April 2, 2023
Jessica Huang
Jessica Huang

MINNEAPOLIS (April 15, 2016) — The Playwrights’ Center and Jerome Foundation are pleased to announce the 2016-17 Jerome Fellows, Many Voices Fellows and Many Voices Mentees. The Jerome Fellowship for emerging playwrights is the Jerome Foundation’s longest-awarded program, entering its 40th year. The Many Voices Fellowship was created in 1994 in partnership with the Jerome Foundation and significantly expanded in 2013.

“The Playwrights’ Center is entering its 45th year, and for the last 40 of those years we’ve had the great fortune of partnering with the Jerome Foundation to award fellowships to incredible emerging playwrights,” says Jeremy B. Cohen, Producing Artistic Director of the Playwrights’ Center. “This incoming roster of Jerome and Many Voices Fellows is already creating impressive, significant new theater and I’m thrilled we can support their work and help further their careers.”


Katie Bender, Emily Feldman, Jessica Huang, Kristin Idaszak

Jerome Fellows receive $18,000 (an increase of $2,000 this year) and $1,725 in play development funds. They spend a year-long residency in Minnesota. Past recipients of the Jerome Fellowship include Lee Blessing, Lisa D’Amour, Kristoffer Diaz, Naomi Iizuka, Melanie Marnich, Martín Zimmerman and August Wilson. The Playwrights’ Center’s 2016-17 Jerome Fellows are:

  • Katie Bender, a University of Texas at Austin M.F.A. graduate whose work includes this season’s world premiere of her immersive adaptation of “Alice in Wonderland” (ZACH Theatre) and who is a founding member of Underbelly theater collaborative
  • Emily Feldman, a former Playwrights’ Center Core Apprentice and recent University of California, San Diego M.F.A. graduate whose plays include “Three Women in Four Chairs”
  • Jessica Huang, a Twin Cities-based playwright and former Many Voices Fellow whose play “Purple Cloud” premiered with Mu Performing Arts in December 2015
  • Kristin Idaszak, a current Jerome Fellow whose play “Second Skin” received the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, and who holds an M.F.A. from University of California, San Diego


Benjamin Benne, Marisa Carr

The Many Voices Fellowship for early-career writers of color comes with a $10,000 award, $2,500 in living expenses and $1,500 in development funds. One fellow each year must be Minnesota-based, and both writers spend a year-long residency in Minnesota. Previous recipients include Sharif Abu-Hamdeh, Cristina Castro, Janaki Ranpura, Harrison David Rivers, James Anthony Tyler and Josh Wilder. The Playwrights’ Center’s 2016-17 Many Voices Fellows are:

  • Benjamin Benne, a Seattle-based playwright whose work includes “at the very bottom of a body of water,” “What \ Washed Ashore / Astray” and “Terra Incognita,” which will receive its world premiere at Annex Theatre in the summer of 2016
  • Marisa Carr, a Minneapolis-based playwright, actor and singer/composer who was a 2015 Naked Stages fellow at Pillsbury House + Theatre. Carr is a core artist at New Native Theatre, where she composed the original score for “2012: The Musical!”


Drewcella Mae Davis, ShaVunda Horsley

Many Voices Mentorships award Minnesota-based beginning playwrights of color with individually-curated writing and play development services and a $1,000 stipend. The Playwrights’ Center’s 2016-17 Many Voices Mentees are:

  • Drewcella Mae Davis, also known as Oya, who is currently a junior at Augsburg College majoring in sociology with a focus on playwriting
  • ShaVunda Horsley, the recipient of a 2015 Verve Grant for Spoken Word, 2015 Finalist of the Beyond the Pure Writers’ Fellowship, and Poetry Slam Winner of The Farrago Fresher Slam at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London

Fellowships at the Playwrights’ Center, made possible by the McKnight and Jerome foundations, provide more than $315,000 each year to support 14 fellows and mentees. In addition, the Center serves as an artistic home for 25-30 Core Writers on three-year terms. Fellows and Core Writers are selected by independent panels. The 2016-17 McKnight Fellows in Playwriting, McKnight National Residency and Commission recipient, McKnight Theater Artist Fellows and new Core Writers will be announced at a later date.

The Playwrights’ Center also supports more than 1,550 member playwrights around the world and runs a robust series of partnership programs building relationships between playwrights and producing theaters.

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