Monday, June 23, 2014

Interview - Jennifer Conley Darling of terraNOVA

By Byrne Harrison

Last week I had a chance to interview Jennifer Conley Darling of terraNOVA Collective about their Groundworks New Play series, which runs through today. 

Jennifer, I'm excited to see that another Groundworks New Plays series is underway.  How many years has terraNOVA Collective been producing this series?

Groundworks has officially existed for 5 years. The program grew organically through a need for playwrights to have a support network and not feel as if they were working in a bubble. When Jessi Hill joined the team five years ago, she saw what we had and helped us formalize the program. The way it has grown is largely due to her dedication and vision and the program is stronger than its ever been under her leadership.

I see several familiar names among the playwrights and directors.  How did you choose this year's plays?

Groundworks has taken a bit of a new form this year with the addition of the soloNOVA Arts Workshops. The series now showcases the work we are developing in both our Groundbreakers Playwrights Group (for multi-character plays) as well as soloNOVA ARTS (for solo shows). With terraNOVA long history of supporting and presenting solo work, this was a natural progression to add a layer of development for this wing of our company as well.

Each year, we have a submission process to select the plays. We have a reading committee of directors, dramaturgs and playwright alumni that help us select our top 12 contenders. From there, Jessi Hill and I interview the finalists and come up with the group. It becomes harder each year to select the group with so many talented people out there!

How can artists get involved with your Groundbreakers Playwrights Group?

Our submission process will be announced on our website in the coming months and outline what is to come for next season, so stay tuned!

The series is nearly over.  How has the audience response been so far?

The responses have been amazing. Each playwright has stepped up their game and the directors and actors have been absolutely stellar. I am so thrilled each writer is thriving in this environment. I look forward to seeing where these plays and these writers will go from here.

What else is coming up for terraNOVA in 2014?

After our busiest season ever in 2013-14, we will be taking a break for the rest of 2014, but will be coming back strong in 2015. We’ve been so busy producing that it’s now time for us to step back, assess and figure out what’s next!

The final two readings are on Monday @ the Cherry Lane Theatre.

Written by Mfoniso Udofia
Directed by Awoye Timpo
Monday, June 23rd at 3 pm

Written by Brian Quijada
Directed by Matt Dickson
Monday, June 23rd at 7 pm
*A soloNOVA ARTS Workshop