals designed to activate under-resourced parks and affirm peaceful urban life through hip hop arts and focused environmental action. Joseph currently is completing new works for the Philadelphia Opera and South Coast Repertory Theater while serving as director of performing arts at Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco. More at:

  • Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México. She is a playwright, director, actor and television writer for the Lifetime series, “Devious Maids.” Named “Best New Playwright of 2010” by Chicago Magazine, Saracho is an ensemble member at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theater, a resident playwright emerita at Chicago Dramatists, a Goodman Theatre Fellow, and founder and former Artistic Director of Teatro Luna: Chicago’s All-Latina Theater. Her works have been produced at The Goodman Theater, Steppenwolf Theater, Teatro Vista, Teatro Luna, Fountain Theater, Clubbed Thumb, NEXT Theater and 16th Street Theater. Her plays include The Tenth Muse, Song for the Disappeared, EnfrascadaEl Nogalar (inspired by The Cherry Orchard); an adaptation of The House on Mango Street for Steppenwolf; Our Lady of the Underpass ; Surface Day;  Kita y Fernanda, and Quita Mitos. Saracho is a winner of the Goodman Theater’s Ofner Prize, a recipient of National Endowment for the Arts Distinguished New Play Development Grant and a 3Arts Artists Award. More at: 

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. One-quarter of SCR’s 525 productions have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio.