Press Room

Boston Public Library Announces Playwright in Residence Program

by rlavery

John J King of Fresh Ink Theatre to develop a play using BPL collections

Boston Public Library announces today its first playwright in residence, John J King, in collaboration with Fresh Ink Theatre Company, a venture in which King will utilize the library’s collections and resources to develop and workshop a new play commissioned by Fresh Ink, with various opportunities for the public to observe and participate in the play’s creation. A public reading of the play will take place in spring 2018.

“The Playwright in Residence program was created to strengthen Boston Public Library’s role in the arts community and enliven the library spaces with creative works that can be enjoyed by library users, visitors, and arts appreciators alike,” said Michael Colford, Director of Library Services for the Boston Public Library.  “We greatly look forward to collaborating with John J King and Fresh Ink to develop an inspiring and entertaining production.”

“This residency perfectly aligns with Fresh Ink’s aim to support local writers, and it also gives a company of our size the resources needed to commission a brand new project,” said Jessie Baxter, Literary Director of Fresh Ink Theatre. “We are eager to develop a piece that focuses on our local community and explores issues that are relevant beyond Boston, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share our mission with a wider audience. John J King is an exciting collaborator and brings so much creativity and vision to this project — we look forward to seeing how his work grows as a result of his time at BPL!”

“I am excited to plunge into environmental issues in a fun, playful way, and I think the Choose Your Own Future model is a perfect fit,” said John J King. “We have our work cut out for us, but we also have an opportunity to make the world and our city a more lovely and balanced place; one that contributes to a positive and healthy life for all people and all species. I’m hopeful that this play and its development process can be a vehicle for Bostonians to choose our own future. Let’s make it beautiful!”

About the play: Martha’s (b)Rainstorm is a Choose Your Own Future play where YOU decide what Martha does next, and the audience vote determines Martha’s fate – and our own. Fast forward to Boston, 2052: Rising sea levels have turned the city into New England’s own Venice and Bostonians have adapted with duck boats, bike-skis, and other amphibious machines. But the heart of the city remains: the population doubles in September, and the MBTA and the Yankees still suck. While New England is caught in a years-long drought, eco-scientist Martha wants to make it rain, but she will need help from scientists, her neighbors, the sea creatures who now make up part of the city’s population, and from YOU!

John J King is a Boston resident and creates plays, music, and art. Plays includeBlueshift (O’Neill Theatre Center National Playwrights’ Conference Finalist, 2016); From Denmark With Love (IRNE nomination: Best New Play); and an adapted libretto for the German Gothic opera Der Vampyr. His work has been produced locally by Vaquero Playground, SpeakEasy Stage, New Exhibition Room, and Company One Theatre. He is an alum of the Huntington Playwriting Fellows.

Boston Public Library announced a similar artistic collaboration, its inaugural Composer in Residence program with Beau Kenyon, in November 2016, whose work engaged library users in public programs focused on music and performance throughout the library system. In early June, Kenyon held series of “And All the Men and Women Merely Players“ performances at the Central Library, celebrating the culmination of the Library’s Shakespeare initiative, All the City’s a Stage: A Season of Shakespeare at the Boston Public Library.

Boston Public Library has a Central Library, twenty-four branches, map center, business library, and a website filled with digital content and services. Established in 1848, the Boston Public Library has pioneered public library service in America. It was the first large free municipal library in the United States, the first public library to lend books, the first to have a branch library, and the first to have a children’s room. Each year, the Boston Public Library hosts thousands of programs and serves millions of people. All of its programs and exhibitions are free and open to the public. At the Boston Public Library, books are just the beginning. To learn more, visit