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Event Details
  • Communications Lab (writers must be accepted before buying)
    November 12, 2023
    12:00 pm - 7:00 pm
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Writer-Director (Virtual) Communications Lab 2023

Sunday, November 12th, 2023 (writer submission deadline 11/3)
12pm to 6:30pm eastern time (check in at 11:30)
To be held virtually on Zoom, so artists beyond the New York area are encouraged to join. Register to receive the link.

This is an amazing opportunity for directors and writers to meet, and hone their ability to talk productively with each other! Led by commercial producer Ric Wanetik (Tony nominated Twilight Los Angeles: 1992, Broadway’s Marlene, Off-Broadway’s Jolson and Company) and TRU executive director Bob Ost. 

Writers, use this form to submit: DIRECTOR-WRITER-2023-Lab-writer-app - deadline for writer submissions is Friday 11/3. All submissions are shared with our directors, and it is generally better to submit early. Email to TRUStaff1@gmail.com with "Writer Lab Submission" in your subject line.


One of the most important - and most sensitive - relationships in theater is that between playwright and director. In some ways, the entire success of a show can hinge on the shared understanding,  trust and mutual respect between these two artists. The director and the writer need to see the show with the same eyes, otherwise their collaboration won't work.  This is important to establish in the initial meetings. TRU's program will train theater artists in the crucial skills of communication. It is led by commercial producers, since the producer is generally the real-world mediator in writer-director disagreements, and has the better overview of a production.

In this Lab we will team up to ten directors with up to ten writers prior to the Lab itself. OBSERVERS ARE ALSO WELCOME TO COME WATCH AND LEARN, LIMITED SPACE AVAILABLE. Playwrights will email us a synopsis, pitch and production history, plus 5-10 sample pages of a script; directors will select a project that interests them from those submitted, request and read the script and prepare for a preliminary director-writer discussion about the play. We will watch and guide that discussion in the Lab. You will:

• Discover your personal communication style
• Learn to identify the style of the person you are with, and adjust to it for maximum mutual understanding
• Explore non-threatening ways of discussing text, communicating and listening
• Identify your domain of authority, and determine protocols

Confirmed directors: Andrea Andresakis, Ryan Cupello, Kate Katcher, Bryna Kearney, John Lant, Kevin Ploth, Rain Pryor, Jonathan Warman. 2 slots are available. Other directors (as well as writers) are encouraged to attend as Observers and join the conversations.

SCHEDULE (subject to change)

11:30/45 - check in, room intros
12:00-12:45
– The balance of power: who’s in charge, and at what point can that shift? Producer, writer, director relationships.
Being honest and up front about your expectations and requirements.
When is a director a dramaturg?
SDC contracts, AEA contracts – how they impact the writer
The play’s the thing: depersonalizing. (How to talk about the work without involving personal feelings.)
The role of the producer.

12:45-1:30 – Communication Styles – an overview and inter-active exercise led by Ric Wanetik

1:30-1:40 – Break

1:40-3:20 - 5 inter-actions (about 10 minutes for each team to inter-act, and about 10 minutes for feedback)

3:20-4:00 – Lunch Break

4:00-5:40 – remaining 5 inter-actions (as above)

5:40-6:15 – Questions, comments, observations

COST (writers and directors):
$90 non-members 
$75 TRU members 


TESTIMONIALS:

I can’t tell you what an awesome workshop experience I had! Clearly, my biggest takeaway was the incredible interaction with the writers and other directors! It was beyond illuminating! It didn’t at all feel like five plus hours. It was the highlight of my Saturday! ~Brian Daye, director, '21

This was an illuminating and fascinating workshop. I think I learned as much or more from everyone else’s conversations, and the insightful questions from the facilitators really cut to the heart of the director/playwright interactions. So much to think about moving forward! ~Arthur M. Jolly, writer, '21

I found the whole experience truly illuminating. It's always so great to hear the director's perspective on the work – and I mean on anyone's work, not just your own. I was so grateful to have an opportunity to start a conversation with [director] Andrea and very much hope we'll continue it. ~Jeanne Drennan, writer, '21

