Aleta Barthell is a playwright/screenwriter/teacher. Aleta is the recipient of a grant from California Humanities for a project called SAVING STORIES: A Toolkit in the Age of Covid-19. Her play, WINDOW OF SHAME, was a finalist for the 2021 National Playwrights Conference at the O’Neill Center. The same play was also a finalist for the 2016 HUMANITAS/CTG Playwriting Prize. Her play, NIGHT WITCHES: Flight into Fantasy, was a part of the New Village Arts Theatre’s “2019 Final Draft Festival.”
Aleta is currently developing a television series about the 12th century queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, for which she received a grant to study source material in Paris through the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Aleta is a teaching artist with Playwrights Project and founder of the youth theater education program, Kids Act, at New Village Arts Theatre.
She holds a Bachelor in Science from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and has trained at British American Drama Academy (Oxford, England); and Shakespeare and Company (Lenox, MA). She studied playwriting and screenwriting at UCSD.
Aleta serves as an Ambassador for the Dramatists Guild in San Diego.
WEBSITE AND SOCIAL MEDIA
MORE ABOUT ME
I have to say that the last project that I worked on, SAVING STORIES, has felt like an endeavor where I “met the moment” of our time through my work. I received a grant from California Humanities to interview individuals isolated in assisted and skilled nursing facilities during the pandemic. I was able to hire four other writers to do the work with me. The writers created a monologue based on those interviews. We had professional actors perform the pieces virtually via Zoom and we shared them through New Village Arts Theatre's Virtual Arts Program.
A member of our team had been a hospital chaplain for years. He talked about the significance of allowing someone to voice the meaning of their life through this process. This is indeed what happened. We had a Black woman with dementia who was able to talk about her life and family's struggle during the Civil Rights Movement with absolute clarity. We had a woman who thanked us for bringing her story to life and told us that many people in her facility treated her with more respect having learned about her life and accomplishments. I also had a writer turn in her finished monologue to me on a Tuesday, and we learned that following Wednesday that her storytelling partner had died. The family was so grateful to have that memory of their mother and grandmother.
We all felt so honored to have these storytellers share themselves with us in this project. It also provided such a meaningful way for various artists to use their talents to connect with their community during this time.
WHAT I'M WORKING ON
I've been commissioned to write a play, a comedy, for eight actors over the age of 60 and it's an absolute blast! I'm calling it THE DOWAGERS.
Political, Supernatural, Historical, Pandemic, Fable/folktales, Young Audiences, Horror
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