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NKU Playwright to Dramaturg Two Commissions

Playwrights Haydee Canovas and Trish Ayers, have each been commissioned by Kentucky Playwrights Workshop, Inc. to write a one-act play.  

In exchange for the writing of a play, KPW provides an honorarium, a dramaturg, and two staged readings for each playwright so that the playwright, according to KPW president Bill McCann, “has the support necessary to see through to completion a play we are hope they are proud to see produced.” Brian Robertson, director of the BFA in playwriting program at Northern Kentucky University will act as dramaturg to the two playwrights.

A dramaturg acts as a sort of editor for works in progress.

Canovas, a Cuban-American playwright who lives in Louisville, is co-founder of Teatro Tercera Llamada, a Spanish language theatre company. In 2017, Canovas  completed  her first full-length play (about sexual human trafficking in Louisville), Molly Driven, which was produced in January of 2018 at The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts.  Other plays include Silent Night, a ten-minute play, Peety and Love Letters to Cuba, both full-length works. Her plays have been produced in New York City, at La Mama, and in Louisville.

Berea playwright Trish Ayershas had plays read and produced in Kentucky, across the United States and in Japan. The founder and director of the Kentucky Women’s Playwrights Seminar, Ayers’s plays cover a wide range of topics including breast cancer, mountain top removal, chemical weapon storage, and rape. Her play Painting the Egress was published in the anthology Scenes from the Commonwealth: Short Plays and Monologues by Women Playwrights (Motes Books, 2013).

Brian Robertson, a playwright and director at Northern Kentucky University, will dramaturg the plays. “As dramaturg,“ Robertson said, “it is my hope to provide feedback, through asking useful questions of the playwright, that help stimulate their crafting of the story.”

Robertson came to Cincinnati from Los Angeles where he had spent 30 years working in film and television, theatre, and opera. In film and television, Robertson worked in cinematography. In the areas of theatre and opera he worked as a director, fight choreographer, and stage manager. He serves on faculty and is the production manager of the NKU Theatre and Dance program, overseeing playwriting, directing, and stage management.

Robertson has worked as a guest director and instructor at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and has worked for, among others, Opera Southwest, Reduced Shakespeare Company, Greenbrier Valley Theatre, The Know Theatre, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Sarasota Opera, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Pones Inc. Laboratory of Movement, Oberlin Conservatory of Music Vocal Academy, the University of Kentucky, and the Des Moines Metro Opera.

Kentucky Playwrights Workshop is a non-profit based in Northern Kentucky which supports and encourages the development of new works for the stage by Kentucky playwrights. Previously, KPW has produced commissioned plays at the Bard Theatre in Louisville. It also produced 25 Kentucky New Play Series 10-minute plays at the Kentucky State Fair between 2012 and 2016.

Besides commissioning and supporting new plays, KPW sponsors the Kentucky New Play Series contest, and sponsors seminars and conferences on playwriting and related topics across Kentucky.        

-Staff report