Thanks to you and your team for the awesome teaching I received! I left the Lab extremely encouraged, with a clearer understanding of how to navigate relationships with Directors as a writer (and vice versa!), as well as a greater confidence in my ability to discern what to look for in early partnership meetings. I now recognize the importance of understanding my own behavior style, and being able to clearly communicate this with prospective partners on artistic projects for the sake of healthy collaboration. ~Jonathan Hogue, writer, '21

The session was so well run by you and the expert presenters, and the conversations between all the directors and playwrights were respectful and thought provoking. It was a genuine privilege to witness.... I left at the end with many new ideas, but the central one is that the playwright and director are in a partnership. I have always been inclined just to hand the script to a director and hope for the best (and fortunately in most cases my directors have done credit to my plays) but I would have felt I was interfering or meddling by being a key part of the process.... A personal thank you also for making all of us observers feel welcome and valued yesterday. It was a lovely experience to feel like I was welcomed so warmly into a group of theatre professionals so far away. ~Emma Wood, writer (Australia), '21

Thank you for orchestrating the Director/Writer Communication workshop and your wonderfully wise thoughts on every interaction.  I was very impressed with the caliber and generosity of the panel and I thought they brought excellent points to each discussion.  I appreciated how clear eyed you were on each interaction.... It was an excellent workshop - it is just great to be around people who love theater as much as I do and are working super hard.  Bliss! ~Noel MacDuffie, director-choreographer, '18
 
I want to thank you for the director/writer workshop last week. I am now directing a 25 minute excerpt of Look For Me in the upcoming New York New Work Theater Festival! Thanks!  ~Miriam Eusebio, director, '18

Great workshop! Wonderful people participating, both deeply knowledgeable panelists, and generous directors. I will continue to talk up your programs as well as attend as many as I can. My best to you and your true passion, the arts and theater. ~Ina Chadwick, '18

I found it helpful and illuminating in a number of ways. Coming shortly after my first experience of selecting a director, it made me aware of the necessity of a lengthy and focussed discussion before any commitments are made. It was useful both to talk through the issues raised by my own play with a director like Cate [Cammarata] and to observe other couples going through the process of discovering whether they could work together or not. It was also moving to witness unexpected dramatic moments in the course of the day. And finally the presence of two such knowledgeable and successful Broadway producers as Ken [Waissman] and Margot [Astrachan] commenting freely on the proceedings was a huge bonus. ~ Dennis Porter, playwright

One of the things that I find invaluable about the TRU Director/Writer Communications Lab is the opportunity to see my fellow directors in action. We don't very often talk about "our method," so being able to observe another director meet a particular challenge or negotiate with a writer is special indeed. I walked away with many new ideas I'll use – and even a few things I plan to avoid. ~Brent Buell, director

There really is no substitute for being "in the room" with collaborators and the fact that you are able to create this atmosphere with working professionals who are in the trenches and can speak to what's real says a lot about the good and relevant work you're doing with your organization. Kudos. ~ Ben Gonshor, writer

You created a wonderful space for us writers. And, personally, it could have not gone better for me and the relationship I hope to have started with [my Lab director]. He gets my words written on paper and that's fantastic. ~ Jonathan Citron, writer

What a fabulous Lab that was! No drama - everyone seemed to match up so perfectly! I know I did. I'm eager to continue my conversations with [my writer] - we really hit it off and she's fantastic. ~Cate Cammarata, director

The lab is fascinating, and I found not just my time, but watching the other teams very valuable. ~Richard Riskin, director

