Playwrights Theatre to Begin Working With Third Round of NJEWP Participants

Playwrights Theatre to Begin Working With Third Round of NJEWP Participants

In 2012, Playwrights Theatre began the New Jersey Emerging Women Playwrights Project (NJEWP) as part of its larger ongoing effort to provide meaningful support to playwrights through an authentic development process that focuses on the specific and individual needs of the writer.

This year's participating playwrights include Chisa Hutchinson, Suzanne Trauth and Maryanne Melloan Woods. Like the previous two rounds of writers, each will have three private readings of their plays, and a final reading during the Forum Series in April 2015.

New Jersey has an abundance of talented and committed women playwrights, but there are very few opportunities for these artists to form relationships with organizations that will make a long-term commitment to developing both their work and their presence in the community. The NJEWP will put into place a process that will identify writers, provide a long-term writer-driven development process, and provide connections for the writer to other writers, informed audiences, and the larger theatrical community, both in New Jersey and nationwide.

The first round of women playwrights included: Lia Romeo, Dania Ramos, Carrie Louise Nutt and Dominique Cieri. Over the course of twelve months, the writers each had four readings of their plays, three private reading that were scheduled by the writer and a final public reading. Final readings of all of these women's plays were held during Playwrights Theatre's Forum Reading Series in December 2012. The pilot project had the funding of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Puffin Foundation. Bios and program descriptions can be found on Playwrights Theatre's website.

Last year's women playwrights included: EM Lewis, Claire Porter and Yasmine Beverly Rana (who was honored as an Outstanding Women of New Jersey by Glamour magazine at the opening of the new Tommy Hilfiger store in Paramus, NJ).

"We've had enormous success with the plays and writers who have been through the program," said John Pietrowski, Artistic Director of Playwrights Theatre. "Lia Romeo's play from the project, 'Reality', is being produced this year at HotCity in St. Louis, MO., Dominique Cieri was a finalist for the New York City-based InterArts Festival, and Dania Ramos was a national runner-up in Repertorio Español's Nuevos Voces 2013-14 Festival. Our second round artists are beginning to get positive responses to their works as they finish them. And we are very much looking forward to what our third-round writers will come up with. You can see outlines of their projects on our website."

About the Playwrights: Chisa Hutchinson earned a B.A. from Vassar College and an M.F.A from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Her plays, which include DIRT RICH, SHE LIKE GIRLS,THIS IS NOT THE PLAY, SEX ON SUNDAY, TUNDE'S TRUMPET, THE SUBJECT, MAMA'S GONNA BUY YOU, SOMEBODY'S DAUGHTER, ALONDRA WAS HERE and DEAD & BREATHING have been presented by such venues as the Lark Play Development Center, SummerStage, Atlantic Theater Company, Working Man's Clothes Productions, the BE Company, Partial Comfort Productions, Mad Dog Theater Company and the Wild Project. After being a Dramatists Guild Fellow, a Lark Fellow, a Resident at the William Inge Center for the Arts, a New York NeoFuturist and a staff writer for the Blue Man Group, she is thrilled to be one of the newest members of New Dramatists. Chisa has won a GLAAD Award, the John Golden Award for Excellence in Playwriting, a Lilly Award and a New York Innovative Theatre Award, and has been a finalist for the highly coveted PoNY Fellowship. A recent foray into screenwriting won her Best Narrative Short at the Sonoma International Film Festival, so she's really looking forward to seeing how her first feature film, an adaptation of her play, THE SUBJECT, turns out. By day, Chisa writes copy for a retail company. To learn more about Chisa, visit

Suzanne Trauth's plays include iDream, supported by the National Science Foundation's STEM initiative on science and technology, presented at Premiere Stages; Françoise, which received a staged reading at Luna Stage; and Katrina: the K Word, based on interviews with New Orleans' survivors of Hurricane Katrina, and produced on university campuses throughout the US. Ms. Trauth also directed a staged reading of the play at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. Her screenplays Solitaire and Boomer Broads have won awards at the Austin Film Festival and the Writer's Network Competition and, most recently, she wrote and directed the short film Jigsaw. Ms. Trauth has co-authored Sonia Moore and American Acting Training and co-edited Katrina on Stage: Five Plays (Northwestern University Press). For TheatreFest, she directed, served as Associate Producer, and founded the experimental Next Stage. She co-produced and directed productions at the Ensemble Studio Theatre (NYC), the Whole Theatre, and 12 Miles West. Ms. Trauth served as Assistant Artistic Director and faculty member at the Sonia Moore Studio in NYC and performed for the American Stanislavski Theatre. As part of a global initiative, she directed The Crucible for the Theatre-on-Podol in the Ukraine. She is a former member of the theatre faculty at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ where she coordinated the BFA Acting Program.

Maryanne Melloan Woods is a playwright, screenwriter and educator whose plays have been produced throughout the United States. Raised in London and New Jersey, Maryanne received a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Drew University and an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Maryanne's plays have been produced by theatres and programs such as HBO's New Writers Project, the Mark Taper Forum, Foundry Theatre Works, The Joint Theatre Company and First Stage in Los Angeles, Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, About Face and TheatreTweed in New York, City Theatre of Pittsburgh, Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo and the Barn Theatre in New Jersey. Maryanne has won the New England Theatre Conference's John Gassner Playwriting Contest and the Venice (CA) Playwrights' Festival. She also received a playwriting grant from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Her play, Smells Like Gin, was the first play produced by Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey. She has had residencies at the Dorset Colony House in Vermont and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. In her career as a tv writer/producer, Maryanne has written shows for networks incuding Showtime, NBC, ABC, Fox, the WB, Nickelodeon and ABC Family. She's also developed TV pilots for Walt Disney TV and Paramount. She has taught screenwriting at the Gotham Writers Workshop in New York, UCLA and the American Film Institute, and served as a panelist for TV writing seminars at NYU and the University of Wisconsin. Maryanne was also a mentor/teacher for The Unusual Suspects, a playwriting workshop for at-risk teens in L.A. Maryanne is the author of the non-fiction book, Rock and Roll Revealed. She is currently working on a novel based on one of her TV pilots.

About Playwrights Theatre: Founded in 1986, Playwrights Theatre is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit professional theatre and arts education institution dedicated to developing and nurturing the dramatic imagination of artists, students, and audiences. Our New Play Program creates development opportunities for professional writers through readings, workshops and productions, and invites audiences to participate in authentic feedback experiences. Our New Jersey Writers Project, Poetry Out Loud, New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest and Festival, and Creative Arts Academy programs provide a comprehensive and hands-on arts education experience to over 31,000 students, Pre-K through adult.

Writers in the New Play Program are drawn from across the country, including our affiliation with the National New Play Network, a nation-wide group of theatres dedicated to the development and production of new work. Teaching Artists in our Education Programs are professional artists working in their field in the New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. From 2003-2016, we have been designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (along with only five other theatres: The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, George Street Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center, Two River Theatre and Paper Mill Playhouse) as "an anchor institution that contributes vitally to the quality of life in New Jersey."

Funding for our activities comes from: the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, Inc., Dramatist Guild Fund, Horizon Foundation of New Jersey, The Shubert Foundation, The Victoria Foundation, and many corporations, foundations and individuals.

Playwrights Theatre is a member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the National New Play Network, and Madison Arts & Culture Alliance.

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