What is Wisconsin Wrights?

by Karen Moeller, Artistic Associate

Wisconsin Wrights was created in the Fall of 2006 through a partnership between the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies in Theatre, the UW-Madison University Theatre, and Madison Repertory Theatre. The founding partners were joined by Milwaukee Chamber Theatre in 2007 and Forward Theater Company in 2009. Forward Theater Company accepted stewardship of the Wisconsin Wrights program from the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies in the summer of 2014 and has continued to coordinate the program as a reading series for new works.

The Wisconsin Wrights New Play Festival exists to shine a spotlight on Wisconsin playwrights, and provide them with an opportunity to take their new work to the next level. Any playwright can tell you what a long and challenging process it is to take a play from the page to the stage. Festivals like Wisconsin Wrights give playwrights the opportunity to have their works read by professional actors, and heard by audiences, who can provide invaluable feedback. In addition, during the weeks before the Festival, the playwrights receive feedback from a dramaturg, the director of the reading, and the actors themselves during the rehearsals. By the time the reading is performed, there have been numerous revisions, as the storylines become more focused, and the characters become more fully realized.

Karen Saari is a Madison playwright whose play, In A Clearing, was chosen for the 2015 Wisconsin Wrights Festival. Here's what she says about the experience, and the effect that it's had on her career as a playwright:

"When my play, In a Clearing, was selected for Wisconsin Wrights in 2015, it catapulted me to a new level as a writer. Beyond mere validation, my work and I were treated with great respect and honesty, resulting in a workshop and staged reading process that made the work even stronger. This opportunity for a writer based in our state was invaluable, especially as I began submitting it to companies and festivals around the country. The Wisconsin Wrights experience and credential have definitely helped it stand out in to literary managers amid stacks of other plays. Since Wisconsin Wrights, my play has been a finalist for a national award, was awarded a reading and workshop at a national theatre conference and has been considered by a handful of theatre companies from NYC to L.A. I am thankful to the entire Forward team and Wisconsin Wrights for the doors now open to me as a writer."
- Karen Saari, Playwright - In a Clearing
2015 Wisconsin Wrights New Play Festival, 2017 ATHE Award finalist-Excellence in Playwriting,
2017 Last Frontier Theatre Conference PlayLab

Forward Theater hopes you will join us for the 2017 Wisconsin Wrights New Play Festival. This is your chance to see a play at the very beginning of its life, and to participate in the talkback afterwards. And who knows, someday, when one (or more) of them make it to the Broadway stage, you can tell your friends that you were there for the very first performance!

September 21st - 23rd, 2017

The Fredric March Play Circle, located within the Wisconsin Union Theater at 800 Langdon St.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for students.
Purchase tickets ONLINE or in person at the Wisconsin Union Theater box office, 800 Langdon St.