Panelists
  • RIC WANETIK

    President of Ricochet Group LLC, a strategic planning and communications advisory.  Known for his onboarding of leadership at major theaters here and in England, Ric is a frequent advisor to several regional theaters and is an active producer, investor and production supervisor. He is the Senior Advisor for America to the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).  He served as the President of RSC America, a US entity supporting the work of the Royal Shakespeare Company here and around the world. An investor in over 35 Broadway and Off- Broadway productions, Ric was the lead producer and Tony nominated for Anna Deveare Smith’s Twilight Los Angeles: 1992. In 1999, he was the lead producer for Broadway’s Marlene, and was the sole producer of Off-Broadway’s Jolson and Company.  For eight years Ric was the supervising producer for the Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show on CBS-TV and has produced several TV Specials for cable, PBS and universities including: Segment Producer, Great Performances Anniversary Special; Executive Producer, A Tribute to Comden and Green directed by Patricia Birch; producer for Ohio TV Network and CBS, What Ohio Kids Need. He is guiding the 2025 South Florida premiere of Fat Ham and the 2024 South Florida premiere of The NEW Fantasticks.  He is a frequent speaker and lecturer on theatre management and marketing. 

  • BOB OST

    While still a senior at U. of Pa., his one-act Beast was produced by Bob Moss in the first season of Playwrights Horizons. He went on to write book, music and lyrics for the off-Broadway revue Everybody’s Gettin’ into the Act at the Actor’s Playhouse, and Finale!, Grand Prize winner in the 1990 American Musical Theater Festival Competition (presented at NAMT) and the 1992 New American Musical Writers Competition, and a finalist at the O’Neill Music Conference in 1989. More recently his musical Angel in My Heart won Best Musical in the Fresh Fruit Festival. He won the New Works of Merit Playwriting Competition for his play Breeders, previously a finalist at the O'Neill, as well as a selection of the TRU Voices New Plays Reading Series. The Necessary Disposal was a finalist in the Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition at the Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo, has been a finalist in three other national competitions, and was part of the Shotgun Productions New Play Reading Series and the Oberon Theatre Reading Series, both in NYC; his one-act A Glass of Water was part of the Lovecreek Festival, HomoGenius Festival, Downtown Urban Arts Festival; other one-acts have been showcased all over New York. He won a 2004 OOBR Award for the review "Songs Are Like Friends", and is a 3-time MAC nominee. While he was producing his own musical revues at cabarets around Manhattan he discovered he could combine his artistic talent with the business skills he was picking up in the advertising world. The idea of Theater Resources Unlimited was born, with the help of co-founders (and  fellow writers) Gary Hughes and Cheryl Davis in 1992. He has gone on to produce musicals Civil War Voices and Rip in the Midtown International Theater Festival, and the classic Chinese musical, Romance of the Western Chamber.

Directors
  • ANDREA ANDRESAKIS

    is a Director and Choreographer with well over a hundred director and choreographer credits in plays, musicals, operas and dance pieces in New York City, the US and internationally including residencies in Alaska, Europe, India, and China. Credits include Spandex and Hip Hop High (Off-Broadway); My Purple Wig (Theatre Row); The Little Prince (Nat. Tour); Lola Luning's First Steps (Abingdon); The Egg Project (Fringe); The Dragon Slayer (Hudson Guild); Fahrenheit 451 (Wing’s); Star Spangled Girl (Playwrights Horizons). As Associate Artist with NY Classical Theatre, she collaborated on choreography and movement for six productionsAwards and honors include an SDCF grant to direct Shaw’s Arms and the Man at EMU and a Kennedy Center Award for her direction of Spring Awakening at Whitman College. Ms. Andresakis directed the film Slave Trade for TRU Speaks in 2021. Her production of The Pearl Diver is being streamed as a fundraiser for Asian Americans Advancing Justice. Proud member of SDC. www.Andresakis.com

  • RYAN CUPELLO

    is an NYC-based producer, director, and actor from Rochester, NY. He is the Founding Artistic Director of Brazen Light Theater Company, whose mission is to challenge stigma in American society. He received his MFA from the American Repertory Theater Institute at Harvard University. He studied at the Moscow Art Theatre in Moscow, Russia, and the AST National Academy of Theatre Arts in Krakow, Poland, where he learned the practice of Active Analysis, which he frequently uses in his directing projects. Directing credits include The Tempest (Soho Shakespeare Company), BardCore (A.R.T./Oberon), and an immersive production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (SUNY Buffalo). Acting credits include The Sickness (Off-Broadway), Dirty Dancing (National Tour), Fiddler on the Roof (National Tour), James and the Giant Peach (American Repertory Theater), and the film Once Every Day, directed by Richard Foreman. He is a company member of Our Bar, a monthly immersive show in NYC. 

