FST Announces the Playwrights Project Featuring Tom Gibbons, Bruce Graham, Sarah Bierstock & Jason Odell Williams

The Playwrights Project is Florida Studio Theatre’s newest artistic initiative, employing 33 of the country’s top playwrights, sketch comedy writers, and musical theatre developers, including Tom Gibbons, Bruce Graham, Sarah Bierstock, and Jason Odell Williams, as full-time staff writers. Over the course of this eight-week project, each artist will write and deliver a first draft of an original play, sketch comedy piece, or cabaret. The material generated during this time will be considered for future production in FST’s Mainstage, Cabaret, Sketch Comedy, and Children’s Theatre programs.

In addition to working as staff writers, Playwrights Project artists will enhance FST’s online educational offerings by leading workshops, tutorials, and contributing to virtual classes. The artists will also participate in online forum discussions and special Q&A sessions with small invited audiences.

For more about the Playwrights Project, click here.

“The project was conceived within the first few days of the theater shutting down due to COVID-19,” said Richard Hopkins, FST’s producing artistic director. “FST, like the rest of our nation, was brought to a sudden standstill. Three days after closing the theater, I had a revelation about Shakespeare — he, like every good artist, instead of following the dark and writing about the plagues of his time, took the road less traveled and followed the light. He wrote, without judgment, about the wonder of humankind. Which made me think that now is the time for FST to inspire the creation of plays. To ask playwrights to write like Shakespeare and reveal humanity’s complexities without judgment.”

Read more about this from the Venice Gondolier here.

Playwrights’ Center Announces 2020-23 Core Writers including Mashuq Mushtaq Deen

Mashuq Mushtaq Deen

The Playwrights’ Center has announced seven playwrights who will be company’s 2020-23 Core Writers. Sharon Bridgforth, Mashuq Mushtaq Deen, Andrew Rosendorf, Riti Sachdeva, Charly Evon Simpson, Crystal Skillman, and Jonathan Spector will join the program aimed at supporting playwrights who demonstrate a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and artistic excellence.

“I am so excited to welcome back Andrew and Riti to the Center as well as welcome Deen, Charly, Crystal, Sharon, and Jonathan—all of whose work I have deeply admired for a long time,” said producing artistic director Jeremy B. Cohen in a statement. “They are all incredible writers, and I look forward to seeing each of them grow as artists over the next three years.”

During the three-year tenure, Core Writers receive play development workshops, the opportunity to be part of the PlayLabs festival or the Ruth Easton New Play Series, and the chance to connect with Playwrights’ Center’s network of producing theatres.

Deen is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a 2019 Lambda Literary Award Winner. His full-length plays include Flood (upcoming; Kansas City Rep, 2021), The Empty Place (NYU commission), The Betterment Society (upcoming publication), The Shaking Earth (postponed production, National Queer Theater, 2021), and Draw the Circle (productions: PlayMakers, Mosaic, Rattlestick; published: DPS; winner Lambda Literary Award).

Read the full article from American Theatre here.

Congratulations Deneen Reynolds-Knott! Your play, BABES IN HO-LLAND has been selected for the 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival!

Playwrights Foundation, the West Coast’s premiere launchpad for exceptional plays and playwrights announces the lineup for the 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival (BAPF), featuring playwrights Tyler English-Beckwith, Stefani Kuo, Jordan Ramirez Puckett, Deneen Reynolds-Knott, and Noelle Viñas. The 2020 Bay Area Playwrights Festival runs July 17-26, 2020 in an online format worldwide . The Festival offers public readings in addition to panel discussions and surrounding online events on Facebook Live. Pay What You Can tickets will go on sale starting June 1st.

The 43rd Annual festival is Playwrights Foundation’s Executive Artistic Director Jessica Bird Beza’s first. “The move to an all online experience for both artists and audience is in a way a paradigm shift,” says Bird Beza, ” I am excited for the opportunities this moment presents to create a wider access and platform for these much needed stories of love, perseverance, and self discovery to be heard.” As the nature of theater and theatricality changes, Playwrights Foundation continues to be dedicated to emerging playwrights and the development of new work. Selected out of 735 submissions, this year’s lineup consists of an all female group of playwrights whose voices have a platform.

