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Kenyon Playwrights Conference Announces 2016 Commissioned Playwrights

October 19, 2015

To create an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring and working playwrights, the Kenyon Institute has partnered with three companies in commissioning new work for the 2016 Kenyon Playwrights Conference, to be held June 12-18 on the campus of Kenyon College in Gambier, OH.

The Atlantic Theater Company is the Tony Award-winning Off-Broadway theatre renowned for its commitment to producing new plays by some of the world’s most significant writers. Royal Exchange Theatre is an internationally recognized incubator for theatre making in Manchester, England, bringing together individual artists, freelance teams, theatre companies, and communities to create work that has been seen in cinemas and toured and transferred nationally. Washington D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth serves an essential ‘Research and Development’ role within the American theatre, and its award-winning plays have gone on to productions at more than 200 theatres in 39 states and 12 countries.

In conjunction with its commissioning partners, the Conference has announced that Heidi Schreck, a two-time Obie Award-winning actor; Gregory S. Moss, a 2012 MacDowell Fellow; and Charlene James, 2015 recipient of the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright, will be in residence at this year’s conference.

The Kenyon Playwrights Conference supports the early-stage development of new work through its commissioning program and offers an intensive playwriting workshop for playwrights at all stages in their careers, led by literary managers of the partner companies. Each year, the Conference partners with three professional companies who select writers for commission, funded by the Conference, which includes a two-week residency at Kenyon for the playwright.  

 “This offers a chance for our visiting playwrights and the literary managers from top theaters to collaborate and take chances far from the madding crowd. It also gives our workshop participants the chance to study with, and hang out with, these artists,” said playwright Wendy MacLeod, Artistic Director of the KPC (and faculty member).

More about the 2016 Commissioned Playwrights:

Heidi Schreck (Commissioned by Atlantic Theater Company) is a playwright and two-time Obie Award-winning actor. Her first play, Creature, was produced by New Georges and Page 73 Productions and directed by Leigh Silverman. Her second, There Are No More Big Secrets, was directed by Kip Fagan and premiered at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Most recently, Long Wharf Theatre produced her dark recession-era comedy The Consultant. Grand Concourse marked her return to Playwrights Horizons after appearing as an actor in Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation (Theatre World Award) in 2010.

Her television work includes appearances on The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU, and Nurse Jackie, where she also worked as a writer for two seasons. Schreck is Playwrights Horizons’ first Tow Foundation playwright-in-residence and is currently writing and serving as producer for the upcoming Showtime series Billions, starring Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis.

Gregory S. Moss (Commissioned by Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company) is a writer, educator, and performer from Newburyport, MA. He is head of the MFA in Dramatic Writing program at the University of New Mexico. His work has been seen at Steppenwolf, La Comédie-Française, Clubbed Thumb, and South Coast Repertory and published by Play: A Journal of Plays, n+1, Playscripts, and Overlook Press.

Moss is a 2012 MacDowell Fellow, a Clubbed Thumb Affiliated Artist, and the recipient of a 2010-11 Jerome Fellowship and a 2011-12 McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting. Recent productions include I Promised Myself to Live Faster with Pig Iron Theater Company at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville, KY; Reunion at South Coast Repertory; and House of Gold at Ensemble Studio Theatre/LA. His piece Indian Summer will open May 2016 at Playwrights Horizons.

Charlene James (Commissioned by Royal Exchange Theatre) is a playwright and actor who trained at Birmingham School of Acting and the School at Steppenwolf, Chicago. In 2008, she participated in the Royal Court Young Writers Programme, and in 2012 she was selected for a 503Five 18-month residency at Theatre 503. In 2013, James became a writer in residence at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre for its season focusing on mental health.

Her play Tweet Tweet was commissioned by the Birmingham Rep as part of Young Theatre Makers. In 2014, James was awarded the Alfred Fagon Award for Best New Play of the Year Award for Cuttin' It, a play focusing on female genital mutilation. In 2015, she was awarded the George Devine Award for Most Promising Playwright for Cuttin' It.

More about the Kenyon Playwrights Conference:


The Kenyon Playwrights Conference offers an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring and working playwrights through its signature commissioning program, which supports the early-stage development of new work through residencies and funded commission offered in conjunction with its partner U.S. and U.K. companies each June. In conjunction with the commission program, the Conference offers a playwriting intensive for playwrights at all stages in their careers, who participate in week-long seminars led by literary managers of partner companies and take master classes with the professional playwrights.

To date, the Kenyon Playwrights Conference has worked with the following U.S. and U.K. theaters and playwrights: La Jolla Playhouse (Kirsten Greenidge), Playwrights Horizons (Kirk Lynn), Paine’s Plough (Tom Wells), Atlantic Theatre Company (Craig Lucas), Hampstead Theatre (Rona Munro), Steppenwolf Theatre (Tracey Scott Wilson), Bush Theatre (Michaela Coel), Center Stage (James Magruder), and Manhattan Theatre Club (Halley Feiffer).

Learn more about the 2016 Kenyon Playwrights Conference


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