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Humanitas Play LA WORKSHOP

The Humanitas Play LA Workshop is expanding its presence in Los Angeles, it was announced today. After last year's successful partnership with Centre Theatre Group, Play LA is broadening its focus. Each of the six plays developed from the ground up in this year's workshop will be given works-in-progress readings in the inaugural Humanitas Play LA Festival of New Works on April 28, 29, and 30. Six celebrated local theatres will be partnering with Humanitas to give these developing works a physical space in which to grow.

Now in its second year, the Humanitas Play LA Workshop develops plays by Los Angeles writers "from the ground up." This year, four of the plays developed and recognized in the 2016 workshop are receiving their world premieres on local stages -Good Grief by Ngozi Anyanwu (Kirk DouglasTheatre), Lord of the Underworld's Home for Unwed Mothers by Luisa Hill and Driven by Boni B. Alvarez (The Skylight Theatre), and The House in Scarsdale by Dan O'Brien (Theatre @ Boston Court). In addition to a $1500 stipend, each playwright has access to advice from theatre, film, and television professionals throughout the year. The workshop culminates in a festival of new works-in-process plays, produced in conjunction with some of LA's most celebrated local theatres.

Cathleen Young, Executive Director of Humanitas, said, "We are incredibly excited to nurture these amazing Southern California playwrights." Workshop Director Shem Bitterman agrees. "This is a wonderfully talented and diverse group of writers, each working from and expressing their own unique voices. I am thrilled and grateful to have this opportunity to support them," he said.

This year's plays, writers, and participating theatre companies are The Beast by Tatiana Pico Suarez (The Road), The Kid by Patrick Burleigh (The Skylight), Momma Metallica by Sigrid Gilmer (IAMA), Quiver by Meg Miroshnek (Rogue Machine), Uncovered Cities by Cory Hinkle (Circle X), and The Wall and The Dinosaur by Chelsea Sutton, (Playwrights Arena).

In addition, the festival will feature new plays-in-progress readings by two Humanitas honorees - John Sacret Young (China Beach) and Tom Schulman (Dead Poet's Society).The festival will be helmed by PLAY LA Director, award-winning playwright and screenwriter Shem Bitterman. Tim Furlong is co-director and Karen Gaul is associate producer. All events are free and open to the public, but reservations are required. For specific schedule information and to RSVP, go to

Since its inception in 1974, The Humanitas Prize has awarded over $3 million to more than 320 deserving television and motion picture writers whose work affirms the dignity of the human person, probes the meaning of life, and enlightens the use of human freedom. Humanitas exists to encourage, stimulate, and sustain the nation's screenwriters in their humanizing task, and to give them the recognition they deserve. The Humanitas Prize is funded by an endowment established through the generosity of individuals, networks, studios, and foundations.

Past winners of the Humanitas Prize include David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook), Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious), Steve Levitan (Modern Family and Frasier); Ryan Murphy (Glee), Robert & Michelle King (The Good Wife), David E. Kelley (The Practice and Picket Fences), Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting), Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List), David Shore (House), Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing), Tim Robbins (Dead Man Walking), Jason Katims (Friday Night Lights), Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, and Pete Docter (WALL-E), Aseem Batra (Scrubs), Nancy Oliver (Lars and the RealGirl), Eric Roth & Michael Mann (The Insider), Paul Haggis (Crash), Steven Bochco (Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue), and Keir Pearson & Terry George (Hotel Rwanda).

Workshop director Shem Bitterman has written over 30 produced plays and screenplays. Awards include PEN USA (Harm's Way), CBS/FDG New Play Program (Iowa Boys), Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays (Beijing Legends), SCR California Playwrights Competition (The Ramp), and the LA Drama Critics Circle Ted Schmitt Award (The Job). His teleplay Betty & Coretta was nominated for a Humanitas Award and his film Whitney, directed by Angela Bassett, aired on Lifetime in January 2015, and garnered him an NAACP Image Award nomination. His play, The Stone Witch starring Judd Hirsch, premiered at Berkshire Rep during the summer of 2016 and will be produced off Broadway this coming fall. In 2011, Bitterman initiated the PlayLab at LA's Skylight Theatre, which has been responsible for mentoring more than 25 original plays from idea to completion.

For more information on the Humanitas Prize, the Play LA Workshop, and the New Play Festival, visit


Earlier Event: April 22
Later Event: May 26