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Los Angeles Playwright to Teach Knoxville Workshop

lisa solandLisa Soland is returning to Knoxville to teach an eight-week playwright intensive starting March 8 in Hardin Valley. Soland is an award-winning playwright from her play, Meet Cute, produced at Pellissippi State College last fall.

Soland has had a varied and noteworthy theatrical history. Ms. Soland appeared opposite Burt Reynolds on his TV show Evening Shade, starred in the musical Anything Goes with singer Helen Reddy, and worked alongside John Wayne's son Patrick in a production of Arsenic and Old Lace. However it was while studying acting with Charles Nelson Reilly at a tiny theatre in North Hollywood where Soland began to write. "She is gorgeously talented," Mr. Reilly said and his encouragement was all she needed. Now, sixty successful plays later, it seems his assessment was correct.

While living in Los Angeles, Soland made her mark; establishing two theatres and producing and/or directing over 80 productions, 55 of which were original. Lisa thrives on the developmental process that a play must go through on its way to the stage. Currently she serves as playwright-in-residence at the Tennessee Repertory Theatre in Nashville. Mentored by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright John Patrick Shanley (Doubt), her play, The Hand on the Plough, along with Shanley's Storefront Church, will be part of the Tennessee Rep's "Ingram New Plays Festival" this June.

"We worked with Shanley for a week straight at the end of January, and it was about as creatively stimulating as it gets in this business," says Soland, still coming down from the heights of the experience. "Mr. Shanley is insightful and generous, and contributed greatly to the development of my play," Lisa remarks. "He uncovers the theme first; the theme he believes the audience will most connect with, and then we go from there."

Soland's first play, The Name Game, was produced at The Tamarind Theatre in Hollywood and starred Richard Hatch (of Battlestar Galactica). Samuel French, Inc. quickly picked it up – and now, years later, Lisa has over thirty publications to her credit, bearing the imprint of such recognizable outfits as French, Smith & Kraus, Applause Books and Dramatic Publishing. Lisa's production company, Rose's Name Game Productions, has been producing original works since 1993, with Soland still at its helm. In addition, she continues to work as Artistic Director and instructor of The All Original Playwright Workshop, helping to inspire countless original play readings and productions across the country.

Soland had the opportunity to return to her alma mater, Florida State University, to head up the MFA Playwriting Program as a guest professor and enjoyed contributing to the lives and knowledge of the new slate of talented playwrights. "They are the future of the American Theatre, even if they contribute to it by attending productions," she said. "We must spend quality time coming alongside of them and encouraging them to be better than us; to explore areas and cover ground creatively that we were not able to do in our lifetimes."

Television writer and producer Steven L. Sears (Xena) said, "Lisa Soland falls into the unique category of someone who not only is a successful playwright, but knows how to convey that knowledge and her experiences to others. For first-time writers and old-timers looking to polish their craft, Lisa is a major find."

To participate in Lisa Soland's playwright workshop, you need only a desire to improve upon your current skill level or simply have the passion to begin.

The playwright workshop will run from March 8 to April 26, Tuesday evenings. For more information, visit the website at

Published February 8, 2011

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