New Play Development

actor preparing
An actor prepares for a reading.

After completing an MFA in Creative Writing at The American University in 1994, and after teaching creative writing at The Writer's Center for a few years, Richard joined Keith Bridges on a devised project he was creating with actors called Gwendolyn's Ghost. Over the course of the next year Keith pulled together a Board that included Jim Petosa, Artistic Director of Olney Theatre, lawyer and arts supporter Bob Davis, and others to help steer a course for a theatre compamy driven by a mission to develop new plays. Keith and Richard travelled to New London, Connecticut to observe the Eugene O'Neill Center's National Playwrights Conference and to meet with then Artistic Director, Lloyd Richards to explore existing methods of new play development.

Richard put together a multi-layered new play development program for Charter Theatre, that would facilitate the playwright's revision process using readings, development workshops and finally productions. In the summer of 1998, a reception was held at the Writer's Center to introduce Charter Theatre, it's mission, and the developmental process that would begin with Chris Stezin's Hoboken Station. Chris' play was the first Charter reading, held at the Writer's Center on October 2, 1998, followed by workshop presentation of the play, November 13-15. Four other readings were presented in the 1998-99 season, and Charter Theatre produced Hoboken Station in April of 1999 in the Old Vat Room of Arena Stage. In 2004, Charter was identified by American Theatre magazine as one of a dozen young American companies to watch. By then, Charter had already garnered eleven Helen Nominations and three Helen Hayes Awards, including the Charles MacArthur Award for outstanding new play in 2001.

From 1998 to 2009, Richard served as dramaturge, director and playwright at Charter. His responsibilities included working with playwrights in the reading and workshop series, writing up responses to scripts following readings, audience discussions and discussions with company members, and leading some of the audience discussions following readings. The goal was to empower playwrights to revise their plays in preparation for potential production. In addition he directed numerous readings and workshops as part of the Charter deveopment process and he served in the role of dramaturge for most of the twenty-plus productions, working with playwrights, attending rehearsals and providing any script-related services needed.