Telluride Playwrights Festival/Repertory Theatre Co. announce collaboration

Telluride Playwrights Festival/Repertory Theatre Co. announce collaboration

Nick Day & Jennie Franks

This summer, the Telluride Repertory Theatre Company celebrates 20 years of providing staged entertainment to the Telluride community.  As part of their summer celebration, the Rep is teaming up with the Telluride Playwrights Festival (TPF) to produce an exciting staged production of Philip Gerson’s new play “This Isn’t What It Looks Like.”  Nicholas Day of the Telluride Playwrights Festival and Great Britain’s Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theatre Company directs a cast of local talent. The opening is July 15 at Telluride's Palm Theater.

“This Isn’t What It Looks Like” is part of a summer of “Made In Telluride” performing arts, which includes the Telluride Playwrights Festival showcase performances, July 11 and 12, and the Rep's "Shakespeare in the Park"  starting August 18. The Telluride Playwrights Festival and the Telluride Rep look forward to offering a great line-up of summer theatre.

The collaboration was initially conceived by Jennie Franks, artistic director of the Playwrights Festival, and Dylan Brooks, Rep chair. Franks discovered this play amongst the submissions she received for inclusion in her Festival's programming this summer. She was immediately captivated by Gerson’s fresh, inventive writing and sought to find a way to stage the work for the Telluride community. She approached Brooks and the Rep to see if they might be interested in producing “This Isn’t What It Looks Like” as an extension of the Telluride Playwrights Festival.

“We try to create balance by producing edgy, modern plays, in addition to the classic theater for which the Rep is well known,” says Brooks.

Gerson was not a struggling artist before he was discovered by the Telluride Playrwrights Festival. He is a renowned television writer who has created a zany comedy about the struggles of living and loving in modern America.

“This Isn’t What It Looks Like” will be a staged work-in-progress, in keeping with the goals of Playwrights Festival, which seeks to help playwrights transition their new work from the page to the stage. 

Over the years, the Telluride Playwrights Festival has given selected playwrights the opportunity to develop their ideas in an intensive week-long program with professional actors and directors, plus a few local actors. The Playwrights Festival has then presented the plays free to the community in the form of a staged reading followed by an audience discussion. More feedback for the playwright.

 “This collaboration is a natural progression for both organizations”, says Franks, “It  also gives us a chance to further each other’s mission and showcase theatre nurtured in Telluride.”

Franks has deep roots with the Telluride Rep, having written its first Christmas show, “Cinderella in Telluride.” The following year, Nicholas Day directed the Rep’s “A Christmas Story,”

Day, a member of the Advisory Board of Playwrights Festival, has a history of helping to develop new work:  He was in the original cast of Patrick Marber’s hit play “Dealer’s Choice” in  London’s West End.

According to Brooks:

“For 20 years, the Rep has facilitated local amateur actors learning from and working alongside visiting professionals such as Nick Day. We are thrilled to collaborate with the Telluride Playwrights Festival, bringing our fabulous local talent and energy to bear on the professional work of playwright Philip Gerson.”


The Rep & TPF jointly host auditions for “This Isn’t What It Looks Like,” "Shakespeare in the Park" and the Telluride Theatre Festival, June 5 and 6.

The Telluride Playwrights Festival runs from July 5-13. The nonprofit hosts a public discussion on playwrighting in Elks Park on July 8.

Actors, directors, and playwrights will polish two plays during the week. Then on July 11 and 12, the Playwrights Festival presents free public performances  at the Sheridan Opera House

The Rep will present “This Isn’t What it Looks Like” by Philip Gerson at the Palm, July 15-18.

This year's "Shakespeare in the Park" is "The Merchant of Venice." The play, directed by Jeb Berrier, opens August 18, and runs through August 28 on the Town Park stage.
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