Deneen Reynolds-Knott is a member of Clubbed Thumb‘s 2019-2020 Early-Career Writers’ Group and received a finalist grant from their 2018 Open-Application Commission. She is a New Georges affiliated artist and has developed work with Liberation Theatre Company’s Writing Residency, Project Y’s Playwrights Group, Rising Circle’s INKtank Development Lab and Frank Silvera Workshop’s 3in3 Playwright Residency. Her full-length play, BATON, was selected for the 2018 Premiere Play Festival and received a workshop reading at Premiere Stages, the 2017 Playfest at the Orlando Shakespeare Company, and was a finalist for the 2017 PlayPenn and Bay Area Playwrights conferences. Deneen’s play, ANTEPARTUM, was presented at the 2020 Fire This Time Festival as part of their signature ten-minute play program. She received her MFA in film from Columbia University.

Read the full article from Broadway World San Francisco here.

Studio Theatre to Collaborate with Artist-in-Residence Psalmayene 24 after Receiving Doris Duke Grant

Psalmayene 24

Studio Theatre is one of eight theatres across the country, and the only arts organization in Washington, DC, to receive an 18-month capacity building grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s (DDCF) Building Demand for the Arts program, the Foundation announced this week. The program funds artists and arts institutions working to forge long-lasting relationships with diverse audiences.

Of the nearly $1.3 million awarded by DDCF, Studio received $82,500 to invest in connecting with African American millennial audiences in DC, in collaboration with director and playwright Psalmayene 24 (Psalm). He joins Studio as Artist-in-Residence during the grant period, which extends through the 2020-2021 Season.

Studio’s work with Psalm begins around its production of Antoinette Nwandu’s explosive breakthrough play Pass Over, directed by Psalm. Engagement efforts include the Pass Over Community Tour, which will bring readings of the play to five sites throughout the DC-area this spring: Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Howard University, the Anacostia and Shaw branches of the DC Public Library, and Joe’s Movement Emporium. Readings will be accompanied by talkbacks, panels, and other activities created in partnership with host venues to help process and spark discussion about this important contemporary work.

Studio and Psalm will continue to collaborate on ways to engage African American millennials through social events, talkbacks, workshops, and residencies tailored to specific Studio Productions.

Read the full article from Broadway World here.

Regina Taylor, Distinguished Writer to be Inducted into the The Texas Institute of Letters 2020



For the 84th year,members of the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) have decided on the induction of new members to join the ranks of the distinguished honor society founded in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and to recognize distinctive literary achievement.

The TIL’s membership consists of the state’s most respected writers – including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, PEN/Faulkner Award, Academy Award, Americas Award, International Latino Book Award, and the MacArthur “Genius” grant. Membership is based on ongoing and exceptional literary accomplishment.  Members of the Texas Institute of Letters have overwhelmingly approved nineteen writers to join the ranks of the TIL. 

The 2020 honorees include poets Cyrus Cassells, ir’ene lara silva, Emmy Pérez, and Loretta Diane Walker; award-winning playwrights Octavio Solis and Regina Taylor (also a Golden Globe winner); novelists Glenn Blake, Kathleen Kent, and Natalia Sylvester; bestselling journalists/editors/publishers Nate Blakeslee, Dan Goodgame, and Dan Williams; award-winning songwriters James McMurtry and Robert Earl Keen; environmental writer and editor Andrew Sansom; scholars Andrew R. Graybill and Emma M. Pérez; children’s and YA author J.B. (Jessica) Powers; and photo-historian of award-winning Southwestern cultural histories Bill Wright.

Dr. Carmen Tafolla, President of the Texas Institute of Letters states, “The move to diversify and include a wide variety of literary genres in our analysis of literary accomplishment has continued to bring us a rich base of outstanding word-crafters. We are extremely proud of the exceptional work these individuals represent. These nineteen literary masters and innovators span the creative gamut from stage plays to song lyrics and from novels to poetry, journalism, short stories, publishing, children’s works, and scholarly books.”  

New members will be inducted at the upcoming TIL annual meeting, to be held in Georgetown, Texas March 27-29.  The Annual TIL Literary Awards will also be presented at the weekend’s events. For more information, please visit the TIL website: www.texasinstituteofletters.org or email Carmen Tafolla, president@texasinstituteofletters.org.

From: TIL President, Dr. Carmen Tafolla