Company founded by theatre students to compete for Stumberg grand prize

The trio will continue their research over the summer with a stipend

The Stumberg New Venture Competition, open to students of any year or major, is entering its “Summer Accelerator” phase after five finalists were selected to move on. One of the finalists is New Works SA, a company started by Scarlett Patiño ‘23, Wren Ramos ‘23, and Anthony Tresca ‘22 that aims to give young artists a platform to perform, produce and learn the mechanics of theatre. We sat down with one of the founding members, Wren Ramos, to talk about the company and its goals for the San Antonio theatre community. Ramos wanted us to clarify that they are a trans person who uses they/them pronouns.

“New Works started out as a need that we saw in our community — one that we first saw in ourselves. We are people who love theatre immensely, spending 10-20 hours a week working on multiple theatre projects through either Trinity Theatre or Trinity University Players. We all weren’t sure how theatre would stay in our lives past graduation. What we knew was that we loved creating theatre, teaching theatre, and working with others in theatre. Trinity had given us that, but we were unsure where to go next. What we realized, however, is that this feeling wasn’t unique to ourselves; this was a bigger problem than just us,” said Ramos.

For the trio, founding their company was a way to give back.

“Many a high schooler who loves theatre has to give up their passion to fulfill a more traditional and “stable” career. Even if they want to do theatre on the side, San Antonio doesn’t have a large community theatre scene. For many younger people, it can seem inaccessible to breach into the scene that does exist,” said Ramos.

The company aims to provide lessons on writing, design, organizing shows and marketing them to audiences, among other skills.

“We want to introduce these younger audiences to the fact that theatre, especially in San Antonio where theatre is growing every day, is what you make it. At New Works, our season of shows will contain two completely original works written by emerging young playwrights; one new adaptation; and one old work done in a new way. [This is] an opportunity to show our audience that you can transform an older piece into something extremely relevant to younger audiences.”

New Works SA will put much of their Stumberg funding into a savings account, and will be relying on fundraising to sustain themselves.

“We will be relying on fundraising to create the shows themselves and let the money we have support our education program, where it will be used to keep us sustainable for a long time,” said Ramos.

Their first show will premiere at the end of the summer. The show is titled, “The Comedy of Romeo & Juliet.”

“We are taking the original Shakespeare show and flipping it on its head — focusing instead on the comedy of the show and how young love can make you do some pretty wild — and often very emo — things. We are beginning fundraising soon for the show, where we are working with many Trinity artists in music, visual arts, and theatre. To be able to pay these artists for their time and to create sets, costumes, and props; anyone who is willing to donate, even a little, would be helping us make this first show into something really wonderful.”

For those interested in supporting the company, Ramos has a few suggestions.

“Anyone interested in supporting this production — either by donating or by following our journey and rooting us on — can do so by following us at @newworks_sa on Instagram. We are excited to start this journey and are excited to bring the joy, dedication, and passion we found in theatre to others in San Antonio with our plays and with our programs.”