Readings: New Plays in Process

Celebrating 15 years and led by Artistic Director Risa Brainin, LAUNCH PAD is nationally recognized for its innovative contribution to new play development. As a creative laboratory for professional playwrights, UCSB theater students and faculty, and guest artists, LAUNCH PAD is collaboration and experimentation at its finest.

Through The BIPOC Reading Series, the Summer Series, and New Play Pop Ups, LAUNCH PAD leads the way for university students to gain the valuable first-hand experience of working alongside professionals, participating in the creative process as it’s happening.

The BIPOC Reading Series Festival
presented by
LAUNCH PAD / AMPLIFY / New and Reimagined Work
in collaboration with
National New Play Network

The BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Reading Series debuted in the 2020-21 season, on April 2 & 3, 2021. Written by professional playwrights chosen from National New Play Network’s Affiliated Artists, six new plays were developed through workshops over 16 hours and presented to the public virtually. The series featured a mix of students, faculty, and professional guest artists, led by professional directors. Many of the 100 participants "zoomed" in from around the world. Each live-streamed play was followed by a Q&A with the cast and crew, providing extra insight into the new play development process for audiences and participants alike.

Summer Reading Series

Each summer, three professional playwrights join the UC Santa Barbara community as artists-in-residence to collaborate with UCSB students enrolled in THTR 146: LAUNCH PAD: New Plays in Process. In this three-week class, playwrights, students, and professional artists come together to workshop new works. Participating as actors, stage managers, dramaturgs, and designers, everyone contributes to the development of the play. From the first moment to the last, the play is in constant evolution: actors receive new pages, new scenes, and sometimes even new characters. Each week’s work culminates in a staged reading for the public.

New Play Pop-Ups

Throughout the year, professional playwrights are invited to “pop in” for a one-time staged reading of their new play. LAUNCH PAD provides a director, actors, and a theater ~ playwrights see their work “up on its feet” and in front of an audience, adding valuable insight to the development process.