New Center NOW Theater Circle Promotes Jewish Playwriting Contest

By Sara Bookin-Weiner

Published March 26, 2015, issue of March 26, 2015.

Sometimes finding an artistic home is about the people as much as the place, and for young, Jewish theater artists in Boston, they now have a new way to connect. Last summer, the New Center NOW Theater Circle began to meet on a monthly basis for roundtable discussions. This new forum for young Jewish theater artists gives them the opportunity to discuss the relationship between their art-making and their Jewish identity, to explore works that have a Jewish connection, to expand their personal and professional networks, and to refine their own work.

Each month features a different topic or opportunity, and all meetings are free and open to any Jewish young adult theater artist interested in attending. Articles on the state of Jewish theater are fodder for robust conversation and artistic introspection, as are visits from established Jewish theater artists, like director Melia Bensussen, whose “Awake & Sing!” at the Huntington was a perfect jumping-off point for discussion.

The group, social by nature, seeks to support and discuss local productions that have Jewish content. Whether a special post-show discussion after SpeakEasy Stage Company’s production of “Bad Jews” or a group outing to Zeitgeist’s “Bent,” the Circle members relish the opportunity to engage with what’s current and in our own backyard.

Up next is something a little different: in April, the group will support the Jewish Playwriting Contest on April 13 at the Boston Center for the Arts. This fourth annual contest, a program of the Jewish Plays Project, is coming to Boston for the first time. In an international search for the best unpublished Jewish plays, a panel of local readers (several of them active Theater Circle members) picked Boston’s Top 3 to enjoy — and judge. The NOW Theater Circle attendees will watch a cast of stellar actors read 20-minute sections from these three plays, hear Jewish Plays Project Founder David Winitsky share the latest trends in the field, and then use their cell phones to vote on which play should continue on in the contest. The ultimate winner gets a workshop production for industry leaders in New York this June.

The Jewish Playwriting Contest is open to the public.

For tickets, go to or call 617-531-4610.

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