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Seven Writers Selected For Echo Theater Company's 2021 Playwrights Lab

Selected artists include Amanda L. Andrei, Diana Burbano, June Carryl, Ricardo Perez Gonzalez, Hannah Kenah, Liza Powel O'Brien and LaDarrion Williams

Seven Writers Selected For Echo Theater Company's 2021 Playwrights Lab

Los Angeles-based Echo Theater Company, dedicated to creating new work for the theater, has announced the names of seven playwrights who will participate in the company's 2021 Playwrights Lab.

Facilitated by co-directors Brian Otaño and Hannah Wolf, playwrights Amanda L. Andrei, Diana Burbano, June Carryl, Ricardo Perez Gonzalez, Hannah Kenah, Liza Powel O'Brien and LaDarrion Williams will work together to develop new material that will be presented in LABFest, the LAB's festival of public readings at the end of the year.

Founded in 1997, the Echo Theater Company has gained a reputation for producing and developing exciting new work. NPR affiliate KCRW 89.9 FM recently declared that "Echo Theater Company is on a fierce journey." The Echo has won countless Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, Ovation, LA Weekly and Stage Raw awards, and is frequently cited on end-of-the-year "Best of Lists" including by the Los Angeles Times, LA Observed and KCRW, among others. The company was anointed "Best Bet for Ballsy Original Plays" by the LA Weekly and was a recipient of a "Kilroy Cake Drop" to honor its efforts to produce women and trans writers. Los Angeles Times theater critic Charles McNulty wrote, "Artistic directors of theaters of all sizes would be wise to follow the [lead] of the Echo's Chris Fields, who [is] building audience communities eager for the challenge of path-breaking plays."

Amanda L. Andrei has roots in the Philippines and Romania, hails from Virginia/ Washington D.C., and currently resides in Los Angeles. Her plays include Black Sky, Lena Passes By, Crocodile (The Last Escape and Every Night I Die. Her work has been read and/or developed by Playwrights Arena, La MaMa, Son of Semele, Madison New Works Lab, Relative Theatrics, Bucharest Inside the Beltway, La-Ti-Do, Georgetown University, College of William and Mary, and others. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, Playground LA's Writers Pool (2018 - present), and is a proud alum of VONA and Atlantic Center for the Arts. She has taught playwriting and creative writing to students, artists and engineers across the country as well as online. She has a B.A. from the College of William & Mary, an M.A. from Georgetown University, and is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing at the University of Southern California.

Diana Burbano, a Colombian immigrant, is an Equity actor, a playwright and a teaching artist at South Coast Repertory and Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble. Diana’s plays focus on female protagonists and social issues. Written work includes Policarpa (Living Room at the Blank 2018, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Brown Swan lab 2017); Fabulous Monsters (Latinx Play Festival, San Diego Rep 2017); Caliban’s Island (2017 Headwaters New Play Festival); Enemy|Flint which premiered in April at Rio Hondo College; and Linda (in English and in Spanish), which has been seen all over the world. She was a writer on Rogue Artists Ensemble’s Señor Plummer’s Final Fiesta.

June Carryl grew up in Montbello in northeast Denver and studied political science as an undergraduate before transitioning to the English Literature Master's program at Brown University. Her plays include Consortium (Lower Depths Theatre Ensemble BIPOC Vote Plays); Tow (Coeurage Theatre's Nomad Project); The Life And Death Of (Vagrancy Theatre); Colossus (semi-finalist, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference); Boom (semi-finalist, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference); The Good Minister from Harare (Playwrights Arena Summer Series, Saroyan/Paul Award); and Stone Angels (finalist, the Killroys). She is currently collaborating on an opera with composer Jason Barabba about Aunt Jemima, and developing a new play, N*GGA B*TCH for Vagrancy Theatre's Blossoming Project. She has directed theater for various companies in Los Angeles including, most recently, Chandra Thomas' Untitled, Circus Play and Phanesia Pharel's Black Girl Joy (Echo Theatre Young Playwrights); Road Home (Sky Pilot Theatre); and When We Breathe (Blossoming Festival, Vagrancy Theatre); and makes her feature film directing debut with Born That Way. As an actor, June's favorite theater roles include Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret (Celebration Theatre) and Gerty Fail in Failure, A Love Story (Coeurage Theatre). She can currently be seen in Netflix' Mindhunter and Hulu's Helstrom.

Ricardo Perez Gonzalez splits his writing time between his stoop garden in N.Y.C and his window garden in L.A. Writing credits include the drag ball musical Neon Baby (book writer/co-lyricist, Pregones 2013); Inside Out (commissioned by Pregones to address anti-gay bullying); Ashé, his Puerto Rican-style two brothers myth (UP Theater, 2013; Repertorio, 2016; Labyrinth, 2017); his transgender family drama La casa de Ocaso (Asunción Playwriting Competition, 2010); his BDSM drama R.A.C.K.; and his short film Losses and Gains about gay male body image. Works in progress include a comedic play about cultural scapegoating, Name & Blame, Inc., and a play about the cutthroat world of women in academia, The Judgment of Athena.

Hannah Kenah is a playwright, performer, director and devised theater artist. Her full-length plays, including Three Shitty Sons, With Great Difficulty Alice Sits, Everything is Established and Guest By Courtesy, have been seen in Austin, New York, Cape Cod, Vancouver, Bulgaria and soon-to-be in St. Louis. A Midwesterner by way of Texas now living in Los Angeles, Hannah has been developing original theatrical performance for two decades, primarily with the Rude Mechs and with Salvage Vanguard Theater. Her work with the Rude Mechs includes writing Field Guide, commissioned by and premiered at Yale Repertory Theatre, and Now Now Oh Now, which toured nationally. Additionally Hannah has developed work with Paper Chairs, Physical Plant, Sibyl Kempson & New Dramatists, Jennifer Kidwell and Pig Iron, Harbor Stage Company, and Underbelly. Her theatrical education includes an M.F.A. from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin, a B.A. from Dartmouth College, and a certificate of physical theatre from Dell'Arte International.

Liza Powel O'Brien is a playwright whose work has been seen and developed at The Geffen Playhouse, Blank Theatre, Unscreened LA, Naked Angels LA, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Hedgebrook and The Lark. She was an inaugural member of the Writer's Room at the Geffen, and holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from Columbia University.

LaDarrion Williams is a Los Angeles based-playwright, filmmaker and screenwriter. His first play, Concrete Rose, a Hurricane Katrina drama, won first place at the Alabama State Thespian Conference. It was also apart of A Noise Within Theatre for their Noise Now Reading Series and is set for upcoming East and West Coast premieres. His play Broken Memories was performed several times nationwide, acquiring several awards and recognition. His adaptation of the best-selling memoir Feeding A Monster was directed by award-winning actor and director, Art Evans at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood. He was a guest writer for Center Theatre Groups' August Wilson Monologue Competition, and his play Black Creek Risin' was a part of the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, Nebraska. Coco Queens was a part of the 2019 Sundance Institute's Playwriting Intensive and is currently a semi-finalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwriting Conference. LaDarrion is also a current member of L.A.'s Towne Street Theatre Company and a resident playwright/co-creator of The Black Creators.

For more information about the Echo Theater Company and the Playwrights Lab, visit www.echotheatercompany.com.


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