Planet Earth New Play Festival Collaborators


We hope you can make it to either or both of our events today in honor of Earth Week. As a reminder, we will be presenting material from our Planet Earth New Play Festival at 4PM and 8PM today, Thursday 4/23, in Durham Studio Theater. Here’s a bit more about our amazing collaborators on this event:

WILLIAM BIVINS (Playwright, The Announcement) is in his third season in the PlayGround Writers’ Pool. He has won the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for Original Script (Pulp Scripture) and the Hyperion Project Original Play Competition (Ransom, Texas). He is the recipient of a PlayGround Fellowship and two PlayGround Emerging Playwright Awards.

RACHEL BUBLITZ (Playwright, Reading Babar in 2070) is the Founder of the 31 Plays in 31 Days Project and a Youth Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild of America. This is her second season with PlayGround. Rachel’s full-length play, Of Serpents & Sea Spray, will open at Custom Made Theatre Co. in January of 2016.

ERIN MARIE PANTTAJA (Playwright, Preapocalyptica) is in her third season as a member of the Writers Pool. She received a Planet Earth New Play Festival commission to develop a new full-length play based on her short Preapocalyptica, to be workshopped this spring at University of California Berkeley and Stanford. Her plays have been produced at the Dublin Fringe Festival’s Thread workshop and Mendocino College’s New Works Festival and as part of Twisted Christmas Live. She is also an engineer, designer, roboticist, and homemaker.

MANDY HODGE RIZVI (Playwright, The Bake Sale) has been a member of PlayGround since 2009. Her short play, Escapades, was featured at the 15th Annual Best of PlayGround Festival. In addition, Mandy is the recipient of the 10th Annual June Anne Baker Prize. Her full length plays include Drive Thru–Open Til Midnite or Later (a PlayGround commission), Burning and Drowning, and Literary Biography: Chapter 11. Mandy is a member of the PlayGround Resident Playwrights and is currently working on a full length play, Drone, about surveillance.

KIRK SHIMANO (Playwright, Android. Bishop. Countess. Microbe. Megan.) wrote the screenplay for Miss Finknagle Succumbs to Chaos, which received the People’s Choice Award at the 2013 PlayGround Film Festival. His plays include Love in the Time of Zombies (San Francisco Theater Pub) and Pegasus: The Movie (The Play) (San Francisco Olympians), which was inspired by his day job of illuminating imaginary things with imaginary lights.

MAURY ZEFF (Playwright, The Universe on Ice) has an MFA from USF and was an SF Writers’ Grotto Fellow. His plays have won PlayGround People’s Choice and Emerging Playwright Awards, and been semifinalists for the Vittum Prize and in the Indie Boots Festival. His fiction has appeared in American Fiction 2012, Southern California Review, and Switchback.

JOY CARLIN (Director, Android…) has been a leading actress, director and teacher with the American Conservatory Theater since 1969 and was an Associate Artistic Director there from 1987 until 1992 winning seventeen Bay Area Critics Circle and L.A. Dramalogue Awards for her acting and directing. From 1981-84 she was an Actor and Resident Director at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre and served as its Interim Artistic Director from January, 1983 to August, 1984. She has also directed for The San Jose Repertory Theatre, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle, the Berkeley Stage Company, Shotgun Players, Aurora Theatre Co., Theatreworks, The San Francisco Playhouse and the Shanghai Youth Drama Troupe where she directed You Can’t Take It With You.

JIM KLEINMANN (PlayGround Artistic Director; Director, Reading Babar in 2070, The Universe on Ice) has staged more than a hundred original short works and produced twenty consecutive seasons for PlayGround. Most recently, he staged Ruben Grijalva’s full-length Value Over Replacement for the 2014 PlayGround Festival of New Works. He is a veteran arts administrator with more than 25 years of experience, including serving as chief executive for some of the Bay Area’s leading performing arts organizations. He received his MFA from the Yale School of Drama. While an undergraduate at Brown University, he founded and performed in Brown’s first comedy improvisational theatre troupe, IMPROVidence.