  • KATE KATCHER

    As Artistic Director of Newtown’s Stray Kats Theatre Company, Kate Katcher directed the world premiere of Small World by Fred Stroppel, Rounding Third by Richard Dresser and the CT premiere of Seven a dramatic piece written by seven award winning female playwrights– Paula Cizmar, Catherine Filloux, Gail Kriegel, Carol Mack, Ruth Margraff, Anna Deveare Smith, & Susan Yankowitz– about seven activists for women’s rights worldwide. Additionally, she directed over a dozen staged readings of contemporary classics and new works in keeping with the company’s mission: everything from Edwatd Albee to The Bickersons. Her favorite projects were working with the playwrights on new works– Kent Brown’s In the Middle of Nowhere and Butcher’s CabinBy the Heirs of St. Patrick by Steve Bellwood, and Christopher Demos Brown’s Our Lady of Allapattah. As the Education Director of ARTSport and at the Regional Center for the Arts, Kate directed such productions as Li’l Abner, Little Shop of Horrors, Godspell, Fame and more. She wrote and appears in several short films co-directed and shot by Emmy Award winning director Dave Distinti, including A Nice Drive, Planning Ahead, and the original Missus Dobbs American which, despite being taped as a stage piece during the pandemic, went on to be a semi-finalist in two film festivals. 

  • BRYNA KEARNEY

    is a NYC based Director, Actor, Singer/Songwriter, and Choreographer. For over 20 years she has devoted her efforts to the ever-evolving landscape of performing arts. After moving to NYC in 2014, Bryna became a resident director at The AlphaNYC, a company focused on giving emerging actors a launch pad to build their professional resume in the heart of the Manhattan Theater District. As an artist particularly devoted to the development of new works, Bryna has had the great fortune to direct a broad range of original productions as well, ranging from Our Own Odyssey (Fuerza Festival), The Owl Girl (The Center at West Park), and Waste, Fraud, and Abuse (13th Street Repertory Theatre), a musical she also helped write and workshop. Her latest large-scale collaboration as a director with Stage Jewels Productions, brought to life the world premiere of Under Woodside, a poetic prose play written as an homage to Dylan Thomas’ Under Milkwood. The show toured parks across the NYC boroughs to packed audiences. When she isn’t directing or acting, Bryna fills her “down time” as half of the dynamic, musical duo Ponce Funeral Home Project, her eclectic, indie, passion project.

    Instagram: @filteredreality11235 Website: www.brynakearney.com  

  • JOHN LANT

    Producer/Director, Consultant specialist for musicals/plays off-Broadway and TV/Film Studio Operator for 2 Studios for stage to screen or film productions NY & NJ. 43-year veteran in the entertainment in over 750 television, film, theatre/music tours, and live theater. Production Manager at Carnegie Hall since 2006-2020 season for over 2,000 events. Award-winning producer, director, writer, lighting/set designer; Interlochen, Cal Arts, Ricardo Montalban, Hollywood Playhouse, Long Beach Playhouse, Glendale Center, Jewel Box Theatre Center and Write Act Repertory garnering DramaLogue, Diamond, ADA, NAACP Awards, LA Weekly and Backstage Pick of the Week, Garland and Valley Theatre (LA) nods. Executive Radio Producer New Frequency - Theatre of the Mind for SIRIUS/XM Radio - Ranked #1 Radio show. Mentored with Jonathan Sanger/Chanticleer Films for two shorts (Emmy & Oscar Winners), Howard Storm CBS Radford and TRU PDMP Master Fellow under Jane Dubin and Jennifer Issacson. Directed TV / Pilots Symphology, Carrot Talk, BET JAZZ Master Awards (1&2), Toronto Independent Shorts Awards, Funiki-Jam Season 2, and Anonymous Confessions. 17 Off-Broadway Lead Producer / Director (AEA/Non-union) credits include Fabulous!, 2By Tennessee Williams, Lili Marlene, Frankenstein, It Came from Beyond, Wicked Frozen, Teen Party Massacre, Swing!, Wicked City Blues, Geeks! TV/Film Credits include King of New York, The Freshman, Army of Darkness, Renegade, Power Rangers, and HBO Max's The Flight Attendant (CCO Supervisor). Tours include Phantom of the Opera, Singin' in the Rain, Gypsy and Evita. Current money raise - Pearl Bailey Musical (with Tony winning team members of Dreamgirls! and Hamilton). Development Director/Consultant for TV Film - Twisted Media NYC, Nathan Murphy Prod, Gatehouse Entertainment, Tin Mirror Prod and Trinity Theatrics network and streaming content for 3 TV pilots & 2 feature film currently in pre-production. COVID Compliance Supervisor certified for Film/TV/Broadway Theatre.
  • RAIN PRYOR

