Margot Manburg is a dramaturg and director dedicated to new works and Theatre for Young Audiences. A California native, Margot relocated to Washington, D.C .last year. Fittingly, Washington D.C. is where she got her start in new works. In 2011, she was named the National Runner-Up in Dramaturgy at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and received a fellowship as one of six inaugural dramaturgy fellows at the Kennedy Center’s first annual New Play Dramaturgy Intensive. From there, she developed her skills during back-to-back internships in the literary departments of Marin Theatre Company in Mill Valley, California and Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia. 

After her internships, Margot freelanced across the San Francisco Bay Area. Favorite Bay Area credits include assistant-directing the world premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s I and You (Marin Theatre Company), directing the world premiere of Matthew Crawley’s The Mice Will Play (Left Coast Theatre Company), and dramaturging the world premiere adaptation of Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee, the Musical (Bay Area Children’s Theatre). Her production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole (Benicia Old Town Theatre Group) won her the 2013 Solano County Arty awards for Best Direction of an Adult Drama and Outstanding Dramatic Production. Residential positions include her tenure as the Literary Manager at Playwrights Foundation for the 2013-2014 season, during which she led the 37th annual Bay Area Playwrights Festival selection committee, and as Resident Dramaturg for Alter Theater’s 2015 Playwrights Lab.

Committed to making theatre arts accessible for all ages, Margot has adjudicated the San Francisco Unified School District Performing Arts Competition, dramaturged two school tour productions for Bay Area Children’s Theatre, and taught an introduction to playwriting class for middle school-aged students at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She has facilitated audience talkbacks for audiences of all ages, including student and senior matinees. In ongoing dedication to new plays, Margot has served as a volunteer script reader for the Magic Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, and the New Harmony Project, and currently serves as a volunteer script reader for the DMV’s own Source Festival, WSC Avant Bard, and various Kennedy Center playwriting awards.

Since moving to D.C., Margot has had the honor of reviewing for the 2015 Capitol Fringe Festival, directing Georgette Kelly’s Ballast for the 2016 Source Festival, dramaturging James Still’s Miranda for WSC Avant Bard, and dramaturging Dayna Smith’s The Weathergirl at the Kennedy Center’s first annual  Undergraduate Playwrights’ Workshop. Margot holds a B.A. in Anthropology, Theatre Arts minor from Sonoma State University. 

Between June 15th and July 31st, when the submission window closed, we received well over 100 scripts from playwrights all around the country. FABUM will produce 5 plays this December for our "A Strong Woman: 1Night/5Plays" festival, which will be announced in the coming weeks. Currently, we are pleased to announce 20 semi-finalists whose dynamic scripts made the first cut! They are:

Angela is about to close and discontinue her Italian restaurant when Amelia arrives, in search of a good meal and a taste of home. 

In the 1920's, burgeoning writer Pearl, moves towards acclaim ahead of her male colleagues. 

When George calls customer support about his TV package, Suzanne gives him more of a reality check than support. 

Three retirees, Janet, Nora, and Carol, test the freedom of being "innocent little old ladies" by stealing candy and encouraging each other to do what they want to do with their lives. 

Zahia navigates between traditions and radical change as she comes of age in Egypt during its battle for independence from British colonialism.. 

In the aftermath of a devastating tornado, Wallis, an eager first time EMT, finds Crisco trapped in the rubble of his house. Can her skills save him and redeem herself? 

A young man tries to scam Grandma into giving him an exorbitant amount of money but her senility sends him in circles. 

After searching across the country for her mother, Cherry crashes her father's house to force him to talk about her estranged mother. Paul wants to Cherry to be just like her mother but Cherry wants to be everything her mother wasn't. 

Kayana, a one-person town, is courted by presidential candidates for her tie-breaking vote. Will one of the candidates win her vote and the presidency before a rising flood washes them away? 

Peggy, a math teacher, encourages her students to explore mathematical equations and gradually starts teaching solutions to real life problems instead. 

On the eve of Dena's seventeenth birthday, Dena and her mother Cass clash over what adulthood and maturity really mean. 

High school senior Raven interviews Mary, a Sudanese refugee. As Raven asks probing questions about Mary's past, Mary tries to keep the interview superficial to hide the strife her mother Nyamal went through during the Sudanese civil war. 

