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Hibernian Hall hosts second annual playwriting workshop

Celina Colby
Celina Colby
Celina Colby is an arts and travel reporter with a fondness for Russian novels.... VIEW BIO
Hibernian Hall hosts second annual playwriting workshop
Playwright and poet Jecenia Figueroa led the second annual Hibernian Hall Play Writing LAB. COURTESY PHOTO

Last week, Hibernian Hall concluded its second annual Play Writing LAB with a virtual showcase of work by up-and-coming playwrights in the area. Funded in part by a $2,500 grant from the Mass Cultural Council through its Cultural Investment Portfolio Projects program, the showcase allowed local playwrights to create and foster their work in an inclusive space. The playwriting program, dubbed HHTC2, is presented along with TC Squared Theatre Company.

“To be a part of the HHTC2 Play Writing LAB was truly gratifying. I was able to work with a multi-talented group of artists, some of whom were completely new to playwriting,” says Jecenia Figueroa, a Puerto Rican playwright, poet, and author born in Boston who led the LAB. “What a humbling experience to be able to welcome them into the magical world of theater.”

As Boston theater just begins to get its in-person legs again, the LAB was a fortifying tool for the performing arts community. Eight applicants were chosen from a diverse 32-person pool of multidimensional artists. With the support of TC Squared Theatre Company (TC2), each playwright was able to work with a director and actors to bring their plays to life. For six weeks, the playwrights would log online Thursday nights to share their work, receive feedback and discuss it with the rest of the LAB participants.

“The Spring Play LAB at Hibernian Hall flew by, and as always, when writers gather, the conversation was amazing and generous,” says Martha Kingsbury, an author and playwriting instructor at TC2. “The plays grew, the playwrights grew stronger with their craft, and once again, my dreams were full of scenes and characters I had never before imagined.”

The playwriting program joins a robust roster of events coordinated at Hibernian Hall through the Madison Park Development Corporation. The next artistic training event will be a six-week short film and podcast workshop beginning on July 13 and open to young people and adults ages 14-21.

The diversification of the Boston theater scene has accelerated with the energy and awareness of the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, and programs like HHTC2 prime artists of color to take over the industry in a big way.

“It’s especially heartening to see these funds being used in our community to support a storied institution like Hibernian Hall to fund the playwriting lab,” says state Rep. Jon Santiago. “Now is the time to be investing in our arts and culture, and I am grateful to the folks at Hibernian Hall for making that a reality.”

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