By Bill Hirschman
Zoetic Stage, the loose collective of actors, directors and playwrights, has extended its commitment to new work by joining the National New Play Network as an associate member.
NPNN, dedicated to supporting fledgling plays, is best known locally for the Rolling World Premiere program, which ensures that new work selected by the network gets multiple full-fledged stagings within a year, plus a development grant to the participating theaters. That allows the playwright to fine-tune the work with different casts and directors in a concentrated period of time. Playwrights often complain that if it’s difficult for a new work to get a world premiere, it’s even harder to get a second and third production. The companies produce plays selected by the NPNN may qualify for a $7,000 grant to help develop the work.
Since its inaugural season in 2010, Zoetic Stage has presented three world-premiere plays by two of its core members. It developed and produced South Beach Babylon by Michael McKeever in December of 2010, Captiva by Christopher Demos-Brown in November of 2011, and Moscow, once again by McKeever in May of 2012. Both South Beach Babylon and Captiva were finalists for the ATCA/Steinberg New Play Award.
Being an associate member allows Zoetic to cull through new works read and vetted by NPNN for future productions. But it also allows Zoetic to submit works that it is championing to be considered for development by NPNN.
Artistic Director Stuart Meltzer said, “We are beyond excited with our associate membership with NNPN. This give Zoetic Stage an opportunity to develop relationships with regional theaters and national playwrights while introducing our own. We are very excited to read plays, discuss them with a network and spark professional friendships. It is a very exciting time for Zoetic Stage as each year we hit another growth spurt.”
Zoetic joins New Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota as Florida member of the 36-member group. Florida Stage was a member until the company closed in 2011 and Demos-Brown was one of the theater’s representatives to NPNN’s conferences. New Theatre has been especially active in the group by mounting plays such as Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them. This season, New Theatre is mounting the NPNN play, Happy by Robert Caisley.