While on a train, Mary, a foremost Emily Dickinson scholar, reveals the truth behind the poetry of a famous, recently deceased poet whose work is worshipped by Elizabeth, a fellow passenger and scholar. 

Dolly Parton uses tough love and a little flirtation to remind a drunk and depressed Kenny Rogers of how glamorous their lives are and how hard they worked to get there. 

On Victory in Japan Day, 1945, veteran Glenn grabs Edith, a nurse, and kisses her while Eisenstadt photographs the iconic moment. Edith protests, and challenges the men about the propriety of their actions and about what makes art. 

When Lisa's nude portrait of her friend Claire goes on exhibition, Lisa worries about her career and Claire worries about the reception of her aging body. As they await the art critic, Claire's confidence soars during a conversation with a passerby who praises more than just her body. 

With the help of her daughter Sarah, Alice cleans out her home so she can move across country now that her husband is dead. When Sarah discovers an old photograph of Alice, she learns what Alice gave up to give her a "normal" life. 

Mina, a teenager with a report due the next day, is awoken in the middle of the night by the subject of her report: the ghost of Elizabeth Bathory. Elizabeth went down in history as a murderous psychopath and now she wants to set the record straight. 

Sunny, Frankie, Maggie and Ziggie are Women Airforce Service Pilots during WWII. When they overlap in the mess hall, they swap stories about the discrimination they've faced and how they've adapted Army regulations to fit their needs as women pilots. Based on historical events. 

Pamela has felt distant from her husband Sheridan for a few years now. When she learns he's been sneaking around to write a play, she likens the preoccupied time to an extramarital affair and reveals a secret of her own. 
PictureMichael Riedel talking with students
Michael Riedel is the theater columnist for the New York Post, and co-host of the weekly talk show Theater Talk on PBS. His recently published book, RAZZLE DAZZLE: The Battle for Broadway, has been praised by The Washington Post, New York Times and others for pulling back the curtain on the fascinating, sometimes gritty and controversial behind-the-scenes world of one of the most famous entertainment empires ever - Broadway. 
Vanity Fair has said of him:
"Half of Broadway hates him. The other half leaks to him." 
And described him as the "assassin of Broadway".

Riedel visited DC's School Without Walls High School with FABUM artistic director Jameson Freeman on Friday, May 20th, and shared some amazing stories stories from his personal and professional journeys with a large and enthusiastic group of students. He spoke about the connection between creativity and personal growth, the importance of passion, as well as some inside scoops about a few of Broadway's biggest productions and personalities. The thoughtful questions from students kept coming until the school day ended. 

School Without Walls is unique in that its student body has young people from all eight of DC's Wards. 

Riedel was in Washington, DC to receive the Marfield Prize/National Award for Arts Writing from the Arts Club of Washington. FABUM coordinated with Sass Brown, administrator of the award, to bring Riedel to the DC public charter school before he returned to New York City.

RAZZLE DAZZLE is a vivid biography of Broadway itself, full of larger-than-life characters. It begins with the inimitable story of the three Shubert brothers, theatre moguls who had a presence across the country and by the start of the Depression owned and operated some of New York’s most important and prestigious theatres. But by the 1970s, Times Square had become the seedy symbol of the city’s decline, and the Shubert Organization found itself losing money and business as tourism fell off and theaters were demolished to make room for parking lots. Bernard Jacobs and Jerry Schoenfeld, two ambitious board members, saw the crumbling company was ripe for takeover and staged a coup. While battling corporate intrigue, personal betrayals, and criminal investigations, Jacobs and Schoenfeld managed to solidify their power and turned collapsed theater-owning holding company into one of the most successful entertainment empires in the world. They went on to revitalize Times Square, change the face of New York City, and produce many of Broadway’s most iconic productions, including A Chorus Line, Cats, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, and Mamma Mia!

In RAZZLE DAZZLEthe drama on stage is often overshadowed by the intrigues behind the scenes. Drawing on extensive interviews and research, Riedel has created a comprehensive insider’s look like no other, examining influential figures and Broadway legends such as Michael Bennett, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Hal Prince, Frank Rich, and more while exposing bitter rivalries, unlikely alliances, and—of course—scintillating gossip. This is a great story, told with wit and passion as only Broadway’s most respected (and feared) commentator could. 

