In 2019, Arts Fort Worth (formerly the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 1300 Gendy St, 817-738-1938) introduced a program that gave writers a chance to submit original, unproduced scripts to a panel of industry professionals for potential inclusion in a readings series. One lucky writer’s script was to be selected for production in 2020.
With seven scripts submitted and Tarrant County College students at the ready for reading rehearsals, things came to a halt due to the shutdown. Zoom became the new reading room, and those sessions can be viewed on Arts Fort Worth’s YouTube channel. New & Improved by Janae Hatchett won, but there were no productions in 2020 as the theater was never able to open.
It was to be the same song, second verse for 2020. There were nine scripts submitted, and rather than TCC students doing the readings, small local theater companies did the honors via Zoom. DIG by Natalie Gaupp was slated for production in 2021, but again … no in-person events, so no production.
With the world opening up again in 2021 (for the most part) and writers coming out of lockdown hibernation with new material in hand, Arts Fort Worth received 41 scripts when submission time rolled around, did an early cut-off, and selected 16 for readings. Rather than choose a third script for production with two already in the queue, both New & Improved and DIG were produced for 2022’s Original Works Series.
“Creativity transcends all barriers, real and perceived,” said AFW director Marla Fleischmann Owen. “Arts Fort Worth is committed to challenging systemic and historic barriers by building a platform where all have an opportunity to express and see themselves in the arts. The Original Works Series Program includes performances with BIPOC, LBGTQ+, all women-led companies, and children’s theater supporting this commitment.”
The program currently includes readings of works by 32 playwrights and two original play productions involving 21 theater companies and about 150 performers. It’s safe to say that Arts Fort Worth is back.
About New & Improved
“You know that geeky Mathlete who was picked on and shoved into lockers in high school? Now he’s all grown up and going to therapy for depression and social anxiety. Thanks a lot, teenagers. Our geek, Nathan, is convinced to attend a therapy mixer to ‘get out there’ and ‘be social’ with his peers. He meets two forces of nature he didn’t expect: Turk, a self-proclaimed ladies’ man, and Piper, a sarcastic smart aleck. With grace like a palm tree in a hurricane, they shove Nathan into the dating pool with a young woman named Abby. After a horrible date, some soul-searching, and an all-night coffee binge, Nathan leaps out of his comfort zone with his two new accomplices.”
“The Dewitt brothers despise each other. Young attorney Victor has had their small hometown in his rearview mirror for years, pursuing his career in a metropolitan city. Eliot has become a virtual recluse caring for their mother, Lina, who is staging with Alzheimer’s. But now Vic’s back, prompted by a disturbing call from a neighbor. Vic is set to interrogate his brother about the present situation, but Eliot has his own slate of questions about the past. Even Lina has an agenda. She’s out in the back lot. Digging. Morning ’til night. And she’s just about to uncover the answers her sons are looking for, whether they’re ready or not.”
Along with a host of readings and other Original Works Series happenings, see New & Approved and DIG various days and times thru Saturday. Tickets are $25 at ArtsFortWorth.org/Original-Works-Series.