MINNEAPOLIS (May 22, 2014) — The Playwrights’ Center today announced its 2014-15 roster of playwriting fellows and new Core Writers, who together will receive more than $200,000 in awards and additional development funds.
The Playwrights’ Center is an internationally renowned play development center and artist service organization dedicated to supporting the development of playwrights and new plays. Core Writers and fellows are selected by independent panels composed of nationally recognized theater artists and leaders.
“I am inspired by the entire field of playwrights creating work during this time, and the Playwrights’ Center has redoubled our efforts to support these brilliant American writers and theatermakers,” says Producing Artistic Director Jeremy B. Cohen. “Nearly all of our fellowship programs had their highest application numbers to date, and the slate of writers that were chosen for our 2014-15 season are absolutely extraordinary. From the fellows in our newly-expanded Many Voices program, to the incredible Jerome Fellows whose work is already making an impact across the country, to the consistent excellence of our McKnight Fellows and Core Writers, these are visionaries creating the new American theater. In fact, during the 2013-14 theater season at least 26 plays developed here were produced on stages across the country. As always, we’re deeply indebted to both the Jerome and McKnight Foundations for their support of our fellowships, and to the Mellon Foundation, Ruth Easton Fund and others for their crucial support of the Playwrights’ Center.”
Jerome Fellowships—for emerging playwrights ($16,000 award) Steve Moulds, Kate Tarker, Josh Wilder, Deborah Yarchun
Jerome Fellows spend a yearlong residency in Minnesota. The Playwrights’ Center has awarded these fellowships in partnership with the Jerome Foundation since 1976. The Playwrights’ Center’s 2014-15 Jerome Fellows are Steve Moulds, who is currently Playwright in Residence at Theatre  and was previously the National New Play Network Playwright in Residence at Curious Theatre Company; Kate Tarker, a 2014 graduate of the Yale School of Drama whose play “THUNDERBODIES” was just seen at the Carlotta Festival of New Plays; Josh Wilder, a 2013-14 Many Voices Fellow at the Playwrights’ Center whose play “Leftovers” will be on the main stage of the Great Plains Theatre Conference this month and who recently workshopped “The Stone Will Roll” at New York Theatre Workshop; and Deborah Yarchun, who was also awarded a 2013-14 Jerome Fellowship and whose plays include “The Man in the Sukkah” and “The Aleph Complex.”
Jerome Many Voices Fellowships—for early-career writers of color ($10,000 award, plus $2,500 in living expenses) Sharif Abu-Hamdeh, Harrison David Rivers
Last year, the Many Voices Fellowship award amount doubled and one of the fellowships opened up to writers residing outside of Minnesota. The Playwrights’ Center’s 2014-15 Jerome Many Voices Fellows are Sharif Abu-Hamdeh (MN), whose plays include “Habibi” (premiered by Campo Santo Theatre Company) and “Bodies in the Park”; and Harrison David Rivers (NY), whose play “When Last We Flew” received the 2011 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Off Off Broadway Play.
Two Many Voices Mentorships are also awarded annually to Minnesota-based beginning playwrights of color. These awards include a curated package of writing and development services and a $1,000 stipend. The 2014-15 Many Voices Mentorship recipients are Max Delgado, who has been published in literary magazines including Prose Ax and Portland Review; and Junauda Petrus, a dancer, writer, aerialist and co-founder of Free Black Dirt, an experimental art collective.
McKnight Advancement Fellowship—to further the careers of Minnesota-based playwrights ($25,000 award) Aditi Brennan Kapil, Basil Kreimendahl
The McKnight Advancement Fellowship has been awarded to Aditi Brennan Kapil, who has been a Many Voices Fellow and Core Writer with the Playwrights’ Center, and whose “Displaced Hindu Gods” trilogy premiered at Mixed Blood Theatre in Fall 2013; and Basil Kreimendahl, a 2011-12 Core Apprentice and 2012-13 Jerome Fellow with the Playwrights’ Center whose play “Sidewinders” had its world premiere at The Cutting Ball Theater in Fall 2013.
McKnight National Residency and Commission—for the creation and development of new works by nationally recognized playwrights ($12,500 commission) Karen Hartman
The 2014-15 McKnight National Residency and Commission goes to Karen Hartman, a former Jerome Fellow and Core Writer with the Playwrights’ Center. Hartman is the award-winning author of more than twenty plays and musical works including “Goldie, Max and Milk,” which premiered at Florida Stage and was nominated for the Steinberg/American Critics Award (Best New Regional Play) and the Carbonell Award (Best New Play in Florida); “Gum,” which had its world premiere at Baltimore’s Center Stage and has been seen in dozens of productions across the country; and “Wild Kate,” which opened at ACT in San Francisco and was published by PlayScripts, Inc. in 2012.
CORE WRITERS—25 to 30 playwrights from across the country whose work is supported by the Playwrights’ Center over a three-year term. In addition to the 17 continuing Core Writers, the eight new writers are: Philip Dawkins, Sarah Gubbins, Qui Nguyen, Susan Soon He Stanton, Ken Urban, Joe Waechter, Kathryn Walat, Ken Weitzman
The Core Writer program brings a diverse range of playwrights to the Center for play development workshops in collaboration with prominent directors, actors, dramaturgs and designers. Over the three-year term with the Playwrights’ Center as an artistic home, selected work by Core Writers is showcased in the community through the PlayLabs festival and the Ruth Easton New Play Series. Eight playwrights join the Core Writer roster this year. Philip Dawkins’ plays include “Miss Marx: or the Involuntary Effect of Living,” “The Homosexuals” and “Failure: A Love Story,” all nominated for Jeff Awards. Sarah Gubbins is a former Jerome Fellow whose plays include “Fair Use,” “In Loco Parentis,” “The Drinking Problem,” “The Kid Thing” (Jeff Award and Edgarton Foundation New American Play Award) and “fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life.” Qui Nguyen has been awarded another three-year Core Writer term as his current term comes to a close; he is a co-founder of the OBIE Award-winning Vampire Cowboys and his plays include “She Kills Monsters” and “Soul Samurai.” Susan Soon He Stanton is a playwright and screenwriter whose plays include “SEEK,” “Takarazuka!!!,” “Cygnus,” “Furball,” “the things are against us,” “The Underneath” and more. Ken Urban is a playwright and screenwriter whose plays include “The Awake” and “The Correspondent” and who has plays premiering at SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston and New York’s Wild Project next season. Joe Waechter is a two-time Jerome Fellow and is currently a McKnight Advancement Fellow; his plays include “The Hidden People” and “PROFILES” and this summer he is researching a new play aboard an ice-class sailing vessel in the Arctic Circle. Kathryn Walat’s plays include “Creation” (Theatre @ Boston Court, LA Ovation Award for Playwriting nomination) and “Bleeding Kansas” (Hangar Theatre, Francesca Primus Citation); her play “See Bat Fly” will be produced this summer at Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre. Ken Weitzman’s plays include “Arrangements” (L. Arnold Weissberger Award), “The Catch” (TCG Edgerton Foundation New American Play Award) and “Fire in the Garden” (Fratti/Newman Political Play Contest Award).
The Core Apprentice program, which pairs student playwrights with a mentor and offers play development support, welcomes 2014-15 apprentices Kelly Lusk, Stephanie Mohr, Bianca Sams, David Turkel and Emily Zemba.