In the wake of COVID-19 theater closures, DC’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Baltimore Center Stage, Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theatre, The Public Theater of NYC, and The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis are working to support artists and connect people through theater with an initiative called Play at Home. The coalition hopes this series of commissioned short plays will ignite imagination and joy in these uncertain times. The pieces are available on the Play at Home website to download, read, and perform at home for free.
Each theater has commissioned multiple playwrights to write ten-minute plays under the assumption that these will be read alone or aloud with loved ones but never produced. This allows the playwrights to dream big, and write joyful plays that may contain elements that could not be reproduced for the stage.
“Even as theaters have closed to protect the public, the community that makes theater possible remains open for storytelling,” shared Artistic Directors Stephanie Ybarra, Jacob G. Padrón, Oskar Eustis, Hana Sharif, and Maria Manuela Goyanes in a joint statement. “We’re proud to have found a way to support our storytellers during this time of great uncertainty clouding the future of theater, and we’re excited for audiences to read and perform these plays as they bring them to life with their families—in their own homes. We hope that theaters across the country will be inspired to join with us, continue to expand this list, and bring more voices to the table.”
Click each playwright’s name to see their script, photo, and bio…
Woolly Mammoth has commissioned Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi (Werk!), Aleshea Harris (What to Send Up When It Goes Down), Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop), Mike Lew (Bhangin’ It), and Diana Oh (The Infinite Love Party).
Baltimore Center Stage has commissioned Jaclyn Backhaus (Men on Boats), Noah Diaz (Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally), Donnetta Lavinia Grays (Where We Stand), Miranda Rose Hall (Plot Points in Our Sexual Development), Ashley Lauren Rogers (Chasing the Ghost), and Keenan Scott II (Thoughts of a Colored Man).
Long Wharf Theatre has commissioned Hilary Bettis (Alligator), Ricardo Pérez González (On the Grounds of Belonging), MJ Kaufman (Sagittarius Ponderosa), Lloyd Suh (The Chinese Lady), and Lauren Yee (Cambodian Rock Band).
The Public Theater has commissioned Jordan E. Cooper (Ain’t No Mo’), Ty Defoe (CRANE: On Earth, in Sky), Ryan J. Haddad (Hi, Are You Single?), Daniella de Jesús (Mambo Sauce), Daniel Alexander Jones (Black Light), Hansol Jung (Wolf Play), Ethan Lipton (Tumacho), Patricia Ione Lloyd (Eve’s Song), and Mona Mansour (The Vagrant Trilogy).
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has commissioned Guadalís Del Carmen (Bees and Honey), Tre’Von Griffith (VOICES: Sounds of America), Steph Del Rosso (53% of), Regina Taylor (Crowns), and Karen Zacarías (Native Gardens).
More plays and playwrights are to come. Keep in touch, get more information, or join the coalition by visiting the Play at Home website.
Woolly Mammoth is “the hottest theater company in town” (Washington Post); priding itself on developing, producing, and making theater that disrupts conventional processes and stimulates transformative experiences. For almost four decades, Woolly has held a unique position at the leading edge of the American theater, earning a reputation for staying “uniquely plugged in to the mad temper of the times” (New York Times). The co-leadership of María Manuela Goyanes (Artistic Director) and Emika Abe (Managing Director) is supported by a core company of artists that holds itself to a high standard of artistic excellence. Woolly is relentless in its desire to take risks, experiment, innovate, interrogate, and create a radically inclusive community.
Baltimore Center Stage provides the highest quality theater and programming for all members of the community, including youth and families, under the leadership of Artistic Director Stephanie Ybarra and Executive Director Michael Ross. Baltimore Center Stage ignites conversations and imaginations by producing an eclectic season of professional productions across two mainstages and an intimate 99-seat theater, through engaging community programs, and with inspiring education programs. Everything at Center Stage is led by core values—chief among them being Access for All. Their mission is heavily rooted in providing active and open accessibility for everyone, regardless of any and all barriers, to mainstage performances, education initiatives, and community programming.
Long Wharf Theatre was born on the notion that New Haven deserves an active culture that is locally created. The founders shared the dream of starting a professional theater company in Connecticut, built with the aid of community leaders and patrons of the arts. LWT is a theater of international renown, recognized for a historic commitment to commissioning, developing, and producing new work that has become a part of the modern American canon. In partnership with a dedicated staff and Board, Long Wharf Theatre annually engages 40,000 people through productions, lifelong learning programs, and community partnerships. Now in the 55th year, they aspire to be a company with, by, and for its community. They are activating a lifelong conversation with every person who walks through the doors, as they use the stories on stage to catalyze a movement to better our world.
The Public Theater is theater of, by, and for all people. Artist-driven, radically inclusive, and fundamentally democratic, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone. Their programs and productions can also be seen regionally across the country and around the world. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 178 Obie Awards, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 56 Lortel Awards, 34 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards, and 6 Pulitzer Prizes.
The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is the region’s most honored live professional theater company. Founded in 1966, The Rep is a fully professional theatrical operation belonging to the League of Resident Theatres and The League of St. Louis Theatres. They are also a constituent member of Theatre Communications Group, Inc., the national service organization for the not-for-profit professional theater. Augustin Family Artistic Director Hana S. Sharif, who took the reins of The Rep in 2019, is leading the theater into its next chapter with an expanded slate of community programs.