The Hermitage Artist Retreat invites you to take a step into the future from their beach, at 6660 Manasota Beach Road in Englewood on Friday, March 31 at 6:30 pm

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Story Telling Now and in the Future

The Hermitage Artist Retreat invites you to take a step into the future from their beach, at 6660 Manasota Beach Road in Englewood on Friday, March 31 at 6:30 pm. The artist program will include Playwrights Amlin Gray and George Brant who will share dramatic and comic scenes from their plays. Their readings will be followed by Writer/Director Saschka Unseld giving us a look into storytelling of the future. Unseld is the co-founder of Oculus Story Studio, an animated virtual-reality (VR) film studio that creates computer-generated simulation in a three-dimensional environment that can be interacted with, in a seemingly real or physical way. The program is free and visitors should bring their beach chairs or blankets and any refreshments they might like to enjoy. Mother Nature’s sunset will follow the program and all are welcome to stay. In the unlikely event that conditions need to move the program indoors, reservations are suggested. Please call 941-475-2098, ext. 8 or email [email protected].

Two thousand years ago when Calusa tribe members sat at sunset listening to stories on Manasota Beach, they could not have imagined how we tell tales today,” commented Patricia Caswell, program director and co-founder of the Hermitage. “They undoubtedly had costumes and music, but could they imagine the scenery, stage lights or even movies? We will continue this tradition of storytelling with readings from current plays, and then look at the future through virtual reality. Like the Calusas, we can’t imagine what story telling in the future will be like but at this event, we will get a sneak peek at where it is going.”

Amlin Gray is a playwright, translator, dramaturg and teacher. His first two plays, Founding Father and Pirates, were developed at the O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford CT.   His most-produced play, How l Got That Story premiered at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and, in New York, at the Second Stage. The play appeared on its premiere year’s ten-best lists in the New York Times and Time Magazine and received an Obie Award for Distinguished Playwriting. He has translated plays from Spanish, German, and French, Greek and Russian.  For eight years, he served as Playwright-in-Residence at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and, for three years, at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. From 2007 through 2011, he taught at Sarah Lawrence College in the departments of theater and modern languages.

George Brant’s plays include Grounded, Elephant’s Graveyard, Marie and Rosetta, The Mourners’ Bench, Any Other Name, Salvage, Grizzly Mama, and Three Voyages of the Lobotomobile. An affiliate Writer at the Playwrights’ Center, his scripts have been produced internationally by the Public Theater, the Atlantic Theater, Trinity Repertory Company, the Studio Theatre, Cleveland Play House, and Alley Theatre, to name a few.  His plays have been developed by the Metropolitan Opera, the Kennedy Center, The Playwrights’ Center, Asolo Rep, McCarter Theatre Center, New Harmony Project, and Bay Area Playwrights Festival, among others.

Saschka Unseld is a German-born writer and director. After directing multiple award-winning short films including the 2013 Pixar short The Blue Umbrella, he co-founded Oculus Story Studio where he serves as Creative Director, helping to explore the future of VR storytelling. His latest Story Studio VR experience Dear Angelica and his independent VR dance project Through You both world premiered at Sundance 2017.

New plays and future film experiences are what you can look forward to experiencing on March 31,” Caswell explained. “We hope to see you there!”

The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat located at 6630-6660 Manasota Key Road in Englewood, FL. It invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront historic campus. Artists are asked to interact with the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. Hermitage community programs are partially sponsored by Philanthropist Gerri Aaron, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and the Woman’s Exchange. In addition, the Hermitage awards and administers the prestigious Greenfield Prize, an annual $30,000 commission for a new work of art, rotating among visual art, music and drama. The Hermitage also partners with the Aspen Music Festival and School to award the annual Hermitage Prize to a composition student during the Festival. For more information about The Hermitage Artist Retreat, call 941-475-2098, ext. 5, or visit the website at

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