Rising Phoenix Repertory Announces Lina Patel As The Recipient Of The Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award

The award takes its name from Cornelia Street in the West Village, which has been home to the work of some of the nation's greatest playwrights.

By: May. 23, 2024
Rising Phoenix Repertory Announces Lina Patel As The Recipient Of The Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award
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Rising Phoenix Repertory has announced Lina Patel as the recipient of this year's Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award. The honor is presented to an emerging playwright of exceptional work ethic, character, and talent. 

The award takes its name from Cornelia Street in the West Village, which has been home to the work of some of the nation's greatest playwrights, including Eugene O'Neill, Maria Irene Fornés, Lanford Wilson, and John Guare, and was also the location of Caffe Cino, one of the birthplaces of the Off-Off Broadway theatre movement. 

The Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award carries a cash prize, and previous recipients are Ren Dara Santiago (The Siblings Play, The MTA Radio Plays at Rattlestick), Ryan Haddad (Hi, Are You Single? at The Public, Wooly Mammoth/IAMA), Larry Powell (The Gaze) and Amy Berryman (Walden).

Playwright José Rivera said, “Lina is a one-of-a-kind theatre artist with amazing range, depth, and passion.  Her work tells stories of unheralded people, too often overlooked, with a humanitarian's eye for heart-stopping detail.  Funny, poignant, and deeply relevant to our time, Lina is an artist deserving of celebration and support.”

"I have been a passionate supporter of Lina Patel's writing since 2010, when we first worked together at Silk Road Rising in Chicago,” says playwright and mentor David Henry Hwang. “In her epic storytelling, her blazing theatricality, and her sublime poetry, she is a groundbreaking and fearless playwright who moves the American theatre forward. I feel certain that the legendary Caffe Cino playwright Maria Irene Fornés, with whom I had the great privilege of studying, would have loved Lina's work as much as I do."

Lina Patel is a multi-disciplinary artist dedicated to telling stories for a broad audience to give voice to the marginalized. Her theater work explores disability, non-traditional relationships, and power in an unstable world. Upcoming work includes Sick Girl or Don't Hate Me Cuz I'm Pretty at PlayFest Indy with Summit Theater; and her UCLA/Playwright's Arena commissioned new play, Traces of Desire, inspired by Lope De Vega's Widow of Valencia is being published by Bloomsbury, U.K. 

On television, Lina has worked on shows across diverse genres. She was a co-producer on Ava DuVernay's nuanced series, Cherish the Day, which explores Black love. She previously worked as an Executive Story Editor on DC's character-driven, morally complex sci-fi drama, Krypton, and as a Staff Writer on the CW's family drama about fate versus free will, Frequency. In 2024, Lina is developing both her original pilot about mental health and law enforcement for BET Plus and her first hybrid-animation project about a rocket prodigy in search of her missing mother with Aaron Simpson and Trioscope Studios. 

Theater work (selected): The Ragged Claws, nominated for Cherry Lane's Mentor Project; Sankalpan (Desire), an adaptation of Chekhov's Three Sisters set in pre-Partition India presented at RADA; Karma produced at The Echo Theater Company, directed by Daniel Talbott; Win produced at East West Players/Japanese American National Museum, directed by Jennifer Chang; Sweet Life produced at the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival, directed by Jedadiah Schultz. Additional Commissions and Workshops (selected): Yale Repertory Theatre (Commissioned Artist), the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF Presents), The New Group, East West Players (Writer's Group Alumna), Center Theater Group (Writer's Group Alumna), Chalk Repertory (Commissioned Artist), Ammunition Theater (Company Member). Lina received an NEA grant for her play Half-Breed Spy or, How I Learned to Love Imperialists which was workshopped at Circle X Theater and directed by John Langs. Residencies include: New Harmony Project (2012 and 2021), The Sewanee Writers Conference (Walter E. Dakin Fellow). In 2024, Lina was one of five writers invited to develop work with The Lark Playwright's Workshop at 2nd Stage. She is currently co-moderating and a member of Rogue Machine Theater's inaugural Playwright's Roundtable. 

Lina got her start as a critically acclaimed actor and voiceover artist. On stage, she has performed both in Los Angeles and regionally, including the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pasadena Playhouse, East West Players, Boston Court, the Echo, Chalk Rep, and The Globe Theaters. 

Lina is a Lecturer of Theater at Pomona College, where she teaches playwriting. At Pomona, she has also served as dramaturg for the mainstage production of Much Ado About Nothing. Lina has taught screenwriting at East West Players and will soon join the faculty at Primary Stages. She is a proud member of the Writer's Guild of America West and SAG-AFTRA. Lina received her MFA from USD/Globe Theaters and her BFA from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award, Caffe Cino Fellowship, and New York Innovative Theatre Award, Rising Phoenix Repertory was founded in 1999 by Artistic Director Daniel Talbott. The company produces primarily new plays – both in the Indie Theatre and Off-Broadway – in traditional spaces and site-specifically around New York City and regionally. Productions include The Siblings Play by Ren Dara Santiago (produced with Rattlestick), The Convent by Jessica Dickey (produced with Weathervane and Rattlestick), Thieves (with Weathervane), A Fable (with piece by piece productions and Rattlestick), the Lucille Lortel Award-winning Off-Broadway run of All the Rage by Martin Moran (with piece by piece and The Barrow Group), 3C (with piece by piece and Rattlestick) and Elective Affinities by David Adjmi (produced site-specifically with piece by piece and Soho Rep), Slipping (with piece by piece and Rattlestick), and Too Much Memory (with piece by piece), which transferred to the New York Theatre Workshop's Fourth Street Theatre after winning the FringeNYC award for Outstanding Play in 2008. Rising Phoenix Repertory produces an ongoing series called Cino Nights, inspired by Joe Cino and his Caffe Cino – one of the original birthplaces of Off-Off-Broadway theatre – for which the company has commissioned over twenty playwrights to write new, full-length plays, which are fully produced site-specifically on a shoestring budget. Two volumes of Cino Nights plays have been published by The New York Theatre Experience, and the company has published a theater magazine called Caffe Cino (edited by Talbott and Steve McMahon). 


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