BU Players Welcome Guest Artist for Plays in Bloom

BU Players commence their final production of their 2022-2023 season, a staged reading of The Appliance Department, a new play by Bella Poynton, on Monday, May 22, at 7:30pm in the Greenly Center. Plays in Bloom is a new play development program at the Bloomsburg campus of Commonwealth University. The program was developed by BU Theatre Professor David A. Miller, during the Fall 2021 semester when Professor Miller went on sabbatical to develop the program. Miller serves as the Artistic Director of Plays in Bloom.

Actors and artists of the Plays in Bloom Residency gathered Monday, May 15 to start their creation and conversations of the play. Artists met the guest professional artist of this years residency, Bella Poynton, who created the play “The Appliance Department,” the play in which the artists will adapt and learn new play development.

“In the annual Plays in Bloom Residency, Bloomsburg University students and recent alums collaborate with guest professional playwrights in a week-long development of a full-length play and participate in a festival of short new plays written by student and alum playwrights” according to the Plays in Bloom Website.

A description of the guest artist is below.

Bella Poynton is a playwright and director from Buffalo, NY. She is the Artistic Director of The Navigators, a small New York City-based theatre company focusing on feminist stories in science fiction, and the director of Queen City Playwrights, Buffalo’s new play development workshop. Recently, her work has been produced and developed by MadLab Theatre, Quantum Dragon Theatre Company, Alleyway Theatre, Anteaus Theatre Company, The Great Plains Theatre Festival, Otherworld Theatre, Post-Industrial Productions and has been named a finalist for the Woodward/Newman Drama Award, the Sam French OOB Festival, and the Maxim Mazumdar Playwriting Competition.

Professor Miller stated in an email that the play has grown this week. “The playwright brought in a 60-page play on the first day of rehearsals, then, inspired by new ideas and the conversations during rehearsal, the next day she brought in an 80-page draft. The following day it was 98 pages and today, Day 4 of the rehearsal process, we have a 104-page play” described Miller.

The playwright has called the experience wonderful and expressed gratitude from the student and alum company. Professor David A. Miller says “It’s thrilling to see a new play come to life and it’s a gift to see students, alums, faculty, and a professional guest playwright collaborating in this dynamic way.”

Plays in Bloom 2023 Official Poster

The residency’s calendar is pictured below via PlaysinBloom.org:

Monday, May 15 | Guest Professional Playwright Arrives & Company Dinner
Tuesday, May 16 | Rehearsal for Full Length Play
Wednesday, May 17 | Rehearsal for Full Length Play*
Thursday, May 18 | Rehearsal for Full Length Play*
Friday, May 19 | Rehearsal for Full Length Play*
Saturday, May 20 | Rehearsal for Full Length Play*
Sunday, May 21 | Rehearsal for Full Length Play*
Monday, May 22 | Rehearsal & Public Sharing of Full-Length Play
Tuesday, May 23 | Company and Guest Professional Playwright Depart

*One of the days, Wednesday through Sunday, will be off. The day will be determined by the needs of the playwright and the project.

Pictured is the company actors and director/playwright of Plays in Bloom. Standing up (left) is Lydia Hannibal, Colin Search, Olivia Ward, Rebecca Thomas, Russell Shelton, and Emily Shaffer.

Seated (left) is guest playwright Bella Poynton and Dr. Carrie Winship (Director: The Appliance Department)

Plays in Bloom Company finishes up their final rehearsals before they take the stage on Monday and wrap up the BU Players season. A full breakdown of the team is below:

A breakdown of the residency team via Plays in Bloom Program Draft

Questions about the residency? Contact Professor David A. Miller, Artistic Director: Plays in Bloom.