Inaugurating the Wilma Theatre's new theatre building on Broad and Spruce Streets in Philadelphia will be the symposia series, "Playwrights First!".
Subtitled "Today's hottest authors -- On stage, off book, and uncensored," the panel events will feature such dramatists as Tom Stoppard, Christopher Durang and Tony Kushner discussing their works. Nationally known theatre writers will moderate the discussions, which will cover such topics as why people still write for live theatre, is theatre still relevant, and will drama change for audiences of the future.
Wilma Theatre's artistic director, Blanka Zizka, said, "Our goal is to fill the [new] space with great ideas, energy and craft... We intend the Wilma to be a place where provocative ideas about theatre, art and society can be intelligently discussed. We have chosen to open the new theatre with the words of playwrights to celebrate the playwrights pivotal role in creating great theatre."
Here are the line-ups for the three "Playwrights First!" panel discussions: Saturday, Nov. 2: Christopher Durang (Sex And Longing), David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly, F.O.B.) & Suzan-Lori Parks (Venus, The America Play; moderated by New Yorker theatre critic, John Lahr.
Sunday, Nov. 10: Tom Stoppard (Arcadia) and Douglas Wright (Quills, Watbanaland); moderated by New York Times columnist, Peter Marks. Saturday, Nov. 16: Maria Irene Fornes (Mud, Fefu And Her Friends) and Tony Kushner (Angels in America, Slavs!); moderated by Village Voice writer, Alisa Solomon.
The Wilma's first season at its new theatre will include Tom Stoppard's Arcadia and Douglas Wright's Quills.
For information about the "Playwrights First!" colloquia, call (215) 546-STAGE.
-- By David Lefkowitz