Twelve dramatists will comprise Victory Gardens Theatre's new Playwrights Ensemble, a coming together of diverse writers under the roof of one producing organization.
The playwrights, most of whom reside in Chicago, many of whom have served as "playwright in residence" at Victory Gardens, are Claudia Allen, Dean Corrin, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, John Logan, Nicholas Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.
Last spring, a number of these dramatists approached the theatre with the idea of forming an active Ensemble. The group now meet monthly to find ways to strengthen Victory Gardens, and one member represents the ensemble at all Victory Gardens board meetings. Plans are underway for a Playwrights Ensemble brochure to introduce the group to the public, as well as an anthology of new plays premiered at Victory Gardens. Also, the newly renovated theatre will offer a Playwrights Ensemble book stall, where works by members are sold.
December will bring the first-ever, Playwrights Ensemble "Play Slam." Victory Gardens publicist Carrie Jaeck said that plans for the Play Slam weren't yet formalized, but it would likely be a one-night benefit with playwrights reading pieces from their own works.
"Our playwrights have each made vital contributions to Chicago theatre," artistic director Dennis Zacek has said. "For that, Victory Gardens will continue to dedicate all its resources to their growth, and to focus its energies on showcasing their work." Kristine Thatcher opened Victory Gardens' seasion with Emma's Child, and Douglas Post's Drowning Sorrows will run Nov. 8-Dec. 15. James Sherman's The God Of Isaac will be revived May 16-June 22, 1997, and plays by Steve Carter and Lonnie Carter are also under consideration.
For more information about Victory Gardens' season, call (773) 871-3000.
-- By David Lefkowitz