Tag Archives: ANPF

ANPF board member knows his Pulitzers

As of July 1, James “Jim” Risser and his fellow Ashland New Plays Festival board members are accepting new plays for ANPF’s 2019 Fall Festival. Risser, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner in National Reporting, served as director of the John S. Knight Fellowships for Professional Journalists and Director of the Graduate Program in Journalism at Stanford University, and on the Pulitzer Prize Board for 10 years in the 1990s. He also played a key role in the selection of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer-winning play “Angels in America.”

EH: What newspaper articles brought you the Pulitzer Prize?

JR: You could call it investigative reporting: stories that exposed corruption in the U.S. grain exporting industry, where people were paying bribes to federal inspectors. As a result, Congress changed the grain inspection laws. Some people went to prison. Some companies paid fines.

The second prize was for a series of articles explaining the kinds of environmental damage that agriculture does: Things like soil erosion, overuse of chemicals, and depletion of water supplies. A lot of land that shouldn’t be plowed or farmed was being used because of the pressure to produce products. Modern agriculture is a great industry but it can sometimes have a huge impact on the environment.

EH: What happened as a result of those articles?

JR: There were Congressional hearings. They passed some new regulations about what lands could be farmed or not farmed. Continue reading ANPF board member knows his Pulitzers

Backstage: What makes a good play?

James Pagliasotti

James Pagliasotti, president of the Ashland New Plays Festival Board of Directors, recently served as board vice president of the Schneider Museum of Art. Before moving to Ashland, Pagliasotti served as a trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, Colorado. We chatted over coffee at The Growler Guys in Ashland.

EH: What makes a good play?

JP: Like all art, you want something that generates reaction in people; you want something that touches them, for better or for worse. The first thing that I look for is something that people find emotionally or intellectually compelling. I think a bad play is one that people are bored with. If it generates a response, I think it has done its job. Continue reading Backstage: What makes a good play?

Doug Rowe

Doug Rowe
Doug Rowe

Doug Rowe became the new artistic director of the Ashland New Plays Festival this year. The festival held a fundraiser at the Camelot Theatre, a reading of David Rambo’s “God’s Man in Texas” by Rowe, Bill Langan and Jamie Newcomb. It also reassembled the original cast of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s legendary production of “Death of a Salesman” for a dramatic reading and tribute at OSF’s Black Swan Theater.

In 2010, John Stadelman, Lenny Neimark, Carolyn Shaffer and David Salsa directed four original scripts selected from more than 200 play submissions. Over coffee at Bloomsbury Coffeehouse, Rowe spoke enthusiastically about ANPF’s mission.

DR: All of our lives, those of us who are in the business, owe everything to the writers. It’s their ideas, their words that we are putting in front of us. That we can now do something in return is fabulous. I would really like to see some local playwrights get involved big-time with it as well. We are working toward that end. We’re really trying to find a venue that is suitable.

Continue reading Doug Rowe

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