Artists at Play Readings: Meet the Artists

Writers, Directors
and Dramaturgs

Most people know what a writer or director does, but not everybody knows the function of a dramaturg. For the rehearsal process of Artists at Play Readings, each reading was assigned a dramaturg to help the writer develop their written work.

In the words of dramaturg Kimberly Colburn, "My job is to help everyone else do their jobs better." In this process, the dramaturg asks the writer questions that will help identify themes, tones, character and story arcs, and other theatrical logistics that may need strengthening in the writing.

Meet the teams behind Iggy Woo and Three Steps Back!

Iggy Woo is written by Alice Tuan and the reading of her play will be directed by Rena Heinrich.  The dramaturg for the Iggy Woo reading will be Artists at Play co-founder Marie-Reine Velez.

Alice Tuan (Playwright, Iggy Woo) emerged in 2000 with recognition from the Richard E. Sherwood Award and the Colbert Award for Excellence. Ajax (por nobody) premiered at New York’s Flea Theater and performed at the Melbourne Fringe and Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival. Other produced plays include IkebanaSome AsiansThe Roaring Girle and Coastline. Ms. Tuan holds an MFA from Brown University, has a commission from Yale Repertory Theater/Center for New Theater and is the Head of Writing for Performance at Cal Arts.

Rena Heinrich (Director, Iggy Woo) is a director and dramaturg.  In 2012, she directed the world premiere of Cynthia Santos-DeCure's Miss Quince and co-directed TeAda Productions' critically acclaimed Refugee Nation. Rena currently co-hosts "Hapa Happy Hour," a podcast dedicated to celebrating and exploring the mixed race experience. A Phi Kappa Phi, Rena holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Loyola Marymount University and a Master's in Theatre Arts and Dance from California State UniversityLos Angeles.  

Marie-Reine Velez (Dramaturg, Iggy Woo) is a founding member of Artists at Play. Her work life is filled with producing and marketing for USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative. She produced new work with LA-based artists at TeAda Productions for four years and served on the host committee for the 3rd National Asian American Theatre Festival in 2011.

Three Steps Back is written by Peter J. Kuo, who is a co-founder of Artists at Play. The reading of Three Steps Back will be directed by Skyler Gray and the dramaturg for the Three Steps Back reading will be Kimberly Colburn.

Peter J. Kuo (Playwright, Three Steps Back) is a co-founder of Artists at Play. His written plays, The Amazing Wedding Race and Three Steps Back, were developed in East West Players' David Henry Hwang Writers Institute.  He wrote the book for The Antique Shop with composer Nathan Wang. Commonly known as a director, his directing credits include: Ching Chong Chinaman, Ordinary Days, Songs for a New World and Letters to a Student Revolutionary. 

Skyler Gray (Director, Three Steps Back) serves as the Literary Assistant for South Coast Repertory and the Education Associate for The Chance Theater. He graduated from UC Irvine with Honors in Directing. As the Artistic Director of Children’s Musical Theaterworks he directed the World-Premiere Workshop of Sam Wilmott and Marcus Steven’s Yo, Vikings!  Recently he served as the dramaturg for Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them with Artists at Play and Zen Shorts and Songs of Bilitis with Rogue Artists Ensemble.

Kimberly Colburn (Dramaturg, Three Steps Back) is the Associate Literary Director and Pacific Playwrights Festival Coordinator at South Coast Repertory. She has also worked with companies including Los Angeles Opera, Sledgehammer Theatre, Lord Leebrick Theatre, Critical Mass Ensemble, Chance Theatre, NEA/Arena Stage, Playwright’s Center, and Native Voices at the Autry. She received her Bachelor’s in Theatre from University of California, Riverside and her Master’s in Performing Arts Management from University of Oregon.

All-Day Pass for $18 includes access to pre-show snacks, dinner and hosted bar. $13 Dinner Pass includes access to dinner and hosted bar. Admission to readings are complimentary. (At the door prices will go up $5.)

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