At PIC we aim to change...
the landscape of new play development by eliminating the traditional gatekeepers and letting the playwright spearhead their vision with the support of our collective of theater makers.
Rachel F. Hirsch and Sarah Marcus first met in 2015 and quickly bonded over their shared experience as Equity-actor-Brooklyn-to-Northampton transplants raising young kids. Over the years, they had many conversations about their passion for new plays and desire for more local opportunities for paid professional theater. Years of navigating the artistic landscape as parents of growing families also fueled Rachel and Sarah to seek parent-friendly work environments.
Over the next four years, the pair explored and implemented various ways of gathering artists together that made space for these needs and desires. Rachel and Sarah found that, much like parenting, a creative endeavor requires loads of time, patience, and trial and error.
Eventually, in the summer of 2019, the first iteration of PIC took place. Under the name Play Reading Co-Op, a group of local actors gathered for an informal table read of Darcy Parker Bruce’s The Place That Made You at Northampton’s Forbes Library. Right out of the gate, it became clear that theater artists in Western Mass were hungry to explore more new plays and be a part of their development. The Play Reading Co-op continued to read new plays monthly in the fall/winter of 2019/2020 at the Upstairs Studio in Northampton’s Fitzwilly’s Building.
Starting in March 2020, we pivoted to Zoom with the rest of the world where our cohort of artists developed a group submission evaluation process in addition to continuing the tradition of reading and discussing new works with the playwright. After months of working in this way, it became clear that the group had tapped into something special as a collective and organically began tearing down the traditional play development process. PIC was born.