In the summer of 2007, a group of playwrights, actors and directors gathered to solve a problem: How do we develop new plays while also developing as artists?
We studied theater companies across the nation—Steppenwolf to Chicago Dramatists to Playwright’s Horizons to many companies right here in Los Angeles. We made charts and diagrams and talked through different formulas that could create work. We debated the value of what we do in the theater and how we do it. We contemplated a system that would equally serve writers, directors and actors.
After six months of careful planning, Fierce Backbone was launched in January 2008. We are a company dedicated to developing plays and people. The fulcrum of our mission currently rests in our weekly Monday night workshop at ArtWorks Theatre where we develop the work from our writers.
Each play graduates to further levels of development: staged readings, workshop productions, full productions…all with the support and talents of Backbone members leading the way. We guide projects with a supportive “peer-review” process keeping the writer’s vision in mind while supporting with people-power and financial fuel.
Our process takes a play from a first reading through every intermediate step until it is ready for a full production. Our actors receive priority in casting and all opportunities to grow their craft. Backbone takes pride in creating a safe environment for directors to experiment with different approaches on unfamiliar material. We champion the work of all our writers, no matter how experimental or mainstream.
Our structure is such that it evolves as we do. Just like our own artistic development, our process is ever changing and always improving.
As a company, we strive to support the work our membership is inspired to create. We believe some of the very best theater is yet to be discovered. Above all else, we endeavor to collaborate with fierce integrity and a tough backbone.
FOUNDERS: Lori Allen Thomas, Stephen Blackburn, Tom Cook, Morris Nash, Jan O’Connor, Amy Tofte & David Watkins, Jr.