UNDISCOVERED WORKS Series

developmental New Works program

March 5 | April 2 | May 7

 

Our Mission

The Undiscovered Works program is a developmental incubator series for new work. We support early-to-mid-career playwrights focused on creating work that is socially and politically charged, who are interested in asking risky questions, and who can bring new stories and voices to the theatrical canon. We do not shy away from plays that challenge or break the ‘accepted’ structure, form, or narrative of theater. We are passionate about amplifying historically underrepresented voices, and are dedicated to providing a creative team (director and dramaturg) who can fully support that vision and story. 

2021 Undiscovered Works Readings 

All public readings will be held virtually until it is safe to gather again.

The Children’s Farm

by Sean Dunnington

 March 5 |7pm PST

 The Re-Education of Fernando Morales 

by Justin P. Lopez

April 2 | 7pm PST

 Tiny Fires 

by Aimee Suzara

May 7 | 7pm PST 

  

THE DAY NAGUIB MAHFOUZ

WAS STABBED IN

THE NECK AND ALMOST DIED

(A.K.A THE SELKIE PLAY) 

by Denmo Ibrahim

TBD  

Learn More Below

 Support Artists Today

Every donation goes directly to the paying the playwrights, actors, directors, dramaturgs, readers, and creative team of Undiscovered Works. We believe artists should be paid for their creative genius and supported in this community. Artists are the backbone of society, their work is incredibly important not only to the Bay Area, but the theatrical canon as a whole.

Help us uplift and amplify these voices! 

Undiscovered Works 2021 Line Up

 

The Children’s Farm

By Sean Dunnington

Friday | February 5 | 7pm PST

After a traumatic incident with her parents, Maria is sent to live with her cousins Joey and Lauren (and there therapy sock puppets). While there, Maria wraps herself in a fantastical world of wonder called “The Funny Farm” where she finally begins to accept her queer identity. Traversing a decade of role-playing and therapy, these cousins find themselves caught in the blurred space between reality and fantasy and when buried seeds burst to the surface, it’s socks off for all. This drama traverses forced family, roots, and finding freedom on the farm.

 

Sean Dunnington

Sean Dunnington

Playwright

Sean Dunnington, from Hawaiʻi Island, recently received his experimental B.A. in Applied Playwriting from the University of Redlands’ Johnston Center for Integrative Studies. The stuff he loves most to write about is queer belonging. Recent workshop presentations include: The Children’s Farm (Dramatists Guild Footlights), Flat Fish (LabTheatre), Zap (Lounge Theatre), Bonkers for Bonkers (NYC LGBT Center), and The Undocumented, or a Far Too Brief History of Ravensbrück (Manhattan Repertory Theatre). Sean served as a Literary Intern at the Vineyard Theatre and just completed a Literary Apprenticeship at the Magic Theatre for their 2019-2020 season, where he assistant-directed Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady, produced a workshops, of Joshua Harmon’s Prayer for the French Republic, and wrote and workshopped his own play, The Children’s Farm. Sean works as a Teaching Artist in San Francisco and Hawaiʻi, having taught playwriting at Prince Dance Institute, musical theatre at the Young Performers Theatre, literacy and theatre at Tenderloin Elementary School, and playwriting and acting the Kahilu Theatre Performing Arts Workshop, where he now serves as the Program Director. Currently, Sean is in the midst of a playwriting fellowship with the State of Hawaiʻi, where he’s workshopping his new play, Hawaiian Shake, which will be presented in early March. He is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild.

The Re-education of fernando morales

By Justin p. Lopez

Friday | april 2 | 7pm PST

When young Fernando Morales is sent away by his family to a place that can “fix him” of being gay, he becomes split between the past, present, and future. Surrounded by flashes of electricity, love, and Mozart’s Requiem, he searches through time for some way to save himself. Will he succeed, or is the requiem for him?