    is an entertainer, director, writer, playwright, speaker, activist, Osun priestess, wife and mother, and wants to assist you in finding and living out your desires, and breaking down racial biases. Directing credits include Hoodoo Love by Katori Hall at Spotlighters Theater in Baltimore, The Exonerated and How I Learned To Drive at UMB, and later, MILF, Moms I’d Like to Follow written and performed by comedian Meshelle The Indie Mom of Comedy. The show won Best Stand Up, at the United Solo Festival in NY and has played to sold out crowds across the country, including Joe’s Pub in NYC. Rain was artistic director of the Strand Theatre in Baltimore in 2010. She directed three of their highly successful shows and brought the company into a financial surplus. Mother May I by humorist Dylan Brody, was Pryor’s directorial debut. The show was the Strand's first World Premier and was sold out. Rain co founded Baltimore Theatre Works, that brought theater to underserved schools. Rain shares her views on race and has lead panel discussions on diversity in education and in the entertainment industry at Princeton University, The Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, Chicago and Baltimore, Atlanta, and Cannes. She won an NAACP for her irreverent solo show Fried Chicken & Latkes, and for her role as the evil stepsister in the Michael Jackson produced musical Sisterella. She was nominated for the prestigious AUDELCO Awards for her Off Broadway run at the National Black Theatre in Harlem. She is currently in pre-production for her film directorial debut, to be filmed in Baltimore MD and Nigeria. Pryor was nominated for the African American Literary Award in 2007 for her biography Jokes My Father Never Taught Me, Life Love & Loss With Richard Pryor, and has won numerous Black Short film awards for her That Daughter’s Crazy documentary.

  • JONATHAN WARMAN

    Director and choreographer. New York Theatre: New York premiere of Tennessee Williams’s Now the Cats with Jewelled Claws (La MaMa ETC, featuring Mink Stole and Everett Quinton), Me & Caesar Lee (new musical, TBG Theatre, featuring two-time Tony nominee Ernestine Jackson), Goyescas (Bare Opera), That’s MISS FITS, to YOU! (new musical, also choreographer, Soho Playhouse), Andru’s Head (new musical, NeoNeo Theatre), Quit the Road, Jack (Theatrelab), Struck / Break (Emerging Artists Theatre), American Fabulous (NeoNeo Theatre), Kitchenette (Theatre Row Studio Theatre), Groupies (Cherry Lane Studio), In Loco Parentis (4th Street Theatre), Love in the Time of Chlamydia (Hard Sparks), The Women of the Mahabharata (eyeBLINK). International: Dreams Reoccurring (Clubul CFR, Iasi, Romania; Nu Festival, Timisoara, Romania), Break (Dublin Gay Theatre Festival). Regional: Heads (Omaha Magic Theatre), The Strangest Kind of Romance (immersive, site-specific production, Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival; Omnova Theater, Columbus, Mississippi; Theatre Sewanee, Tennessee), Struck/Break (New Orleans Fringe Festival), Rogan Gosh (Star of the East, Omaha), Mad Forest, Hamletmachine (University of Nebraska at Omaha). Proud member of SDC. He has served as Artistic Director of NeoNeo Theatre Company.

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