LANPP Awards Celebrate Winning Playwrights and Producers for 2023 Grants

Nine new plays supported through LANPP grants.

By: Dec. 04, 2023
LANPP Awards Celebrate Winning Playwrights and Producers for 2023 Grants
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Winning playwrights and producers of the 2023 LANPP grants came together in October to celebrate two new plays to be produced in the Los Angeles area in the coming year. This is the third annual grant ceremony, which to date has supported nine new plays.

LANPP recipients Laura Annawyn Shamas (Playwright), Maria Gobetti Victory Theatre Center), Alexis Nicole Robles (Rogue Artists Ensemble), Lisa Sanaye Dring (Playwright)

“We are passionately invested in theatre's collective desire to come roaring back to pre-Covid attendance levels and more. We hope to help it flourish as we all process what we've been missing — shared experiences, physical proximity, and stories that shape our lives,” says LANPP Director Paula Holt. “We will accept original writing submissions in April, and announce the grant recipients of writing awards in September.”

Lisa Sanaye Dring's play, HAPPY FALL: A Queer Stunt Spectacular, will be produced by Rogue Artists Ensemble after having a successful workshop earlier this year. HAPPY FALL is based on true-life stories and direct testimonies illuminating issues of racial and cultural identity in Hollywood. The full production, set for a premiere in 2024, will come to life as an interactive stunt show, with life-size puppets, special effects and death-defying physical acts.

"I have long admired the playwrights who have received this honor and it's such a joy to be amongst them,” explains playwright Lisa Sanaye Dring. “This is a fantastic program, both for individual artists and theater companies, and it's part of the reason that we are seeing such tremendous work come from our community during this time. The freedom and time that this award buys me is invaluable, in my opinion, these are the two most precious resources for any artist. And I thank my lucky stars that LANPP has granted me such a gift."

Dring is an Emmy-nominated writer and a recipient of the PLAY LA Stage Raw/Humanitas Prize. Earlier this year the playwright had two world premiere stage productions running simultaneously in Southern California at the Skylight Theatre (Hungry Ghost) and at the La Jolla Playhouse with Ma-Yi Theater Company (SUMO). She has recently worked on multiple projects with Meow Wolf and was a member of The Geffen Playhouse Writers' Room. Lisa was awarded the 2021 Dorothy and Granville Hicks Residency at Yaddo, which honors one promising young writer a year.

Laura Annawyn Shamas is a Los Angles playwright and a member of the Chickasaw Nation. Her play, FOUR WOMEN IN RED, centers around a group of Native American women who search for and mourn Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (#MMIW). The play will be produced by the Victory Theatre Сenter. This play was presented at the 2022 Festival of New Plays as part of the Autry Museum's Native Voices program. A monologue from the play was published in the Smith and Kraus The Best Women's Monologues 2022. In 2021, Shamas was part of the Indigenous Writers Collaborative at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, generously supported the initial dramaturgy for the full-length version of FOUR WOMEN IN RED. Laura has written forty plays and is currently writing a novel.

"I'm filled with gratitude - especially because of what this play is about - Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (#MMIW) and resilience. At times I have wondered if I should stop writing but this award encourages me to continue. The new play scene in Los Angeles theater is very rich and vibrant--more so than it's given credit for on a national basis and I am very happy that this play will have its world premiere in L.A. I am beyond grateful to Maria Gobetti, the late Tom Ormeny, and the Victory Theatre Center for nominating it. Maria saw a virtual reading of it in 2021, presented by Transformation Theatre in D.C., and has been supportive of the show ever since. Native Voices at the Autry was a major force in the play's development, since it premiered there online as a short play in 2020, and then the full length version was part of their 2022 Festival of New Plays. Their support has meant the world to me. Theater is a collective, collaborative art form, and I'm so grateful to be supported by so many talented people with this show, including everyone at LANPP."

Los Angeles New Play Project supports new and original works presented on small stages within Los Angeles County. In 2023, each of the two playwrights received grants of $20,000. Each of the submitting producers will receive an additional $20,000 to help offset the cost of producing. But there are many steps in between that rely on the facilities and input of the various theatres within the LA theatre community. Clearly, it takes a village! Winning productions must begin rehearsal within 18 months of the granting of the award in order to remain eligible for the $20,000 production award.  

By helping to support new works with the financial grants, LANPP is hoping to help usher in quality new writing for the vibrant and evolving Los Angeles small and midsize theatre community, and to encourage the production of exciting, untried plays.

LANPP was founded in 2021. For more information regarding the Los Angeles New Play Project please consult the website:

Photo credit: Todd Cheney