Justin P. Lopez

Justin P. Lopez

Playwright

 Justin is an actor, singer, writer, and boba-milk-tea enthusiast, who loves to find true connection and humanity in each script and song. As a performer, he has acted extensively in multiple regions, including the world-premieres of Unbreakable by Andrew Lippa, and Kiss My Aztec! by John Leguizamo and Tony Taccone (as a lead understudy). He was also part of a workshop with Neil Pepe at The Atlantic Theater and has performed several concerts as a soloist with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus.
As a writer, Justin is a proud member of The Playground Experiment. During the pandemic, he has also taken writing courses with Will Dunne at Chicago Dramatists and Winter Miller at Primary Stages ESPA. His goal is to continue to tell stories from his unique perspective, stemming from his unique family background, his personal traumas, and his eclectic education. Find out what else Justin is up to at www.justinplopez.com

Tiny Fires

By Aimee Suzara

Friday | May 7th | 7pm PST

Sugarpie and Trixie live as scavengers at the edge of a landfill in the Philippines called Paradise Mountain. After losing their families in a major landslide, the young women have learned to survive on their own, until a young Filipino-American arrives and makes Sugarpie question whether there is more to life than just surviving. This play explores the nature of resilience and adventure, and asks, “what could justify keeping secrets from those you love?”

Aimee Suzara

Aimee Suzara

Playwright

Aimee Suzara is a Filipino-American poet, playwright, and performer whose mission is to create poetic and theatrical work about race, gender, and the body to provoke dialogue and social change. Her first full-length book, SOUVENIR, was released in February 2014 (WordTech Editions) and was a Willa Award Finalist in 2015. Her plays A HISTORY OF THE BODY and TINY FIRES were selected as Finalists for the Bay Area Playwright’s Festival. A HISTORY OF THE BODY was also commissioned by the East Bay Community Foundation and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.  She has collaborated with Amara Tabor Smith and Deep Waters Dance Theater for the food-justice themed dance theater piece, Our Daily Bread. Her poems appear in numerous journals and anthologies such as Kartika Review, 580 Split, Lantern Review and Walang Hiya: Literature Taking Risks Toward Liberatory Practice, Check the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees and Poets (Lit Noire Press) and her chapbooks, the space between and Finding the Bones (Finishing Line Press). She’s been featured as a spoken word artist nationally, including at Stanford, Mt. Holyoke College, Portland State University, University of Miami and UC Santa Cruz.  Suzara received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Mills College.  An advocate for the intersection of arts and literacy, she teaches at San Francisco State University and other universities and colleges and leads workshops in poetry and performance for youth and adults. www.aimeesuzara.net

THE DAY NAGUIB MAHFOUZ WAS STABBED IN THE NECK AND ALMOST DIED

(A.K.A THE SELKIE PLAY)

By Denmo Ibrahim

Friday | Fall 2021 | 7pm PST

Her father was a fisherman, her mother was a fish, or at least that’s what Raheem believes when her mother went out to sea and never came back. In this lyrical story on family, faith and food, we journey to the depths of one woman’s struggle of mixed heritage to understand who she is by where she came from. 

Denmo Ibrahim

Denmo Ibrahim

Playwright

Denmo Ibrahim is an actor, playwright, screenwriter and short story author of Egyptian descent. She is a Sundance Theater Lab Finalist, a recipient of The Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Arts Award and National Endowment for the Arts Award. She has co-written seven ensemble-based projects, authored two full-length plays, and published a series of articles on theater, wellness, health and healing. Her devised work has toured to international festivals in Egypt, France and Germany. In the U.S., her work has been supported by New York Theatre Workshop, Under St. Marks, Playwrights’ Center, Noor Theatre, University of Oregon, Golden Thread Productions, EXIT Theater, Alter Theatre and Zawaya. Current commissions include Dream Thief, an immersive experience, a one-act adaptation from Brecht’s Fear and Misery of the Third Reich, an audio drama for Commonwealth Theatre Center.

As a playwright, she’s received a San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award (SFBATCC) for “Best Original Script” for BABA and Rabbit Causes Dog at San Francisco Fringe Festival. As an actor, she has collaborated with playwrights Mac Wellman, Eric Ehn, Yusef El Guindi, Kristoffer Diaz, Thomas Bradshaw, Melinda Lopez, Dustin Chinn, and Tanya Saracho and has originated roles with composers Claudio Bohorquez, Rinde Eckert, and Carla Kihlstedt.  Regional credits include Noura (Marin Theatre Company), The Good Book (Berkeley Repertory), The Who & The What (Marin Theatre Company), A Thousand Splendid Suns (Seattle Rep, The Old Globe, American Conservatory of Theatre, Theatre Calgary), and Much Ado About Nothing (California Shakespeare Theatre). 

