In case it wasn't clear by now, it's a new era at the Victory Gardens Theater. On Wednesday morning, artistic director Chay Yew announced a new slate of ensemble playwrights.
It's a much smaller group, made up of Philip Dawkins, Marcus Gardley, Samuel D. Hunter and Tanya Saracho. And their term is to be limited to seven years. It's also probably fair to call all the writers in this group "emerging," although all are known quantities. Some live in Chicago and some do not. The prolific Saracho is working on a new piece this summer at Sundance.
In a statement, Yew said that he was hoping "to amplify the definition of the 'artistic home' for our country's writers."
The members of the old playwrights' ensemble (created under retired artistic director Dennis Zacek and of 16 years mostly unchanging standing) are to be granted "alumni" status.
Thus the official list of Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble Alumni (the theater has now backed away from the term "Emeritus") is made up of Claudia Allen, Dean Corrin, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter, Gloria Bond Clunie, Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson, John Logan, Nicholas A. Patricca, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher.
Yew said that these writers will "maintain an artistic relationship with Victory Gardens." Whether that will mean the theater will still produce any of their plays remains to be seen. None is involved with the 2012-13 season at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.
According to Yew's developmental plan, Dawkins, Gardley, Hunter and Saracho will join the "alumni group" when their seven years are up, presumably with a new crop of young scribes coming on active duty.
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