Raven Theatre Company to launch first [Working Title] Weekend Festival of New Play Readings July 8-10

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Raven Theatre Company, who has long championed new works through its [Working Title] new play development series of staged readings and its full productions of world premiere plays, will introduce a full weekend of three new play readings this summer. From Friday, July 8 through Sunday, July 10, the company will present a formal reading of a different play each night. The festival will open the evening ofFriday, July 8 with a reading of Girl Found, a psychological mystery by Barbara Lhota, an award-winning playwright and network playwright at Chicago Dramatists. The Saturday evening entry will be Sycamore, a drama of contemporary family life by the Brooklyn, New York based Sarah Sander, that will be fully produced at Raven in March and April 2017 as part of its 2016-17 subscription season. Closing out the weekend will be the political drama Armature by Andrew Kramer, an Indianapolis-based writer who has been a resident playwright with StageLeft’s LeapFest.

Tickets, priced at $10 (plus $3 ticketing fee) per reading or $25 (with no additional fees) for a Festival Pass are currently on sale at www.raventheatre.com or by phone at 773-338-2177.

THE PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS
Girl Found
by Barbara Lhota
Directed by Alison Dornheggen
Friday, July 8 at 7:30pm
A seventeen-year-old girl who mysteriously went missing four years ago turns up in a youth shelter in Canada, with no memory of where she’s been. Soon she recalls a name, Sophia Sobin, and a life she wants back. Her aunt Ellie and troubled mother Eva, welcome her home, but subtle changes in Sophia’s demeanor make others question. Who are you if you cannot remember your past? Sophia revives her damaged family, but chaotic past events bubble beneath the surface. Inspired by true life events, Girl Found explores how perceptions can be distorted in the desperate pursuit of primal love.
Girl Found was a semi-finalist in Strange Sun Theater’s Greenhouse Project in New York City, winner of Polarity Ensemble Theatre’s 2015 Dionysos Cup Festival of New Plays last July and featured in Idle Muse Theatre Company’s Athena Festival in December of 2015.
Barbara Lhota is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter who has written over 200 plays and has had over 60 productions.  She received her MFA in Dramatic Writing from Brandeis University, where she was an artist-in-residence and taught playwriting. Barbara is a Chicago Dramatist Network Playwright, an International Women’s Centre Playwright and a member of the Dramatist Guide. She is also a member of the Babes with Blades Theatre Company. Her work is published with Chicago Dramaworks, Smith & Kraus, Pioneer Press, and Meriwether Publishing.
Sycamore
by Sarah Sander
Directed by Devon de Mayo
Saturday, July 9, 7:30pm
Celia and Henry are teenaged siblings living in a Midwestern suburb who both become romantically interested in the same boy – their new next-door neighbor, John. This isn’t the first time Celia and Henry have been romantic rivals. Will trouble strike again as the two vie for John’s affections?  Meanwhile, Celia and Henry’s parents, David and Louise, face stress in their marriage due to David’s reduction in hours as a college professor and need to take on a job as a short order cook in an all-night diner.
Sycamore was presented by Raven as a staged reading in February 2016 and will be presented in a full production in Raven’s 2016-2017 subscription season, also to be directed by Devon de Mayo.
Sarah Sander has seen her work developed/produced by Columbia University, |the claque|, DC Arts Center, Florida Studio Theatre, Inkwell Theatre, Kennedy Center, Lark, NYSF, Page 73 Productions, Public Theater, Project Y and Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival. She’s a member of the Public Theater’s 2015 Emerging Writers Group, New Georges Affiliated Artist, alumna of the Dramatist Guild Fellowship and P73’s Interstate 73. Residencies: MacDowell, Millay and SPACE at Ryder Farm. Finalist: ATL’s Heideman Award, Clubbed Thumb’s Biennial Commission, Playwrights Center’s Jerome Fellowship, Juilliard’s Lila Acheson Fellowship, Leah Ryan FEWW Prize, P73’s Playwriting Fellowship, Playwrights Realm Fellowship, Trustus Theatre Festival, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and Source Theater Festival. Nominations: Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, NTC’s Stavis Award and Williamstown’s Weissberger Award. For the 2009-2010 season she served as a National New Play Network Playwright-in-Residence (Florida Studio Theatre). She has an MFA from the University of Iowa.
