Director Wendy C. Goldberg on New Plays and the Tony Award That Was a "Life Changer"

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12 Jul 2014

Wendy C. Goldberg
Wendy C. Goldberg

Award-winning director and artistic director of the National Playwrights Conference Wendy C. Goldberg talks with about expanding theatre's audience and casting for the conference's plays.


Wendy C. Goldberg is not just an award-winning director in her own right. She is also the artistic director of the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Preston Whiteway serves as executive director.

Goldberg, a passionate advocate of new works is celebrating her 10th season as artistic director of the O'Neill Playwrights Conference. Under her tenure, the O'Neill was awarded the 2010 Regional Tony Award, and many of the plays developed at the O'Neill in the past nine seasons had gone on to critically-acclaimed productions in New York and across the country.

Before joining the O'Neill in 2005, Goldberg was artistic associate at Arena Stage in Washington DC for five seasons.

Goldberg chatted with on the new works at the 2014 National Playwrights Conference.

Can you talk about the new plays at this year conference?
Wendy Goldberg: This year we are developing six plays, and we have two writers-in-residence. [Samuel D.] Hunter and David Auburn are going to be working but not necessarily showing anything publicly.

The six plays that comes from the this season are all from open submissions and are incredibly diverse. I think they are well written. This is a diverse season. This is a celebration of my tenth season here, and I wanted to bring back two of the alumni that have been important during my time here.

David [Auburn] was just here last year to develop Lost Lake, which is going to premiere at the Manhattan Theatre Club in the fall. And Sam Hunter — I brought him here when he was still a student at the University of Iowa. I have been at the O'Neill since 2005. My first season here was his first professional experience, and we look back to that often. Then we have six plays. The writers have been in different phases of their careers. I'm thrilled A. Rey Pamatmat is coming. This is going to be his second time here at the O'Neill. Essentially, the five other writers are new at the O'Neill.

Rey is out of school for some time. So is Mike Lew. Tanya Barfield, who is in some ways has the most production history behind her, is coming. Halley Feiffer — new play, Lindsey Ferrentino — new play. David Mitchell Robinson won the Kendada Award not too long ago. These are some of the most exciting new voices in American theatre. To have them all here is the beginning of something new and very special.


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