Denmo holds an MFA in Lecoq-based Actor Created Physical Theater from Naropa University and a BFA in Acting from Boston University. She is a proud member of Actors Equity Association, Dramatists Guild, and New Play Exchange. Denmo is a founding artistic director of Mugwumpin, a resident artist of Golden Thread, serves on the board of directors at Marin Theatre Company and is a founding member of the steering committee for MENATMA (Middle East North Africa Theater Makers Alliance). She lives in San Francisco and Brooklyn.  

Untitled: Tempest adaptation

By chris steele

In-house only

Chris Steele

Chris Steele

Playwright

Chris Steele is a queer trans nonbinary theatre creator, makeup artist, standardized patient, and drag queen. In theatre they have worked as an actor, director, playwright, fight choreographer, intimacy choreographer, makeup artist, dialect coach, dance captain, costume construction aid, and lighting designer. After studying theatre at Pepperdine University and The University of Oklahoma, they relocated to the Bay Area working with companies such as Summer Repertory Theater, Sierra Rep, Cutting Ball, Breadbox Theatre, New Conservatory Theater Center, Playwrights Center SF, Musical Café, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, and We Players. They are fascinated by visceral physical storytelling; theatre with roots in adaptation, devising, and improvisation; and the history of horror as a media genre. Most recently their writing was produced in Cutting Ball’s Variety Pack (‘Valley of the Dead’), and their fight and intimacy choreography can be seen in the upcoming ‘Galitea, a new rock musical’ at Counterpulse. As a drag queen, their persona Polly Amber Ross focuses on bringing theatrical performance theory to queer common spaces throughout the city. Chris seeks to deepen and uphold the rich history of queer/drag theatre in San Francisco, and to foster the development of an American Horror Theatre cannon.

Support Artists Today

Every donation goes directly to the paying the playwrights, actors, directors, dramaturgs, readers, and creative team of Undiscovered Works. We believe artists should be paid for their creative genius and supported in this community. Artists are the backbone of society, their work is incredibly important not only to the Bay Area, but the theatrical canon as a whole.

Help us uplift and amplify these voices! 

UDW Reading Committee

The Reading Committee was made up of a group of Bay Area professionals who read all submitted scripts and aided in chopsing works well suited for the festival based on the guidelines below.  This was a method put together in order to prevent bias.

Kieran Beccia, Brady Brophy-Hilton, Lucianne Colón, Gianna DiGregorio-Rivera, Vanessa Flores, Max Forman-Mullins, Karina Fox, Nailah Harper-Malveaux, Kate Leary, Gabriel Montoya, Kunal Pasad, Brennan Pickman-Thoon, Marisa Ramos, Leigh Rondon-Davis, Kenny Scott, Phil Wong

For playwrights

We are currently looking to collaborate with Bay Area* writers who have an unproduced script they are looking to develop. Each selected writer will be paired with a director and dramaturg (recommendations from playwright accepted) who will help to shape the writer’s piece over the course of a month. 

The process will consist of early developmental sessions with the director and dramaturg, an in-house reading, 3 developmental-style rehearsals with actors, and culminate in a final staged reading and talkback. We are dedicated to the continued success of the plays we pick, even after this series ends. This could mean the possibility of further development over the course of the next year; including additional workshops, staged readings, and a full production with Custom Made. If the play is not a fit for future development at Custom Made, we will make it our mission to matchmake the playwright’s work with another local company.

playwright Submission guidelines

Submissions not open until Fall 2021

The submitted play CANNOT have had its world premiere prior to being in the festival. The play should require no more than 6 actors. The play must be a full draft: scenes can be added/edited as development proceeds, but we are not seeking partial scripts. The work does not need to be “done” by any means, but there is value in having a draft fully thought out, so that the playwright can give their mind the creative space to focus on developing and shaping in the limited time available. 

