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Tom Horan: Playwright-in-Residence at Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2013, all rights reserved.

By Lori Raffel
Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre of Indianapolis is proud to have a season-long Playwright-in-Residence, Tom Horan, who started his time at the Phoenix last month. Tom is a writer and sound designer who, in addition to writing during his time in Indianapolis, will be taking an active role in Phoenix productions in 2013-2014 season. “We are proud to have Tom here and excited for the opportunity to work with him on a number of projects during the next year,” says Phoenix Theatre Producing Director Bryan Fonseca.

The National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country’s alliance of nonprofit theatres that champions the development, production and continued life of new plays. One of the most exciting recent initiatives undertaken by NNPN is the Playwrights-in-Residence program, established in 2007 to support playwrights graduating from qualified MFA programs for a season-long residency at an NNPN member theater. Playwrights are nominated annually by member theaters, and those writers selected for the program receive stipends of $11,500 to learn from and engage with NNPN members throughout the year.

Tom Horan

Tom Horan

About Tom Horan

Phoenix Theatre Playwright in Residence Tom Horan is a Writer, Sound Designer and Co-Artistic Director of the Austin-born theater collective The Duplicates. His solo toy theater play, The King and The Clockmaker, received Best-of-Week and Best-of-Fest honors at FronteraFest (Austin) and a subsequent production with Great Small Works (New York City.) He developed his looping ghost story, Static, at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, for a workshop production at the University of Texas at Austin, where Tom received his MFA.

Q and A with Tom Horan

Why is it beneficial to be a playwright in residence – particularly at the Phoenix Theatre?

One of the reasons I write for the theater is my love for community. If I didn’t like to make work with other people I’d write novels. But out of all the roles in theater the playwright can be the most transient. Directors and Actors are more likely to be part of an administrative staff or part of an ensemble. I take the title Playwright-in-Residence to heart – it means I get an artistic home. I get to become acquainted with all the artists and staff and patrons that fill that home with life.

I am particularly honored to have a home here at the Phoenix. The thirty year history of Phoenix productions is littered with playwrights who inspired me to take up the metaphorical pen. Having spent the last four years in Austin, Texas, I’m well aware of the importance and challenge of creating challenging work in a more conservative state.

What do you hope to gain over the next year through this endeavor?

As I have approached this residency and considered all the projects I could take on, one question kept popping in my head: What can I write in Indiana that I couldn’t write anywhere else? I’ve found there are so many ways to answer that question. I hope to engage some of the local communities. I hope to let the talents of other artists inspire me. I’m fascinated by history and have already spent time in the Indiana History section, hoping to find riveting stories.

Did you know Bryan/the Phoenix before? 

I met Bryan and the Phoenix through the National New Play Network. I’ve not met one bad apple in the NNPN bunch and Bryan is no exception. He effortlessly manages the difficult artistic leadership duties of following his own well-honed instincts, while remaining open to the possibilities presented by collaborators.

The role of the Playwright-in-Residence is a rather new, and at times, controversial one. That Bryan has been willing to let The Phoenix be part of this conversation shouldn’t be terribly surprising. We should all feel lucky to have this home that is committed to being forefront of theater and new work.

For more information about the Phoenix Theatre, visit http://phoenixtheatre.org/, or call 317-635-7529.

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