Company One’s new work development program has gone through many iterations over the years. From 2011-2014, it was called the XX PlayLab, and was created in collaboration with the Boston Center for the Arts as a way to nurture the work of female playwrights. From 2014-2016, it was re-named the BCA PlayLab to honor our continuing collaboration with the Boston Center for the Arts, while also opening the lab to playwrights who identified anywhere on the gender spectrum. During those years, we held several spaces specifically for female-identifying writers, but moved away from “XX” as a signifier for female-ness. In 2016, it became C1 PlayLab, as Company One fully took on the administration and artistic support of the playwrights involved. The moniker “PlayLab” was generally applied to all of Company One’s new play development activity, inclusive of programs for local and non-local writers alike.
In 2015, we introduced the Unit and Fellows programs within C1 PlayLab. Unit is a space for early-career writers to receive guidance and support more specific to their needs, while the Fellows program allowed mid-career writers to work one-on-one with staff dramaturgs on a specific play. All participants in C1 PlayLab also receive regular Master Classes with local and national arts leaders addressing issues of play/career development.
In 2017, we created PlayLab Bootcamp, an intensive multiday program for early career playwrights, dramaturgs, directors, and producers. Structured like a conference, participants took single sessions a la carte, or opted for artist tracks of curated sessions meant to speak to a specific discipline. Plenary sessions brought all participants together, and Bootcamp was accompanied by the workshop of a new play by Kirsten Greenidge.
“Bootcamp 2019: Circles of Community” was a 3-day intensive held at the Copley branch of the Boston Public Library. The weekend was structured to create space for community-making between artists of multiple disciplines, each committed in some respect to new work and its myriad creation processes. The weekend as a whole mixed hands-on workshops, panelist/expert talks, and participant-guided conversations. For the first time, all sessions were free to attend, thanks to our partnership with the BPL.
In October of 2020, Company One launched a full redesign of our new work development program. C1 PlayLab is now C1 PlayLab Circuit, a two-pronged approach to new play development that supports writers at all career stages, and provides community-centered professional development opportunities: Writing Labs and the Open Circuit.
Our PlayLab Circuit Writing Labs each serve a different population:
- The Flux Lab Writers work on plays that are being developed towards production, including C1’s residencies and commissions
- The Surge Lab brings together artivist-playwrights who receive micro-commissions to write responsively on themes we’re tackling in our Better Future programming
- The Volt Lab Writers (formerly PlayLab Unit) are a cohort of early career playwrights who meet monthly in a supportive lab-style setting.
- Our Open Circuit programs are free artistic and professional development opportunities, including our Virtual Open Write events, and our Field Work convenings (formerly known as PlayLab Bootcamp).
This year’s Flux Lab Writers include:
• Kirsten Greenidge, C1 Resident Playwright supported by the Mellon Foundation
• Inda Craig-Galván* — Black Super Hero Magic Mama
• Francisca DaSilveira* supported by the National New Play Network
• Idris Goodwin* supported by the National New Play Network
• David Valdes — Downtown Crossing
• Kit Yan & Melissa Li — C1 Pao Fellowship / Chinatown Project
*also a member of the Surge Lab