MICHAEL FRIED is a Planet Earth Arts/Planet Earth New Play Festival Co-Founder and Artistic Executive Producer. He has worked for more than 40 years as a director, producer and transformational non-profit leader in the arts, humanities, education, and social change. He was a founding member and spent thirteen years as the Producing Director of New York’s acclaimed Roundabout Theatre Company. His production of Athol Fugard’s The Blood Knot launched Danny Glover’s powerful career and his production of John Osborne’s Look Back In Anger, with Malcolm McDowell, inaugurated the Showtime on Broadway cable TV series. Among other distinguished artists with whom he has worked are Amanda Plummer, Ian McKellan, Nicol Williamson, Susannah York, Vincent Price, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Kelsey Grammer, Tammy Grimes, F. Murray Abraham, Irene Worth, Philip Bosco, Anthony Heald and playwrights Samuel Beckett, Athol Fugard, Arthur Miller, Harold Pinter, John Osborne and Tennessee Williams.

VINIT ALLEN is a Planet Earth Arts/Planet Earth New Play Festival Co-Founder and Executive Producer. He is an educator and event producer, and has been an activist in the arenas of the environment, peace and human rights for over 30 years. He founded Sustainable World Coalition as a non-profit sustainability education organization in 2004. He is the publisher of the International Book Award-winning Sustainable World Sourcebook. He has produced the Sustainable World Symposium twice in San Francisco, and now co-produces Spring of Sustainability, the annual 3-month event that is the largest virtual sustainability event, with over 18,000 participants. He is a facilitator trainer for the Pachamama Alliance’s Awakening the Dreamer Symposium. He was a delegate at the UN World Summit In Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002, where SWC was conceived.

DAVID GOLDMAN is a Planet Earth New Play Festival Co-Producer. He is in his tenth year as the Executive Director of the National Center for New Plays at Stanford University. In 1997, after having served as Director of Special Projects for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center he founded the National Network of New Plays (NNPN), now in its 16th year as the national alliance of non-profit theaters that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays, where he continues as an At-Large member of the Board.

PLAYGROUND, the Bay Area’s leading playwright incubator, provides unique development opportunities for the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including the monthly Monday Night PlayGround staged reading series, annual Best of PlayGround Festival, full-length play commissions and support for the production of new plays by local playwrights through the New Play Production Fund and, PlayGround’s newest initiative, the PlayGround Film Festival. To date, PlayGround has supported 200 local playwrights in the development and staging of more than 700 original short plays and 55 new full-length plays, including more than a dozen that have since premiered in the Bay Area, New York and around the country. PlayGround alumni represent the who’s who of the Bay Area’s best new playwrights, including Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Aaron Loeb, Erin Bregman, Garret Jon Groenveld, Geetha Reddy, and Lauren Yee, among others. For more information, visit

PLANET EARTH ARTS was born out of a creative partnership between Vinit Allen, founder and Executive Director of Sustainable World Coalition, and theater and film producer/director Michael Fried. Planet Earth Arts is bringing together a community of artists from all disciplines in a bold new collaborative partnership with scientists, public policy leaders, universities and non-profit organizations. Its mission is to foster an interdisciplinary dialogue leading to the creation of a body of innovative artistic work that envisions new paradigms of planetary stewardship. Composer/Producer Gary Malkin and Writer/Filmmaker Neal Rogin joined Allen and Fried in the creative visioning of Planet Earth Arts. The leadership team of Planet Earth Arts comprises Vinit Allen, Co-Founder/Executive Producer, Michael Fried, Co-Founder/Artistic Executive Producer, Gary Malkin, Co-Producer, Neal Rogin, Co-Producer. Planet Earth New Play Festival is dedicated to using the transformative flesh and blood power of theater to inspire artists and audiences to claim planetary sustainability as the most critical issue of our time.


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