Live & In Color Announces Esmé Maria Ng As The Recipient Of The 2024 June Bingham New Playwright Commission

The panel selected SMJ, Anamaria Guerzon, Seshat Yon'shea Walker, and Esmé Maria Ng as the 2024 Finalists.

By: May. 16, 2024
Live & In Color Announces Esmé Maria Ng As The Recipient Of The 2024 June Bingham New Playwright Commission
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The June Bingham New Playwright Commission honors the legacy of the late artist and playwright, June Bingham, by providing support to a new generation of early-career women/femme and/or non-binary storytellers as they seek to create work that manifests change in the world.

Director and Arts Leader, Abigail Grubb, serves as the Program's Director and Co-Founder alongside Live & In Color's Artistic Director and June Bingham's nephew, Devanand Janki. After a highly competitive national call for applications and three rounds of panel review conducted entirely by femme and/or non-binary industry professionals, the panel selected SMJ, Anamaria Guerzon, Seshat Yon'shea Walker, and Esmé Maria Ng as the 2024 Finalists.

Live & In Color has announced Esmé Maria Ng and their to-be piece i know why iris chang died -inspired by the life and death of Chinese American journalist Iris Chang -as this year's recipient of the June Bingham New Playwright Commission. i know why iris chang died follows graphic novelist May and her twin sister April as May grapples with depression and attempts to create her magnum opus - a graphic memoir detailing their family's experience during the Rape of Nanking. A story about grief, remembrance, and artmaking in the face of destruction, the piece explores what it means to survive and what it means to live.

"I'm beyond excited to welcome Esmè as our 4th recipient of the JBNPC. Their work blends poignant narratives with an uncanny levity that adds such immense depth to the cannon. Their fresh perspective and unapologetic approach is exactly what we need more of in the American Theatre." - Abigail Grubb, Program Director.

Esmé Maria Ng (they/she/he) is a Gaysian American playwright/dramaturg/producer who loves heartbreak and developing new plays. Esmé is a 2023 Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow, a 2024 Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference Finalist, and a 2024 Premiere Play Festival Semi-Finalist. Esmé has held literary, artistic, and producing positions at Manhattan Theatre Club, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Breaking the Binary Theatre, Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and Classic Stage Company. They are currently a Tank Producers Cohort Fellow, a 2024 CIPA Fellow, and a freelance writer/dramaturg with bylines in American Theatre Magazine. A selection of Esmé's plays are available to read on New Play Exchange.

"As an emerging playwright, it can be incredibly difficult to trust in yourself and your work. To be told by an organization like Live & In Color that they trust me with this commission and want to support the creation of this play is a massive honor, and I can't wait to develop this work with this community." - Esmé Maria Ng

Esmé's work, i know why iris chang died, will be developed over the course of the next few months, and will then complete a workshop of the piece at Live & In Color's annual fall retreat in September. This opportunity will culminate in a 60-90 min 2-person play that will be workshopped and presented to an audience.

2021's recipient, Erlina Ortiz, developed LA EGOISTA at the Bingham Camp during the fall retreat. LA EGOSITA made its world premiere last February at the acclaimed Actors Theatre of Louisville and made its west coast premiere at Skylight Theatre in Los Angeles, CA, where it will run until April 8th 2023. The winner of the 2022 National Latine Playwrights Award, LA EGOISTA, was also selected to be a part of the 2022 Latinx Theatre Commons Comedy Carnival in Denver and received development support from Power Street Theatre.

2022's recipient AriDy Nox developed THE WETLANDS, which received a NYC Industry reading last May as well as a staged reading at the Giacomini Wetland Restoration 15th Anniversary Celebration!

2023's recipient Raquel Almazan developed GODDESSES RETURN TO THE TEMPLE, which received a successful 29-Hour reading in New York City this April.

Founded by Director/Choreographer Devanand Janki, Live & In Color is a creative incubator for new plays and musicals bound for commercial success, with a core mission of diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the theater industry-on and off stage, and at every level of creative and business touchpoint. In its first seven seasons, Live & In Color has developed the musicals "Howdyland!" by JB Tang Jackson and Dominique Gélin, "Little Girl Blue" by Laiona Michelle, "With Bells On!" by Tommy Newman & Devanand Janki (Based on the play by Darrin Hagen), "Within Elsewhere" by Trent Jeffords and Joshua Betancourt, "The Golden Threshold" by Cheeyang Ng and Eric Sorrels, "Present Perfect" by Nancy Nachama Cheser and Jaime Lozano, "Pangaea" by Janet Noh and Lee Summers, "The Family Resemblance" by Masi Asare and "Call It Courage" by Adam Overett. Plays developed during the retreat include "The Wetlands" by AriDy Nox, "La Egoista" by Erlina Ortiz, "Narrow Daylight" by SEVAN, "The Home We Left Behind" by Valerie David, "Invictus Mingus" by Frank Harts, "The Galilee House" by BV Marshall and "Esspy" by Nandita Shenoy. In 2020, Live & in Color developed the virtual pieces "Days of Re-Creation" written entirely by writers of color, "2020 Roasting on an Open Fire" a virtual holiday extravaganza and a weekly virtual happy hour show, "Be Our Guest!" with Broadway professionals, and two virtual 24 HR Play and Song Festivals. Named one of the SDC's "Top standout moments for diversity and inclusion," Live & In Color develops new work for the stage that promotes and celebrates diversity. Emphasizing non-traditional casting, multi-ethnic participants, and bold theatricality, Live & In Color offers unique development opportunities for new plays and musicals that encourage dialogue among artists from a variety of cultures. Live & In Color envisions an American Theatre where established and aspiring artists of color have generous opportunities to practice their craft by providing a safe, beautiful space in Salem, CT where artists can gather to develop new works that give voice to under-represented communities. For more info visit

Support has been provided from The Bingham Family, CT Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

To keep up to date on this year's recipient and their work, visit


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