The Examiner

Playwright Returns to P’ville’s Axial Theatre to Help Budding Writers

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Gabrielle Fox, who started on her path to become an award-winning playwright at Pleasantville's Axial Theatre more than a decade ago, returns next week to offer a writing class.
Gabrielle Fox, who started on her path to become an award-winning playwright at Pleasantville’s Axial Theatre more than a decade ago, returns next week to offer a writing class.

Aspiring writers in the region will have the opportunity to get a helping hand from an award-winning playwright at the Axial Theatre in Pleasantville this winter.

Gabrielle Fox will join the faculty of Axial’s playwriting program starting next Wednesday, Jan. 7, when she will offer a free introductory class from 7 to 9 p.m.

Leading the class marks a full circle career move for Fox, who attended a free writing workshop more than a decade ago and was inspired to pursue professional playwriting.

“I just loved it. I’ve been a writer my whole life, but when I walked into the workshop that was it,” Fox said. “I knew playwriting was what I wanted.”

Fox grew up around the theater because her mother was an actress, but her experience studying under Axial’s first literary manager, Tony Howarth, helped her grow as a writer. She recalled how Howarth was enthusiastic about his craft and was able to nurture budding writers while providing feedback and constructive criticism.

“It was just a very, very supportive and nurturing environment, which is kind of what I’m trying to carry on,” Fox said. “I think it’s an important aspect for artists to feel safe and supported and feel free to be able to stumble and fall and make mistakes.”

Since leaving the Axial Theatre playwriting program, Fox has maintained a working relationship with the organization. Axial has produced a few of her pieces and Fox has also maintained a connection with the theater group through her role as director of extension services at Westchester Community College. Her works have been produced throughout the state and, most recently, she was honored with the Planet Activist Award for her play “The Home,” which focused on the aging population and helped raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association.

Fox said the play marked one of her greatest achievements personally and professionally because she raised awareness for a serious issue.

“To be able to use the play as a way to generate discussion and raise some money for a great organization was just very rewarding, and then to get the award for playwriting on top of that, it was just a great experience,” Fox said.

Following the free class on Jan. 7, Fox will offer six subsequent classes that will run on Wednesday nights through February for a fee of $265. The course is open to all types of writers, from beginners to advanced, regardless of what type of pieces they wish to work on.

She said novice writers will have the chance to learn from those who have had more experience, while the advanced writers will be able to hone their skills and have the chance to provide feedback and editing advice.

Perhaps most important, the writers will have an opportunity to bring something new to class each week and a forum to share their work.

“It’s going to be a real working, vibrant type of group,” Fox said.

Axial Theater is located at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 8 Sunnyside Ave. in Pleasantville. Anyone interested in attending the free workshop on Jan. 7 can register by calling 914-286-7680. There is no obligation to continue with the course after attending the free class.


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