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3rd Annual New Works Brooklyn Festival to Feature Plays by Lindsey Ferrentino and More


The Brooklyn College Department of Theater will present its third annual New Works Brooklyn festival on April 5 - 9, 2017.

The series will feature staged readings of plays written by award-winning playwrights Jaclyn Backhaus, Lindsey Ferrentino, Virginia Grise, Nambi E. Kelley, and Rehana Lew Mirza. Each of the playwrights will take part in audience talkbacks during the week.

Five groundbreaking plays will be presented: The Year to Come written by Lindsey Ferrentino, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch; The Norns written by Jaclyn Backhaus; The Translation of Likes written by Nambi E. Kelley directed by Michele Shay; Your Healing Is Killing Me written by Virginia Grise directed by Elena Aroaz; and A People's Guide to History in The Time of Here and Now written by Rehana Lew Mirza directed by Portia Krieger. Each of the readings will be curated by current students of the Department of Theater.

Lindsey Ferrentino is a New York based playwright originally from the sunny state of Florida where many of her plays are set. Her critically acclaimed play Ugly Lies the Bone was a New York Times Critic's Pick and played a sold-out, extended run at both Roundabout Theater Company and The National Theatre in London. Charles Isherwood in the NY Times called Lindsey a "brave playwright of dauntless conviction...whose unflinching portraits are hard to come by outside of journalism." She has upcoming productions in the '17/'18 season at Roundabout Theatre Company and Playwrights Horizons. She is the recipient of the 2016 Kesserling Prize, Laurents/Hatcher Citation of Excellence, ASCAP Cole Porter Playwriting Prize, Holland New Voices Playwriting Award, Paul Newman Drama Award, made the 2015 Kilroys List, finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn, nominated for the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, and is the only two time finalist for the Kendeda Playwriting Prize. Lindsey Ferrentino is currently under commission for new plays from South Coast Repertory, The Geffen, Roundabout Theater Company, The Public Theatre, The Tricycle, as well an original television pilot for producers Big Beach Films/TV. Her work has been developed/performed at Atlantic Theater Company, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, MCC, The O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, Premiere Stages, Florida Studio Theater, The Great Plains Theater Conference, 3LD Art and Technology Center, Manhattan Repertory Theater, and The Marilyn Monroe Theater in New York. Her work has been seen regionally at The Kennedy Center in DC, The Alliance Theater in Georgia, The Blank Theater in LA, and The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. Ferrentino is a recipient of the Edward Albee Playwriting Fellowship and Residency as well as Blue Ridge Playwriting Fellowship. Her short stories have been published in New York Magazine and Aaduna Literary Magazine. She holds a BFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, and has two MFA's in playwriting from Hunter College and The Yale School of Drama.

Jaclyn Backhaus is a playwright and a creative director for Fresh Ground Pepper. Her play MEN ON BOATS was a NYT Critics' Pick for its productions in Clubbed Thumb's Summerworks and Off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons. It was named a Kilroys play in 2015 and received its Chicago premiere at ATC in early 2017. Other works include PEOPLE DOING MATH LIVE! (Under The Radar Festival's INCOMING! Series at The Public Theater), THE INCREDIBLE FOX SISTERS (Live Source), and YOU ON THE MOORS NOW (Theater Reconstruction Ensemble, The Hypocrites in Chicago). She has received commissions from Playwrights Horizons, MTC, EST and Ars Nova and is the 2016 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Clubbed Thumb. Her work has been developed and showcased with the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Playwrights Horizons, The Public and Joe's Pub, The Ice Factory Festival, (not just) 3 New Plays, The Civilians R&D Group, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Ars Nova's ANTFest, and The Falcons. BFA: NYU. She hails from Phoenix, Arizona.