We are relaunching and reshaping this program, which includes a change in leadership, funding, and resources. We are dedicated to paying all artists associated with the project. We currently  provide a $100 stipend, and are working incredibly hard to secure more funding to increase this stipend upon success. We want to be completely transparent with you. This program is for YOU as artists and your development, and we want to compensate you for your time, energy, and talent. 

*Bay Area playwrights are those writers who reside in any of the nine Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

SUBMISSIONS OPEN: JUNE 30th- AUGUST 30th

Due to COVID-19, all rehearsals and public presentations have a possibility of being in a digital format, although our hope is to host rehearsals in person by Fall.  

Rehearsals for all plays will begin in Fall. Staged Reading will happen in late Fall/early Winter. 

Applicants for the New Works Program at Custom Made should submit:

As One Document

1) Your script (in PDF form)

-Please omit your name from every page, except for the title page

As a Separate Document

2) A one to two page cheat sheet of your work: (nothing fancy)

-A Character Breakdown

-A Synopsis 

-If developed elsewhere, please list where.

-An explanation of what you wanted to work on/expand in this development process. 

3) A theatrical resume and bio if you have one.

 

When submitting please put “PLAYWRIGHT’S FIRST NAME_LAST NAME, UDW Submission” (ex: CIERA_EIS, UDW Submission) in the subject line. The window for submissions is open from June 30th-August 30th, and you will be informed if picked for the series by September 6th. Please send all submissions to Ciera Eis at [email protected].

Playwrights of all ethnic and racial backgrounds, genders, and disabilities are encouraged to submit.  

 

FAQs

Can I submit multiple scripts to the program?

We will not be taking more than one script from each individual submission.

How long will it take to hear back from Custom Made?

You will receive a confirmation of receipt email within the first three days of submitting your play. You will hear back from us by early September if your play was chosen for the development process.

Is there a limit on script length?

Please do not submit a script that is over 175 pages.

Is there something in particular the festival is NOT looking for?

At this time, we are less interested in plays that hew too closely to existing playwrights and traditional styles of theater.

Will you take my script if it has had a reading elsewhere?

Yes! We are here to support the next steps of the development of this piece. We will not, however, take pieces that have already been fully produced, had their world premiere, prior to this incubator series.

Questions?

History of Undiscovered works

History of the UDW Series

2018

CALAMUS by Patric Verrone, directed by Alejandro Torres
PREAPOCALYPTICA by Erin Marie Panttaja, directed by Rem Myers
VOZARA by Naseem Badie, directed by Mostafa Elmorssy
INTIMATES by Nicole Jost, directed by Deborah Murphy
CALAMUS by Patric Verrone, directed by Alejandro Torres
VOZARA by Naseem Badie, directed by Mostafa Elmorssy
PREAPOCALYPTICA by Erin Marie Panttaja, directed by Rem Myers
INTIMATES, by Nicole Jost, directed by Deborah Murphy

Workshop: THE MOURNER by Bridgette Dutta Portman, directed by Paul Stout. A co-production with the EXIT Theatre.

2017

Development Program:
The Mourner by Bridgette Dutta Portman, directed by Paul Stout
The Sorrows by Carson Beker, directed by Juliana Lustenader
Erinyes/Eumenides by Rebecca Longworth, directed by Allie Moss

Workshop:
You’ll Not Feel The Drowning by Marissa Skudlarek, directed by Gabriel A. Ross

2016

Development Program:
An Ear For Voices by Alina Trowbridge, directed by Nikki Meñez
The Princess and the Porn Star by Kirk Shimano, directed by Dave Sikula
Oceanus by Daniel Hirsch and Siyu Song, directed by Rebecca Longworth
You’ll Not Feel The Drowning by Marissa Skudlarek, directed by Gabriel A. Ross

One-Offs:
Punk As Fuck by Barbara Jwanouskos, directed by Logan Ellis
Truest by Megan Cohen, directed by Ellery Schaar

One-Offs
Las Pajaritas by Jordan Ramirez Puckett, directed by Ted Zoldan
The Whitelisted by Jason Mendez, directed by Ted Zoldan
Siesta Key by Jonathan Spector, directed by Brian Katz

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