Pictures from the afternoon:

On Tuesday, March 17th, Members of FABUM's Board of Directors as well as parents and friends gathered at the Arts Club of Washington for a retrospective on Youth Program FABUM's last year...and to honor interns Zawadi Carroll and Liz Williams on their recent college admittance, upcoming high school graduation...and their FULL college scholarships! 

Both Zawadi and Liz have been working with FABUM as interns as well as volunteering for community service hours. They have been part of several major projects, including the world premiere of the performance work See You See in December of 2014.

Zawadi has been with FABUM since the beginning of 2014, and Liz joined up with us during the summer.

We will miss them when they go, but this is not good-bye...it is good luck! 

PictureFABUM youth associate Zawadi Carroll with Tanya Williams Wetenhall
When we asked new FABUM Associate Zawadi Carroll what aspect of artistic expression interests her most, she had to think about... So we rephrased the question: 'What art form interests you now?' She responded with fashion and design. As the first installment of the "Professionals in the Arts" component of Youth Program FABUM for 2014, we introduced Zawadi to the remarkable Tanya Wetehall.

Tanya Williams Wetenhall’s career spans the performing arts, costume studies, museums, and diplomacy. She has managed US tours of foreign dance companies, as well as individual artists touring Europe; directed fashion shows; worked as a cultural liaison for special interest groups visiting Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe; and was a Specialist for the government of The United States at the US embassies in Moscow and Rome. Her recent projects include researching and designing museum exhibitions pertaining to costume history, design and the performing arts, in the US and abroad, as well as consulting for museums. Wetenhall holds an M.A. in Fashion and Textile Studies from the Fashion Institute of Technology (SUNY) and has taught in FIT's graduate program and in the graduate costume studies program at New York University. She has developed and taught courses on period styles, the history of the performing and visual arts of Russia, ballet history, and has lectured and written on elements of Russian costume.

Zawadi: On Wednesday, February 26th I got to sit down with the amazing Tanya Wetenhall and have a coffee chat about her life and career. From the get go Mrs. Wetenhall was extremely open and friendly, she was bursting with energy and ready to share. We started all the way back at one of her first real fashion jobs with a major designer in the industry at the time. She said they hired her because of how fast she could find her pen and notepad in her purse, showing how organized she is. From this experience she taught me that fashion is a very judgmental industry. Nothing goes overlooked.

Ms. Wetenhall also shared her experiences with travel. Some of the places she has traveled include London, Russia, Paris, and Italy. She shared how each place had a distinct sense of fashion, which was a direct reflection of their culture. I was not aware how diplomatic that not just fashion, but also the arts was globally. When art is showcased for one nation to another it can be very political. From her I learned, that especially in this generation a culture will appeal to or mock other cultures rather than showcasing their own, this is largely due to the shipping of the manufacturing of goods overseas, as well as the Internet and is why we now see universal trends.

But no matter how new these trends may seem, Ms. Wetenhall being a teacher of Fashion History at GWU, shared that fashion always repeats itself. Sometimes without even knowing it we are reflecting and recycling styles from the past. I asked her for advice for a young person, like myself, interested in fashion. Some major points were to study classical art by going to museums and understanding major art styles. By building a visual database I could immediately see where a work of fashion may have gotten its influence from, and be aware of my inspirations. She also stressed the importance of knowing textiles and understanding the way the industry worked. One might have to start small, like she did as an assistant and work their way up as she did to achieve all that she has today!

FABUM associate artistic director Nichola Hays and youth associate Zawadi Carroll listening to Tanya Wetenhall answer questions about the luminaries she's worked with, her travels, and her thoughts on fashion, culture and the role of arts in diplomacy.
Jameson Freeman and Nichola Hays hosted a wonderful group of bright and talented young students as well as board members, volunteers and mentors from First Star on Saturday, December 7th at The Arts Club of Washington. The students were given a private tour of the historic building (the former home of President James Monroe), enjoyed a delicious lunch made by the club's executive chef, and engaged in a theatrical workshop. Artistic Director Freeman asked the students to choose a character to play from a list of roles based on a brief description of the character. As each group and each scene then read the characters' lines, more about the characters were revealed, and the entire group then had a discussion about all the roles we embody in our daily lives (sibling, friend, professional), and how those roles adapt and change. Some students then shared original poetry and even an original rapThe , and others sang some of their favorite songs. The FABUM team was incredibly excited to have the opportunity to work and connect with these young people and First Star. As an organization, we look forward to expanding our efforts to promote self-actualization and strength through artistic activities and self-expression. 
As part of Youth Program FABUM, Associates participate in a professional photoshoot when they leave the program in order to supply them with headshots and portfolio pictures. Check out some of the candids from Sunday's shoot with Dented Lens Photography on our Facebook page, as well as some video clips and more. Be sure to Like us!

