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About The Ground Floor

The Ground Floor is the program that encompasses Berkeley Rep’s new work development activities.

Over the years, as we’ve increased the amount of new work we develop, it became clear to us that the regional theatre is very good at rehearsing and producing plays that have been done before and whose scripts are relatively set and fixed. But it is not set up well to foster the creation of a new piece of theatre from the ground up. No two projects require the same things, and the system we have now tries to shoehorn every process into the same structure. The Ground Floor aims to address this through a year-long series of commissions, workshops, and a concentrated Summer Residency Lab. We hope to incorporate a level of flexibility rarely allowed in an institutional theatre setting.

We emphasize process over product. We provide resources for artists to respond to the modern and changing world, promote cross-pollination among artists and place high value on face-to-face contact. We celebrate language in its broadest terms and define it as more than just the spoken word: we will use our theatrical medium to explore language in all its forms.

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The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work seeks to enhance and expand the processes by which Berkeley Rep makes theatre. We strive to offer the most flexible environment possible for artists to come together and share ideas in person, to receive customized support on each individual project and to work together across disciplines. We will maintain an ongoing conversation with our audience and community about the work we are creating, and we will champion the spirit of innovation so inherent to Berkeley and the Bay Area.



Madeleine Oldham | DIRECTOR

Madeleine is the director of The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep’s Center for the Creation and Development of New Work and the Theatre’s resident dramaturg. She oversees commissioning and new play development, and dramaturged the world premiere productions of Fairview, Aubergine, The House that will not Stand, Passing Strange, and In the Next Room (or the vibrator play), among others. As literary manager and associate dramaturg at Center Stage in Baltimore, she produced the First Look reading series and headed up its young audience initiative. Before moving to Baltimore, she was the literary manager at Seattle Children’s Theatre, where she oversaw an extensive commissioning program. She also acted as assistant and interim literary manager at Intiman Theatre in Seattle. Madeleine served for four years on the executive committee of Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and has also worked with ACT (Seattle), Austin Scriptworks, Crowded Fire, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, the Kennedy Center, New Dramatists, Playwrights Center, and Portland Center Stage.


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Special thanks

The Ground Floor is supported by Louise Gund and Frances Hellman & Warren Breslau, with additional funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Tournesol Project, and Bank of America.

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