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Central Works 27th Season Continues with the Rolling World Premiere of WINTER  (Download PDF)

Central Works presents the Rolling World Premiere of WINTER by Julie Jensen. A searing, compassionate, and often very funny examination of the end of life—and the unconventional path one woman takes to get there, WINTER opens with a press night on Saturday July 15, 2017 at 8:00 pm (Previews July 13 &14), and runs through August 13 at the historic Berkeley City Club. Nationally acclaimed playwright Julie Jensen explores one of the most controversial topics in America. A beautiful, empowering story, WINTER is about a woman whose once-brilliant mind is now diminishing. Her decline is troubling not only to herself, but to her family, who each have different ideas about what’s right for her. Meanwhile she’s ready to take matters into her own hands. WINTER, a thought-provoking look at our right to die, is inspired by “ROBECK,” in ENDING LIFE: ETHICS & THE WAY WE DIE by Margaret Pabst Battin © 2005 Oxford University Press. Directed by Gary Graves, the production features a cast that includes Steve Budd, Julie Kuwabara, John Patrick Moore*, Phoebe Moyer* and Randall Nakano* (*members AEA).

Playwright Julie Jensen has long been interested in this topic and took inspiration from Margaret Pabst Battin’s short story “ROBECK.” Battin, a renowned bioethicist, has written numerous essays, short stories and books on the ethics of assisted suicide and end-of-life issues. Jensen tells us, “This is a very important subject. I wondered about it when my mother was deep into dementia, and I wonder still as I watch the struggles of others. At what point do we lose dignity or become a burden? And most important of all, how do we know when it’s the right time. As Annis [in WINTER] says, ‘We must leave before the last possible minute, or else we lose the capacity to make it happen.’”

WINTER is produced at Central Works as part of a NNPN Rolling World Premiere. Other partnering theaters are Salt Lake Acting Company (Utah) and Rivendell Theatre Exchange (Illinois). For more information please visit

WINTER by Julie Jensen
July 15–Aug 13 Previews July 13th &14th
A searing, compassionate, and often very funny examination of the end of life
At: The Berkeley City Club, 2315 Durant Avenue, Berkeley.
Performances: Thurs, Fri & Sat at 8 pm, Sun at 5 pm
Ticket prices: $30 online at, $30–$15 sliding scale at the door.
Previews and Thursdays are pay-what-you-can at the door.
Tickets: 510.558.1381 or

Julie Jensen (playwright) has been writing plays for over 30 years. She has won a dozen awards, among them The Joseph Jefferson Award in Chicago for best new work, the LA Weekly Award for best new play, and The David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award. She has been commissioned by a dozen theatres including Kennedy Center (twice) and Actors Theatre of Louisville (twice) and Salt Lake Acting Company (twice). She has received grants from NEA, TCG, Pew Charitable Trusts, among others. Her work has been produced in NYC, London, and theatres nationwide, from Arizona to Alaska, from Michigan to Massachusetts, California to Connecticut. Her work is published by Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing, and Smith and Krause. She has taught playwriting at five universities, directed a graduate playwriting program, and has written a book on the craft. She is currently the Resident Playwright at Salt Lake Acting Company, board member of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre, and the Regional Representative of the Dramatists Guild of America. Her play Mockingbird, recently nominated for a Helen Hayes Award, will be produced by six professional theatres this season.

Gary Graves (director) has been a resident playwright and company co-director at Central Works since 1998. He has been a part of developing 55 world premiere productions with the company, many of which he has either written and/or directed. Some of the other productions he has directed for the company include Years in the Hundreds, Edward King, Into the Beautiful North, Hearts of Palm, Enemies: Foreign and Domestic, Machiavelli’s The Prince, Lola Montez, Enemy Combatant, The Mysterious Mr. Looney, Misanthrope, Mata Hari, and Pyrate Story. He directed the company’s first collaboratively developed script, Roux, at the City Club in 1997. He also leads the Central Works Playwriting Program, and he teaches playwriting regularly at the Berkeley Rep School of Theater.

