South Coast Repertory's second annual Hispanic Playwrights Project--the dramaturge program that produces new plays by Latino writers--has received 75 scripts from across the country, program director Jose Cruz Gonzalez said.

Although more plays (109) were received last year, Gonzalez said the quality of this year's submissions is higher. "We had a good group before, and this group is even better," he said. "We're also happy because not all the scripts are from the same writers (who contributed last year). We have 32 new writers."

The scripts will be scrutinized in the next few weeks, with six chosen for the July 6-12 workshop. The top three will eventually be given public readings and may become part of SCR's new season.

Lisa Loomer's "Bird," which was staged on the SCR Second Stage in November, and Arthur Giron's "Charley Bacon and His Family," the next Mainstage offering, both came out of last year's project.

The six writers will be guided by Maria Irene Fornes, a prominent New York playwright who wrote "The Danube," "The Conduct of Life" and "Sarita." Fornes will lead the workshops and a series of readings and seminars centering on the chosen plays, Gonzalez said.

The project's advisers will also include Jorge Huerta, UC San Diego theater historian; Raul Moncada, project director of the Old Globe's Teatro Meta; Ruben Sierra, artistic director of Seattle's multi-cultural Group Theatre, and Jose Luis Valenzuela, a resident director at the Los Angeles Theatre Center.

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