Go here: FABUM on Facebook


That's a wrap!
What an amazing artistic journey! 

Dream Wedding, FABUM's 2nd Dolce Revolution Project, premiered to sold-out audiences May 30th and June 20th at The Arts Club of Washington! Check out the article in the Washington Post, and stay tuned for our next project! 
Click image to enlarge.
Program Description:
"What is the true process of self-actualization? Do we have to repeat mistakes in order to finally stop making them? How can we have the best relationship with another if we do not yet have a sense of our best self?

Hosted by Morpheus (enigmatic wedding planner and Greek god of the dreamworld) and using the historic Arts Club of Washington as a setting, DREAM WEDDING is a walk-through, immersive theatrical experience that uses character-archetypes from Jungian psychology as well as Eastern mythological symbolism to take the audience (wedding guests) on a journey through a bride's dreamscape...and perhaps our collective unconscious."

The show's Paperless Post 'wedding invitation'
The FABUM Associates receiving applause.
It is a bittersweet time as summer approaches. The two current FABUM Associates, Kelsea Johnson and Eva Meier, are graduating from School Without Walls in June. As they prepare to move onto the next phase in their educational and individual journeys, we wanted to honor them for their contributions over the last year. They have taken part in the organizing and implementing of performances and fundraisers, events and exhibitions. They have met diverse and talented professionals across a spectrum of artistic disciplines. 

You have followed them on this blog, on Facebook and maybe even met them at one of our supercool events. Some of you joined us Thursday afternoon at The Arts Club of Washington to see a showcase of original choreography and dancing talent. Artistic director Jameson Freeman and managing director Lisa Grimes were joined by Heather Pultz of School Without Walls and Nichola Hayes of The Arts Club, as well as past YPF mentor Dana Tai Soon Burgess in presenting the afternoon's program. An end-of-year stipend was awarded following the performance, which was generously sponsored by FABUM Board member Laura Livoy.

This was an opportunity for the two young women to exhibit their own brilliance, as they have assisted with the exhibiting of others' for the last year. They're not leaving yet! We still have The 2nd Dolce Revolution Project to get through, but Thursday was a marvelous, pre-graduation gathering to acknowledge two 'dolce' people.

from the ancient Greek 'techné, meaning mastery of any craft

FABUM held a fundraiser for its Spring 2013 performance season with the launch of Tecnicus Project, an event-based, visual arts and poetry series that will immerse arts-supporters in an evening where "life is art...and art is life"!

Click here to see the pictures from an evening with extraordinary local artists at The Arts Club of Washington!

Artists, arts-supporters, and other marvelous individuals came out to The Arts Club of Washington on Tuesday evening, November 27th, for FABUM's first annual fundraising event featuring visual art and poetry: Tecnicus Project.

Featured individuals included Gabriel Riera, Vice-chairman of FABUM and Co-founder of BuddhaFest, Brooke Seidelmann of Smith Center for Art and Healing, Artists Tati Valle-Riestra, Katharine Heyl (Director of Visual Arts for FABUM), Ella Naj, Kelly Aronoff, Alice Pharr and Jacqueline Vasudeva (Tecnicus Creative Director), as well as our major individual sponsors John Ashford, Jill and Bill Hudock, Mark Peppas, and others.

Many thanks to the Arts Club of Washington, FABUM's Board of Directors, our sponsors, the artists and poets who made this event such a successful one! A percentage of all artwork sold went to Youth Program FABUM, and are grateful for the time and generosity of the featured artists. We were thrilled to see new faces, and encouraged by the wonderful energy and support as we begin putting together our Spring, 2013 performance season!

Click the images below to view the slideshow. Thanks to H'ART SPEAX Photography and Design!