Armature
by Andrew Kramer
Directed by Lauren Shouse
Sunday, July 10, 7:30pm
Candidate Blythes Ames prepares – with a voice as smooth and strong as a song – for the upcoming governor’s election. Her husband Denson should be happier for her political success. Her daughter Monica should stop dyeing her hair. Across town, pop-culture blogger Evan meets sexy stranger Shod at the dark and sordid Armature Bar where Mama serves the drinks – if he’s able to avoid the reporters. The lives of these very different people collide as a roaring fire erupts with biblical wrath and passion, devouring everything in its path.
Armature received a reading from the Emerging Writers Group in New York City in 2013 and was presented in a workshop production by Cleveland Public Theatre in 2014.
Andrew Kramer was born and raised in Cleveland and is a 2010 graduate of Ball State University’s Department of Theatre & Dance. He was a 2014 Nord Playwriting Fellow at Cleveland Public Theatre, where he has developed his plays: Armature, Crying for Lions, and Bridge. He was a 2013 member of the Emerging Writer’s Group at The Public Theatre in New York as well as a former member of the Groundbreakers Playwrights’ Group with the terraNOVA Theatre Collective where he developed his play Whales & Souls. Andrew was a finalist for the 2050 Fellowship at New York Theatre Workshop, a former Core Apprentice Writer at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, as well as a two-time semi-finalist in the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Play Festival with his plays A Map of Our Country (2010) and We Happy Animals (2011). Andrew has also served as Playwright‐in‐Residence at the Cairns Arts Festival in Queensland, Australia and his play The Dog(run) Diaries was shortlisted for the 2012 US/UK Old Vic New Voices. He is currently working on Skin & Bones, a new American musical with composer Ben Clark. Andrew is a two-time member of the Ingram New Works Lab at Nashville Repertory Theatre where he was mentored by playwright Steven Dietz and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright. His work has been seen in Cleveland, Indianapolis, Chicago, Brooklyn, Lincoln, Louisville, Nashville, Houston, Williamsburg VA, New York, Sacramento, Cairns Australia and Bucharest Romania.
Our [WORKING TITLE] New Play Development Series has evolved into a vital aspect of Raven’s artistic commitment to excellence. Started in 1992, our objective is to foster and present new voices of the American stage, with moderated post show discussions after each performance. The [WORKING TITLE] Series provides the company with the opportunity to incubate new plays, while offering an invaluable laboratory for playwrights, directors and actors to experiment with and showcase new plays. Plays that have developed into full productions at Raven Theatre include Jon Steinhagen’s Dating Walter Dante and Todd Bauer’s The Bird Feeder Doesn’t Know in addition to the upcoming Sycamore, by Sarah Sander.
Raven Theatre
Raven Theatre is committed to presenting the range of modern drama from Ibsen to the most current playwrights on the rise.  Through a vigorous program of full productions and new play development [Working Title], as well as a first class theatre education series, Take Flight, Raven creates a powerful and welcoming environment in which artists hone their skills, young students gain valuable insights into theatre arts, and patrons experience high quality programming that is easily accessible to all.
Raven Theatre Company is funded in part by Alphawood Foundation, Dramatists Guild Fund, Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Lloyd A. Fry Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, Polk Bros. Foundation, Yates Feldman Foundation, S&C Electric, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Dadourian Foundation, Kinder Morgan Foundation. Raven is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council agency.
Free parking is provided in a lot adjacent to the theatre – additional street parking is available.
Raven Theatre is handicapped accessible.

Tickets/information: www.raventheatre.com or 773-338-2177.