Four Playwrights Receive Two Year Residency at TimeLine

Four Playwrights Receive Two Year Residency at TimeLine

Pictured: Tyla Abercrumbie

Four playwrights have been named to TimeLine Theatre Company’s Playwrights Collective, the company’s new-play incubator.

Selected by TimeLine company members and under the leadership of Literary Manager Ben Thiem, the resident playwrights include Tyla Abercrumbie, Will Allan, Maureen Gallagher and Calamity West.

“Each of these dynamic writers possesses a unique voice and a keen interest in examining history,” said TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers. “As we celebrate our 20th Anniversary, TimeLine’s commitment to nurturing new plays continues to deepen, and the Playwrights Collective, under Ben’s leadership, provides an opportunity to support these Chicago-based writers as they create new scripts that explore how the past connects with social and political issues of today.”

Theim and the writers will meet regularly, and playwrights will choose their own projects that fit TimeLine’s mission to work on throughout the two-year residency. Together the group reads and hears scenes from work in development. TimeLine provides support throughout the process, including readings, and any works developed with the Playwrights Collective may be considered for future development and production at TimeLine Theatre.

“We greatly admire these four artists and I couldn’t be more excited to work with them as they each develop a new play that fits our unique mission,” said Thiem. “Being a playwright is often very solitary work without regular opportunities for structured feedback and support. By providing these writers with an artistic home for the next two years, they’ll have the time, space and resources to explore and write exciting and challenging new stories that will engage audiences in conversations about history.”

These four playwrights are the second group to be in residence as part of the program. The inaugural Playwrights Collective, which included Alice Austin, John Conroy, Emily Dendinger, Frances Limoncelli, Susan McLaughlin Karp and Brett Neveu, convened 2013 to 2016.

BIOGRAPHIES (from the press release):

Tyla Abercrumbie is a TimeLine Associate Artist who has appeared as an actor in IN DARFUR and served as assistant director of A RAISIN IN THE SUN. Her plays include WHO’S AFRAID OF DEEPAK CHOPRA, ASYLUM (AKA LIFE), PSYCHOLOGICAL TERRORISM, NAKED AND RAW, THE STRAW, AFFAIR OF AMBIGUITY, and NORMALITY. Abercrumbie’s work has been produced by Pittsburgh Playwright’s Theatre, MPAACT Theatre and Chicago Cultural Center, and THE STRAW received a professional Staged Reading with Chicago Dramatists. As an actor she has performed in numerous regional theatres around the country, and on television. Her book Red Wine and the Bles’sed Monkey, a collection of prose and poetry, established her as a respected poet invited to showcase her work at venues, events and media outlets around the country, and as an opener for keynote speakers like the Reverend Jesse Jackson. She is a graduate of Columbia College with a BA degree in Theatre, and a member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA.
Will Allan is a TimeLine Associate Artist who has appeared as an actor in THE HISTORY BOYS and served as assistant director of IN DARFUR. His acting credits around Chicago include a solo performance in CIRCUMFERENCE OF A SQUIRREL (Greenhouse Theater Center); THE FLICK, GOOD PEOPLE, THE MARCH, ANIMAL FARM, and A SEPARATE PEACE (Steppenwolf); THE SEAGULL and DARTMOOR PRISON (Goodman); THE WHALE (Victory Gardens); THE GOAT OR, WHO IS SYLVIA? (Remy Bumppo); SPEECH AND DEBATE and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (ATC); ROMEO AND JULIET and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (First Folio); and more. Regional credits include THE MO– USETRAP (Milwaukee Rep) and RED (Human Race Theatre Co.). He hails from Frankfort, Kentucky and Dayton, Ohio. He attended North Central College in Naperville, Illinois as well as the Moscow Art Theatre School in Russia. He’s a member of AEA and is represented by Paonessa Talent.
Maureen Gallagher is an actor and playwright in Chicago theater. Her play MARTIN FUREY’S SHOT, about photojournalists in South Africa during the violence preceding the election of Nelson Mandela, was produced at TimeLine Theatre in 2005. COMRADES MINE, about Emma Edmonds, who fought in the Civil War disguised as a man, was produced at City Lit Theater in 2013 and received a Non-Equity Jeff Award nomination for New Work. Recently it was adapted and mounted as a live radio play at Audio Air Force in Lansing, Michigan. She received an Illinois Arts Council Artist grant to develop her play about Eudora Welty and her relationship with detective novelist Ross MacDonald, MORE RUTHLESS AND MORE TENDER. It was nominated in 2014 for the Kilroys List of excellent new plays by female and trans playwrights.
Calamity West is a Chicago-based, award-winning playwright. She is currently developing new plays for The Goodman, Steep Theatre Company, and Jackalope Theatre Company. Her Kilroys List-cited (2015) play, GIVE IT ALL BACK, received its world premiere production at Sideshow Theatre Company in November 2016. Other full-length plays by Calamity West include TONY KUSHNER CONSIDERS WRITING A GAY FANTASIA BASED ON NATIONAL THEMES (2016), ROLLING (2016, Jeff Award nomination for New Work); IBSEN IS DEAD (2014); THE PEACOCK (2013, Kilroys List honorable mention); THE GACY PLAY (2012); and COMMON HATRED (2012). West is a company member of Jackalope Theatre Company and an artistic associate of Sideshow Theatre Company. She is represented by The Gersh Agency.

About author

Abigail Trabue

Abigail has worked as an actor/director in Chicago for over ten years, and along with husband Jason Epperson founded Lotus Theatricals in 2015, and PerformInk Chicago and Kansas City in 2016 (where she serves as Managing Editor of both publications). When not talking shop, Abigail is raising three padawans with Jason, drinking lots of coffee, converting school buses into RV's, and eating all the foods at Disney World. You can find her on Twitter @AbigailTrabue

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