Nambi E. Kelley has penned plays for Steppenwolf, Goodman Theatre, and Court Theatre/American Blues Theater in Chicago, Lincoln Center and the National Black Theatre in New York, and internationally internationally with LATT Children's Theatre/ Unibooks Publishing Company (South Korea) Teatri Sbagliati (Italy), and The Finger Players (Singapore) where she also performed in the co-adapted production in Singapore of The Book of Living and Dying. Most recently, Kelley was named playwright in residence at the National Black Theatre in New York, was a finalist for the Francesca Primus Award, The Kevin Spacey Foundation Award, and is working on an adaptation of Toni Morrison's Jazz to be produced by Center Stage in their 2016-17 season. Her adaptation of Native Son was published by Sam French, 2016. The world premiere of Native Son was presented to critical acclaim at Court Theatre with American Blues Theatre (co-production) was recently nominated for 5 Jeff Awards including best adaptation and production of the year, and was the highest grossing production in Court Theatre's 60 year history. Native Son is also on the Kilroy's List 2015. Kelley's Xtigone celebrated production in Chicago (Chicago Danz Theatre Ensemble) and San Francisco (African American Shakespeare Company). Ms. Kelley has a BFA from The Theatre School at De Paul University, formerly known as The Goodman School of Drama, and holds an MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College in Vermont.

Virginia Grise is a recipient of the Whiting Writers' Award, Princess Grace Award in Theatre Directing and the Yale Drama Series Award. Her published work includes blu (Yale University Press), The Panza Monologues co-written with Irma Mayorga (University of Texas Press), an edited volume of Zapatista communiqués titled Conversations with Don Durito (Autonomedia Press), and Your Healing is Killing Me (forthcoming, Plays Inverse Press). She earned her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and currently lives and writes in the Bronx.

Rehana Lew Mirza holds a shared Mellon National Playwrights residency at Ma-Yi Theater with husband Mike Lew. She is also currently a Rita Goldberg Playwrights' Workshop Fellow at the Lark and the recipient of a 2016 Lilly Award (Stacey Mindich commission.) Full-length plays include: Soldier X (productions: Ma-Yi, Brooklyn College. NYSCA Commission, Lark Studio Retreat, Kilroy selection.); Neighborhood Watch (NNPN/InterAct commission); Lonely Leela (productions: Desipina; LPAC. readings: Magic Theatre, NewGeorges); Barriers (productions: Desipina; Asian American Theater Company); Hatefuck (Primary Fresh Ink reading); and if it's sad i don't want to see it (readings: Queens Theater, 2G). Honors include: Rhinebeck Musical Theater Residency (with composer Sam Willmott and co-writer Mike Lew for Bhangin' It); TCG Future Leader Fellowship with NewGeorges; NBC Shorts Audience Award; E.S.T. Sloan Commission; La Jolla Playhouse Commission (with Mike Lew); Tofte Artist residency; IAAC residency with the Lark, John Golden Award, and a LMCC artist grant. She is a current member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab and the Primary Stages Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group. MFA: Columbia University; BFA: NYU Tisch.

Brooklyn College's Department of Theater-Kip Marsh, Chair; Mary Beth Easley, Artistic Director-is one of New York City's leading institutions in the training of actors, directors, designers, dramaturgs, performing arts managers, and theater technicians. The Department offers undergraduate degree programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts in Theater, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting, the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Design & Technical Theater, the Master of Arts in Theater History & Criticism, and the Master of Fine Arts with concentrations in Acting, Directing, Design & Technical Theater, and Performing Arts Management.

The New Works Brooklyn festival will be held in Room 307 of Roosevelt Hall Extension on the campus of Brooklyn College. No reservations required; suggested donation is $5.

The performance schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, April 5, 7:00 PM

The Year to Come written by Lindsey Ferrentino, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch

curated by Anna Strasser & Joshua Gold

Thursday, April 6, 7:00 PM

The Norns written by Jaclyn Backhaus, directed by Sanaz Ghajar

curated by Kevin Ray

Friday, April 7, 7:00

The Translation of Likes written by Nambi E. Kelley, directed by Michele Shay

curated by Lauren Sullivan

Saturday, April 8, 7:00 PM

Your Healing is Killing Me written by Virginia Grise, directed by Elena Aroaz

curated by Polly Noonan

Sunday, April 9, 4:00 PM

A People's Guide to History in The Time of Here and Now written by Rehana Lew Mirza, directed by Portia Krieger

curated by Patrick McDonnell

Roosevelt Hall Extension is at 2950 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY (Flatbush Avenue stop on the 2 and 5 train). For further information, visit the Department of Theater Web page at

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