Keegan’s commitment to supporting new work leads to the launch of exciting initiative.
August 31, 2017: The Keegan Theatre is proud to announce the launch of its new programming arm, the Boiler Room Series. Boiler Room Series has launched with international, national, and local searches for new plays and musicals that will culminate with 5 workshops/staged readings, 2 festivals, 3 cabarets, and 2 concerts over the course of the company’s 2017-2018 season. The Boiler Room Series lineup will highlight scripts selected for further development from the search, in addition to edgy takes on traditional cabarets and concerts. LEARN MORE AND SEE THE 2017-2018 LINEUP
“Keegan is ready to take our development of new works to the next level. We expect to shepherd works from early stages to full productions and beyond in future seasons. We’re interested in the future of theatre,” says Boiler Room Series Producer Josh Sticklin. “Often, the playwriting and play development aspect of theatre-making is overlooked or taken for granted; we somehow expect playwrights to create brilliant, stage-ready pieces in a vacuum. With the launch of the Boiler Room Series, we look to support playwrights in different stages of their process, to innovate on the ground, and to be a catalyst for emerging artists in a meaningful, tangible way.”
Boiler Room Series kicked off on September 1 with a widespread, 8-month search for new plays and musicals. The submission instructions and form can be found at https://goo.gl/forms/I2y5Dp6Zz0cZs0j12. Submissions will be accepted until April 1, 2018. Five plays or musicals will be selected to be workshopped and performed as staged readings over the course of the Boiler Room Series in 2017-18, and selected scenes from all 5 plays will be showcased in a festival in July. The plays chosen will be announced on a rolling basis; the script chosen for October’s reading will be announced in late September.
Keegan is also thrilled to announce the return of The Future Is Female Festival in March, at which 6 local, female playwrights will celebrate Women’s History Month with new 10-minute plays that celebrate women’s futures. Audience favorites from last year’s successful cabaret and concert programming will also return to Keegan under the Boiler Room Series umbrella, including a cabaret featuring Emily Levey on September 10, 2017, and the Concert Across America To End Gun Violence on September 24, 2017.
“We got the name Boiler Room Series from our theater space prior to its renovation,” continues Sticklin. “The old boiler room quadrupled as, well, a boiler room, a dressing room, a storage closet, and a makeshift green room. It was the place where many of the formative (and sweat-drenched) collaborations that have made Keegan Theatre what it is today got their first sparks. We think of the series as a kind of artistic boiler, where we can turn up the heat for promising new voices.”
Susan Marie Rhea, the company’s new Artistic Director, is enthusiastic and particularly passionate about the Boiler Room Series. “Keegan has always maintained an understated — yet vibrant and passionate — commitment to supporting new works,” she explains. “I’m incredibly excited to launch an initiative that will give more weight and more attention to this side of Keegan’s work, and to hopefully build more excitement and momentum around new plays, emerging artists, and some less traditional programming.
In its 20-year history, Keegan has supported 40 playwrights and their new works in a range of ways. The company has fully produced 17 world premieres and has workshopped 18 new works with staged readings. “We’re proud, too, that we have reached gender parity in our support of 16 local DC playwrights and their work,” concludes Rhea.