Play on Words is a collaborative literary performance series in San Jose that pairs performers with up-and-coming and already established writers, resulting in a live performance. What does that look like, you ask? Check out our 2014 Highlights Reel to get a glimpse of what we do:
Founded in 2013, we have hosted quarterly performances in San Jose and even graced the stages of San Francisco at the 2014 Lit Crawl. We received support from the San Jose Downtown Association, in partnership with The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, for our June and July 2015 shows.
We accept works of fiction, nonfiction, theater and poetry on an ongoing basis. While our aesthetic tends toward the funny, unusual, thought-provoking and absurd, more than anything we want to read work that surprises us and pops off the stage. We cap submissions at 1500 words, though there is some wiggle room with works of theater.
To submit, email an attachment of your work to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use this opportunity to tell us a little bit about yourself and how you see this piece being performed.
During our inaugural season, we produced quarterly shows. In 2015, we received funding to produce a few shows, and in 2016, we took an extended hiatus for maternity leave and graduate school. In 2017 we had our first official theatrical debut with Leading Women, a special show at Redwood City’s Dragon Theatre. We also began our partnership with San Jose’s Flash Fiction Forum to create our first chapbook, Activate, which promoted and performed in 2018. In 2019, we are excited to partner with the San Jose Museum of Art as part of its New Terrains: Mobility and Migration exhibition. Going forward, we hope to partner with local nonprofits and series to offer themed shows that benefit causes close to our heart. If you are interested in partnering with us, we’d love to hear from you.
About Our Founders
Julia Halprin Jackson’s work has appeared in Oracle Fine Arts Review, West Branch Wired, California Northern, Fourteen Hills, and selected anthologies. She has been awarded scholarships from the Tomales Bay Writer’s Workshops, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference and the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, and is a graduate of UC Davis’ master’s in Creative Writing program. Julia contributes to Washington Square, San Jose State University’s alumni magazine, and is at work on a novel set in Spain.
Melinda Marks is a playwright, actor and director who has performed in thefor over 20 years. She holds a BA from UCSC in Theater with an emphasis in dramaturgy, an MA from San Jose State in .
Nicole Hughes is the events manager at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park, and the former director of San Jose State University’s Center for Literary Arts. She completed anin fiction writing from San Jose State University, where she taught composition in the English & Department. Her story “Impasto Portrait” was published in Liebamour. As an MFA student, she was awarded the 2011 Ann Lillis Scholarship and the 2009 and 2011 James Phelan Literary Award. Nicole was instrumental in helping launch Play On Words in 2013 and relocated to Oregon in 2015.
The Play On Words POWer Half Hour with Ryan Alpers
Ryan Alpers, our longtime cast member, social media supporter and partner in all things Play On Words, started producing our podcast in fall 2017. The Play On Words POWer Half Hour features interviews with actors, writers and artists who have participated in Play On Words events, includes snippets from shows, and offers and insider’s view into how a volunteer arts organization is run. You can subscribe, rate and review the show in iTunes or check out individual episodes on SoundCloud.