Steve Budd (actor) is an actor, writer, storyteller, standup comic, and solo performer. He’s acted with numerous Bay Area companies, including the San Francisco Playhouse, Symmetry, Impact, New Conservatory, Custom Made, and Marin Shakespeare. He’s appeared as a solo performer and storyteller at The Marsh, TMI, Solo Sundays, Tell It On Tuesday, and the Mill Valley Public Library. His solo show What They Said About Love won “Best of the 2016 San Francisco Fringe Festival.” He’s thrilled to be making his Central Works debut.

Julie Kuwabara (actor) has been acting in the SF Bay Area for the past 7 years. Her recent credits include Dogeaters (Magic Theatre), Hedda Gabler (Bindlestiff Studio) and Troilus and Cressida (Impact Theatre). Julie is a member of an all-Asian American female improv group Granny Cart Gangstas, which recently performed at the San Francisco SketchFest. In addition, she continues to volunteer, facilitate and mentor new and emerging artists at Bindlestiff Studio as a resident artist.

John Patrick Moore (actor) is thrilled to be involved with Winter. As an Artistic Associate with Central Works, he has directed or acted in over 13 world premieres including: Edward King, Hearts of Palm, Project Ahab, The Red Virgin, Richard the First, Reduction in Force, Midsummer/4, Shadow Crossing and The Duel. John’s NY credits include: Emma the Musical (NYMF), Edward III (Hope Theatre), Richard II and As You Like It (Expanded Art’s Free Shakespeare in the Park(ing) Lot). In the Bay Area, he has worked with Marin Theatre Company, The Magic Theatre, 42nd Street Moon, CenterRep, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Alter Theater and SF Playground. Member of Actors Equity Association.

Phoebe Moyer (actor) is delighted to return to Central Works after playing another resourceful senior citizen in Recipe (2014). A proud member of AEA since 2000, Phoebe is a freelance director, voice-over talent, and acting coach. A winner of many Dean Goodman Choice Awards and Bay Area Theatre Critic Circle Awards she has performed at TheatreWorks, PCPA TheatreFest, the Aurora, A.C.T., Marin Shakespeare, CenterREP, Sierra Rep, San Jose Rep, Woodminster Summer Musicals, Cap Stage, Jewel Theatre, California Conservatory Theatre, SF Playhouse, Pacific Alliance, Willows Theatre, Actors Theatre of Sonoma, Playhouse West, and many others.

Randall Nakano (actor) performed in Central Work’s The Crazed, adapted by Sally Dawidoff, from the novel by Ha Jin. Last S.F. Opera season, he played “The Monk/Dreamer” in the world premiere of Dream of the Red Chamber, music by Bright Sheng, libretto by Tony Award-winner David Henry Hwang, directed by Stan Lai. Also in 2016, Randy was in the world premiere of Valley of the Heart, written and directed by the legendary Luis Valdez, recipient of the Presidential Medal of Art and founder of the renowned El Teatro Campesino. Nakano has been an actor at San Jose Stage Company, Aurora, Magic, and TheatreWorks/Silicon Valley.

National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country’s alliance of non-profit professional theaters dedicated to the development, production, and continued life of new plays. Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has supported more than 200 productions nationwide through its innovative National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere program, which provides playwright and production support for new works. NNPN’s programming allows its members and their affiliated artists to create, grow, and share new work across the country and around the world, and it strives to pioneer, implement, and disseminate ideas and programs that revolutionize the way theaters collaborate to support new plays and playwrights. Its most recent project, The New Play Exchange (, is already changing the way playwrights contact share their work and others discover it:

For over 25 years Central Works has filled a special niche for theater artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. Producing more new plays by local playwrights than any other company in the region. “The New Play Theater” utilizes three basic strategies: some are products of the Central Works Method, some are developed in the Central Works Writers Workshop, and some come to the company fully developed as with WINTER by Julie Jensen.

Central Works Method plays bring together writer, actors and director at the very outset of the playwriting process. In a supportive workshop environment, group research and collective brainstorming contribute to the entire development of the script.

The Central Works Writers Workshop is an ongoing commissioning program established in 2012. Twice a year, in 12-week sessions, 8 local playwrights are selected to develop projects through informal readings and carefully directed discussions. For more information, visit our website: