Lauren M. Gunderson is the Playwright-in-Residence at Marian Theater Company through the National Playwright Residency Program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Find out more about her residency experience here, and learn about the impact of the program at large here

I consider a large part of my National Playwright Residency Program residency at Marin Theatre Company to be the continual asking and answering of this question: Why theatre?

This series of videos will be a collection of asking and answering that question in myriad ways. I will ask myself, my fellow theatre artists, social scientists, and community leaders.  Sometimes the answer will be cultural (because art is good for you!), sometimes technical (because story has universal dramatic structure!), sometimes biological (because narrative is an ancient element of our human evolution!). I believe that it is the energetic and open asking and answering that keeps our art form relevant, responsive, and inspired. 

The first video is a playwriting class on dialogue that I led at Marin in March 2017 that asks "Why Theatre?" to myself and roomful of playwrights aiming to make great new plays. This explores a technical answer to our question through playwriting technique and conversation. 

Video editing by Jeff Berlin.