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Risa Brainin is a freelance director and Chair of the Department of Theater and Dance at University of California, Santa Barbara. Through her program LAUNCH PAD at UCSB, she has developed and directed eleven plays with the playwright in residence: Sarah Ruhl’s Melancholy Play, John Walch’s The Dinosaur Within, Barbara Lebow’s Plumfield, Iraq and La Niñera: The Nursemaid, Sheri Wilner’s Kingdom CityBiederman’s Match (based on Max Frisch’s Biederman and the Firebugs) by Beau Willimon, music by Michelle DiBucci, lyrics by Portia Kamons, Entangled by Lila Rose Kaplan, Untitled IV by Ruth Markofsky by Alison Tatlock, The Talented Ones by Yussef El Guindi, We Want the Funk, a rustbelt lullaby on the one! by Idris Goodwin, and Appoggiatura by James Still which was workshopped at the Perry Mansfield New Works Festival in 2013 and the Colorado New Play Summit in 2014, and premiered at Denver Center Theatre Company in January, 2015.  AUNCH PAD was featured in American Theatre magazine for its innovation and contribution to new play development.  

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