Interviews From Another Zero

Sean Boyd, Artistic Director of Trinity Theatre Company in San Diego on Co-Producing the First Edition of The New Works Festival. 

Celebrating the works of Ten Emerging New Playwrights from across the country

Running from March 31 - April 2nd in City Heights

by Alejandra Enciso-Dardashti

We had a lovely conversation via Zoom with Sean and to start it off, I had to ask how it all began...

Trinity Theatre was co-founded by a classmate and me when we both were seniors in high school. We chose to launch as a combination of our passions, I was very much a theatre-oriented person he was all about the business side of things so, those eccentric desires I think, really played nicely into what we chose to do. We have been around since 2012 providing theatre and arts education all across San Diego County. We have school partnerships as far north as Escondido and as far south as Imperial Beach and we adore every single second of it.

The New Works Festival is a really exciting venture for us. We recently did a world premiere of LARping (Live Action Word Playing) and we worked really closely with the playwrights. The directors had a great time, the actors had a great time and the producers had a great time as well, so we decided "Let's see if there are other plays out there". We did a solicitation for new work and, long and behold we received about 400 submissions from around the world which told us that there is this great enthusiasm for telling stories. The playwrights had stories to tell and we were eager and happy to read all 400 submissions. Now we have ten that we are actually presenting next weekend and I am so excited that we are working with a local group of playwrights and actors. All of our live artists are based in San Diego, our playwrights are all over the country but, all of our actors, directors, and technicians are local. 

We are so delighted to have audiences back, I know it is still kind of fun to say that and I am looking forward to sharing ten stories in three days. 

Are there community actors or do you have a mix of professional and community?

We are compensating all the actors for their time regardless of their experience level and the experience level varies. Some individuals have been doing this a lot less, and others have years and years of experience. We have a great number of performers that are joining Trinity Theatre for the very first time on this production which is just so exciting to us.

Are these 10 works to be presented, as short plays or excerpts of longer plays or how is that going to look during the festival?

All the plays are considered one-act plays. One act has a wide range of what can be so I think our shortest play is about ten minutes long and our longest, is about ninety minutes. Our idea and how we have decided to present the shows for the weekend is that we are pairing two of the shortest with one of the longest so, it is usually about 10-10-90 and Sunday is the only exception where there are three shorts and one longer.

The call for entry that you guys made was open, geographically speaking, not limited to California or the States.

Yes, and we received a great number of multilingual submissions which is awesome for us. Of course, we do some programming in South Bay and in some of our schools we try to do a bilingual presentation so we recently did a bilingual presentation of "Alice in Wonderland" in English and Spanish. It was a lot of fun, our bilingual teachers helped and supported us with the translations for that which is a really fun juncture. Now all the plays that we are submitting for the most part are in English. There is one show "Spit in Your Face" that is a bilingual production with Spanish-speaking scenes but the majority of the show is in English.

Trinity Theatres Celebrates First Edition of New Works Festival. Photo Courtesy

I love it! I am seeing here that you guys have works from South Florida, Springfield, Dallas, North, and South California
Yes! all of those places and one local which is exciting. We tried to do a blind submission process so we weren´t swayed based on the location or the playwright's name or rather the works that were exciting to us as producers and our directors. They had a say in the show that they chose.

-Being the person that I am and while discussing this topic of new plays, I had to ask Sean-... 

There is this thing, and I think it happens a lot in San Diego where if it does not come from New York let's say, or if it does not have a certain cycle of life or whatever, it is not going to be produced in what it is called "the main stages". Because you have many stages in San Diego and then there are the "main stages" and, sometimes when I ask these questions, the answer is "well, these works have to be commissioned"...So being that you have this experience with new works, is there enough new work to go around and be produced? not just across San Diego and California but across the country?

Absolutely! there is a huge demand of playwrights wanting to tell their stories on any stage that they can. I think Trinity's position...we are not Broadway YET. But, our purpose is to serve the community and our community has stories to tell. We will always invest in those stories and in whatever capacity we can share, we will. We are just privileged to be able to indulge in that shared experience so, very happy that we can tell the stories. I hope that more stages are willing to commit to the community's stories regardless of supposed value. The arts are prominent and relevant for the group that you are and I am really excited that we can continue to highlight that piece.

Have any plays presented by the festival scaled to other stages?

So, this is our first effort with this type of festival, when we have done new works in the past, we've invested our resources into mounting them into bigger productions and making it a grander production than it has been when it is done in the developmental reading stages but it does certainly take time, and it also relies on patrons to show up and to support the art that is exciting and compelling to them. I think in a dream world we will have audiences come, they will see all the shows and somebody will say "I really like this one" and talk to myself or Connor who is our lead producer about what excited them about it because then, we know that that person was spoken to and we know we should continue that story and continue to collaborate and make sure comparable stories are told.

Sean Boyd -Artistic Director and Megan Goyette -Director of Arts Education

The New Works Festival will be playing at Community Actors Theatre located in City Heights. The venue where they started and Sean is very grateful for the partnership that they have and the help of Ms. Jenny Hamilton who is the owner of the space and excited to continue with the relationship.

Tickets are available HERE. The price of admission is 20 dollars

There are discounts for students, seniors, and military as well as group discounts and multiple-day discounts. 

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