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Director of New Work
Playwrights' Commons / Company One
Ilana M. Brownstein is the Founding Dramaturg of the playwright development organization Playwrights’ Commons; and is the Director of New Work at Company One, a socially-engaged indie theatre in residence at the Boston Center for the Arts. As an educator, she teaches on the faculty of Boston University's School of Theatre. She is the former Literary Manager and dramaturg at the Huntington Theatre Company under Nicholas Martin. While there, she created and ran the Huntington Playwriting Fellows (HPF) program and the Breaking Ground Festival, for which she won the 2008 Elliott Hayes Award, granted each year by Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas for excellence in dramaturgy.
For Playwrights' Commons, her focus is the care and nurturing of the diverse community of playwrights in Boston and New England. To this end, she leads two annual week-long collaborative theatre-making retreats for emerging and established writers; moderates the Boston & New England Playwrights Facebook group; and hosts bi-monthly Playwright Night Out events around Boston.
Her work at Company One includes season programming, mentorship of young artists, outreach and community engagement, rehearsal dramaturgy, leadership of the XX PlayLab (a development program for female playwrights), and the representation of the theatre on the national stage.
A select list of playwrights with whom she’s worked include Rajiv Joseph, Mia Chung, Qui Nguyen, Idris Goodwin, Kirstoffer Diaz, Aditi Kapil, Lauren Yee, Kirsten Greenidge, Lydia Diamond, Natalia Naman, John Shea, Kate Snodgrass, Rebekah Maggor, John Kuntz, Sinan Unel, Ronan Noone, Melinda Lopez, Theresa Rebeck, August Wilson, Wendy Wasserstein, Richard Nelson, Mat Smart, Stephen Belber, Peter Flynn & Brooks Ashmanskas, David Rambo, David Marshall Grant, Etan Frankel, Robert L Freedman & Steven Lutvak, Nathan Louis Jackson, Tommy Smith, Daniel Goldstein & Michael Friedman, Naomi Iizuka, Joyce Van Dyke, David Lindsay-Abaire, Noah Haidle, Lisa Kron, Dominic Taylor, and the gentlemen of Culture Clash.
Her directing and dramaturgy work has been seen at Company One; the Huntington; Boston University’s New Play Initiative, and the Professional Theatre Initiative; Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and the Baltic American Playwrights’ Conference; Boston Playwrights’ Theatre; Chicago Directors Lab; Yale Rep; Yale Cabaret; Ensemble Studio Theatre; The New Harmony Project; Actors Theatre of Louisville; and on Broadway (Theresa Rebeck’s Mauritius). She has worked as a teaching artist with the Huntington’s Young Voices Playwriting program; the New Noises Massachusetts Young Playwrights Project; the 52nd Street Project; the Dwight Edgewood Project; and cross-disciplinary initiatives at Boston University.
As a panelist and invited delegate, she has spoken at the Humana Festival’s Theatre Professionals Weekend (“Future of Theatre Criticism”); the American Voices New Play Institute convening on literary management; the Center for Theatre Commons convening, “Becoming a Citizen of the Commons”; New Dramatists’ independent artists retreat, “The Third Bohemia”; Theatre Communications Group session on new models of accessibility (convener); the Association for Theatre in Higher Education panel “Theatre in the Global City”; LMDA’s Open Space convening on race and class, as well as panels on economics and theatre, new collaborative models in theatre and higher education, localism in the regional theatre movement, and new models of digital dramaturgy.
Ms. Brownstein has adjudicated dramaturgy and playwriting residencies and awards for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival; Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA); the Massachusetts Cultural Council; the Eugene O'Neill Playwrights Conference; the Jerome Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center; PlayPenn; the John Gassner Award; and the New Play Institute at Arena Stage. Her articles have been published in “TheatreForum”; “Theatre”; “Slavic and East European Performance”; Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s “Prologue” and “Illuminations”; the annual “Limelight Literary Guide” 2003-2007 (editor and writer); and more than 10 years of program notes for the Huntington and Company One, among other theatres. In the fall of 2012, she served as editor and curator of articles for the Boston Week for the online journal HowlRound.com’s City Series.
She is a former regional and executive vice president of LMDA, and for 5 years served as Arts Advisor to Jake Zimmerman, Missouri State Representative of the 83rd District. She holds an M.F.A. in Dramaturgy & Dramatic Criticism from the Yale School of Drama, and a B.A. in Directing from The College of Wooster.
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