As the theater scene experiences a wave of energy for new work, emerging writers share their secrets. Dallas Theater Center’s recent winning of a regional Tony and Kitchen Dog Theater’s addition of a local slot to its new works festival are examples of how Dallas talent get some of the recognition — and resources — needed to begin.

I got in touch with three of the more established playwrights in North Texas to hear where they find  inspiration, motivation, and money to produce their work. Claire Carson, originally from Denver, graduated from SMU in 2014 and has since written and self-produced three plays.

Bath House Cultural Center hosted a run of her soft-horror play Shadow Woman this fall.  “In terms of it being a sort of female centric-narrative, even if I try not to, that always seems to play a role in the plays I write because I am a young woman, so I deal with those issues,” she says. “The past three shows I’ve written and had performed followed a young woman and that drove the narrative.” Jonathon Norton is a commissioned playwright for Dallas Theater Center.

His work includes the award-winning work Mississippi Goddamn and The 67th Book of the Bible, based on events from the life of Martin Luther King Jr.  “I always think that what I do is excavation,” he says. “Digging up stuff and trying to dig and find interesting stories and stories that have been buried for so long and trying to find ways to theatricalize them.

And of course in terms of African-American history, there’s so many stories that have gone untold.” Blake Hackler is an actor, writer, and professor with positions at both Yale and SMU and was recently named an artistic associate at Second Thought Theatre. His work has been performed in New York as well as Dallas and multiple other locations across the country. Read more from…

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