Goodman Theatre announces members of yearlong Playwrights Unit

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The 2017-2018 members of The Playwrights Unit include
Isaac Gomez (from left), Kristin Idasak, Sam Collier, Nigel O’Hearn, and Ricardo Gamboa. (Photo: Courtesy of the Goodman Theatre)

The Goodman Theatre has announced the five Chicago-based playwrights selected to be part of the 2017 -2018 Playwrights Unit, the year-long residency in support of new work in collaboration with Chicago Dramatists.

According to today’s announcement, the writers include: Sam Collier (finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2017 National Playwright Conference for her play, “Daisy Violet the Bitch Beast King”); Ricardo Gamboa (recipient of the MacArthur International Connections Award and Joyce Award); Isaac Gomez (the 2017 and 2018 artistic curator for the Chicago Park District’s Theater on the Lake); Kristin Idaszak (recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award for her play, “Second Skin”); and Nigel O’Hearn (whose work has been presented as part of the Chicago Fringe Festival, International Ibsen Festival and others).

Members of The Playwrights Unit meet bi-monthly to discuss their plays-in-progress with the Goodman’s artistic team, and their residency will culminate in a staged reading of each new play in the summer of 2018.

In prepared remarks, Tanya Palmer, the Goodman’s director of New Play Development, said: “I’m thrilled to welcome this talented group of Chicago writers. Each playwright has a very distinctive voice and aesthetic, but they all share a passion for telling stories that are challenging, relevant and full of life. I know they will all benefit from the collaboration with their peers, and I look forward to sharing the results of their hard work with our audiences next summer.”

“Yasmina’s Necklace,” an exploration of the refugee experience by Playwrights Unit alum Rohina Malik (whose play also was developed as part of the Goodman’s New Stages Festival and premiered last fall at Berwyn’s 16th Street Theater), will be produced on the Goodman’s Owen stage (Oct. 20 – Nov. 19).

One final note: Another Goodman initiative aimed at nurturing new works by emerging and established playwrights is its New Stages Festival, which provides audiences with the opportunity to get a “first look” at new plays by contemporary writers. Now in its 14th year, the 2017 – 2018 New Stages festival (Sept. 20 – Oct. 8), will feature eight new works, including three given developmental productions and five receiving script-in-hand staged readings.

For additional information and tickets visit www.GoodmanTheatre.org.

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