13P, The Innovative American Playwrights Collective, Implodes and Launches "A People's History of 13P"

October 11, 2012

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Digital Archive Documents 13P’s Process. Copycats Are Welcome.

In 2003, concerned that the trend of endless readings and development programs was limiting the texture and ambition of new American plays, 13 midcareer playwrights banded together to try a different model. Each playwright would serve as Artistic Director of the company—deciding the goals of the project, designing its process, and choosing collaborators—as it realized a full production of his/her play. They called this organization 13P and together, they realized full productions of 13 plays, one by each playwright. In July 2012 with their final production, Sara Ruhl’s (P#13) sold-out Melancholy Play, 13P completed its mission and imploded.

In the wake of their implosion, the playwrights have relaunched 13P.org as A People’s History of 13P, an extensive digital archive that documents the experiences and challenges the playwrights faced in their time together. It includes filmed interviews with the members, and with their collaborators and supporters. It showcases who 13P was, what they made, and how they made it. Copycats are welcome.

New Dramatists, who has assumed possession of 13P.org, will keep A People’s History of 13P running into the future.

Copies of 13P: The Complete Plays, a limited edition book, are exclusively available for purchase online via the Soho Rep Bookshop.

13P (13 Playwrights, Inc.) was formed in 2003 by 13 midcareer playwrights concerned about what the trend of endless readings and new play development programs was doing to the texture and ambition of new American plays. The 13 playwrights of 13P are Sheila Callaghan, Erin Courtney, Madeleine George, Rob Handel, Ann Marie Healy, Julia Jarcho, Young Jean Lee, Winter Miller, Sarah Ruhl, Kate E. Ryan, Lucy Thurber, Anne Washburn, and Gary Winter.

Together, the collective realized full productions of new plays. The resources of the company were placed at the disposal of the playwright at work, who served as the company's artistic director during the production of her play.

At their first gathering in fall 2003, they chose the order of their 13 productions. The process for each production began with a meeting between the playwright, executive producer, and managing director. The playwright dreamed out loud about her ideal venue, director, cast, and other collaborators for the play. 13P oriented itself around each playwright within the framework: The artistic director took full artistic responsibility for the company during her tenure, and they made every effort to realize the playwright’s wishes.

Awarding 13P an OBIE in 2005, the committee wrote, “Not since Circle Repertory have we seen playwrights in New York forging a home for each other.”

13P’s all volunteer staff included Maria Goyanes, executive producer; Barbara Samuels, general manager; Caleb Hammons, marketing director; Isabella Byrd, associate general manager; Rachel Silverman, associate producer; Gabe Miner, marketing associate; and Dakota Gardner, marketing associate.

For the complete history, please visit www.13P.org.

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