Meet the Playwright: Anna Denise Millard

Anna Denise Millard (left) wrote the play we’ll be reading tonight, What My Mother Told Me.

Tell us a little about yourself.
After graduating from Emory University with a degree in Playwriting, I have spent the first few years of my career working in publishing in New York City, as an Assistant Editor with Oxford University Press and the Speakers Bureau Director for the Hachette Book Group. I’ve recently decided to shift paths, starting a new journey focused on pursuing artistic endeavors and working in hospitality. I live in Bushwick, Brooklyn where I collaborate on podcasts, help produce low-budget webseries(es?), guest write for blogs, give bad advice over mezcal, and am on a first-name basis with three different Halal cart guys.

Please share in your own words a little about the play we’ll be seeing.
What My Mother Told Me is a play I wrote about three years ago at the end of my time at Emory. I have been wanting to revisit it and make some substantial changes for a while now, so this reading comes at a great time!

What inspired you to write this play?
A lot of what inspired me to write this play was my own experiences growing up in Nashville, Tennessee and observing generations of women whose lives were deeply affected on every level by their ideas about womanhood, gender, and sexuality. Growing up, I felt women were so shaped by the things they couldn’t talk about.

What is the importance of staged readings in your own creative process and the development of your play?
I think readings are absolutely critical to the development of any play. Writing can be such an isolating experience, but theater is a completely collaborative art. Readings are where the intellectual work of putting ideas into words and the physical work of creating a performance–turning those words into theater–collide.

What do you hope to get out of this Bare Essentials reading process?
I put this play aside for a few years; I knew there were elements I was unsatisfied with but was too close to the project to be able to really dig in and make changes. Now that there has been some breathing room, this reading is a perfect chance to revisit and get fresh perspective on how to move forward!

What has your experience with this reading been so far?
Since I live in New York, we’ve been working together remotely and mostly over email. Since I haven’t been to any rehearsals most of the details are going to be a surprise! I’m excited.

Where else can we see your work, either recently, currently or in the near future?
Right now I’m in the process of launching a website for a podcast and short film I’m producing as tangent projects …. unfortunately the details of the site’s domain are still in the works but please reach out directly for more information!

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What My Mother Told Me, by Anna Denise Millard, will be read tonight at 7:30pm at the West End Performing Arts Center, 945 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. Featuring: Lane Carlock, John Benzinger, Brooke Owens, Annie Cook, Allan Edwards, Tad Cameron, Kristin Butler and Kyra Cohen. Directed by Anna G. Richardson

As always, the reading is free and open to the public.
Discussion with the playwright will follow the reading.

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