Congratulations to Ricardo Gamboa on being named a 2016-17 Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists
Ricardo Gamboa is an artist, activist and academic working in his native Chicago and New York City. In Chicago, Gamboa was Founder and Artistic Director of Teatro Americano, Company Member of Barrel of Monkeys, artist-in-residence at the National Museum of Mexican Art’s Yollocalli ArtsReach, and currently performs with the Southside Ignoramus Quintet, is Artistic Associate at Free-Street Theater, and Founding Adult Partner and collaborator of the controversial and audience and critically acclaimed radical youth ensemble The Young Fugitives. In New York City, he was a fellow with the Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics EmergeNYC program, launched his Border Jump-Off Short Film Series, is a Company Member of the award-winning New York Neo-Futurists, and performs at independent and institutional venues. He received his M.A. Arts Politics from New York University (NYU) Tisch School of the Arts. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree in American Studies at the NYU’s Department of Social and Cultural Analysis.
His plays include The Real Life Adventures of Jimmy de las Rosas and Track 13 with The Young Fugitives.
Space Age by Ricardo Gamboa and Sean Parris is now playing at Free Street Theater.
From American Theatre
Chicago Dramatists Adjusts to a New Generation
The company announces a new mission as well as its 2016-17 resident playwrights.
BY GABE COHN
CHICAGO: “Playwrights are far more nomadic now than they’ve ever been before,” says Chicago Dramatists artistic director Meghan Beals. But that’s not stopping Beals and her staff from doing a little spring cleaning.
Last week the company, which has been developing and producing new work by emerging playwrights since it was founded in 1979 by the late Russ Tutterow, announced a complete overhaul, starting with adding a subtitle to its name. The theatre is now known as Chicago Dramatists: The Center for New Play Development. Along with this rebranding comes a host of changes, perhaps most notably that the company will no longer produce plays and will instead allot all of its resources to new-work development.
The shift in focus, Beals says, is natural. On one level it’s a recognition of the theatre’s strengths in play development and the nurturing of emerging artists. It’s also a recognition of where the theatre fits in the larger Chicago scene, which has no shortage of heavy-hitting producing companies. “We asked ourselves, ‘What can we do to further Chicago’s ability to be one of the best new play cities in the country?’” she says.
Meghan Beals.“It’s a response to what contemporary playwrights need,” Beals insists. “Thirty-five years ago, when Chicago Dramatists was born, it was ahead of its time and there was nothing like it. But over the years, playwrights’ needs have changed significantly.”
What exactly has changed for young playwrights? Well, for one, says Beals, a lot of playwrights now tend to be much more collaborative. “They have their own tribes,” she says. “They have their own collaborators already that they can and should bring in the room with them. A lot of writers are writing for specific ensembles or people.”
Each year Chicago Dramatists takes on a number of new resident playwrights. This year, however, the way the residencies are handled is changing. While the theatre will still be providing long-term developmental support to their resident playwrights, they’re capping the residencies at six years (residencies used to go on indefinitely). Playwrights can reapply for an additional three years after the six-year term is up, but after that they’re on their own. “We hope that they will outgrow us,” says Beals, who points out that when all went well, resident playwrights would typically outgrow Dramatists anyway.
This new system, she says, will allow “consistent regeneration of the group” and encourage “an ever-changing group dynamic and community.” In other words: a prod of encouragement, and perhaps a bit of tough love. The 2016-17 resident playwrights are Jay Torrence (Burning Bluebeard, Ivywild), Georgette Kelly (Ballast), Isaac Gomez (La Ruta, The Displaced), Ricardo Gamboa (The Real Life Adventures of Jimmy de la Rosas), and Susan H. Pak (Marabar). All are at least partly based in Chicago.
A public showcase of new resident work is scheduled for Sept. 17, and will be followed by a day-long conference on Oct. 1, which will feature playwriting panel discussions, mini-sessions on the business of theatre, and roundtable discussions on the changing face of new-play development.
The new term limits come alongside an increased relationship with alumni playwrights, who will now have mentors and other perks to help them as they continue on from their time with Chicago Dramatists.
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