Ensemble Studio Theatre Announces 2022/23 Youngblood Members

Now in its 29th year, Youngblood serves as a creative home for the next generation of theatre artists.

By: Nov. 16, 2022
Ensemble Studio Theatre Announces 2022/23 Youngblood Members

Ensemble Studio Theatre's Youngblood program has announced new members for the 2022-2023 season: Lyndsey Bourne, K'yana Faulkner-Smith, Renae Jarrett, kl, Charlie Oh, Holly Settoon, Danny Tejera, and Susan Yassky.

Ensemble Studio Theatre celebrates the 2022/23 season's new members of Youngblood, the Obie Award-winning collective of emerging professional playwrights. Now in its 29th year, Youngblood serves as a creative home for the next generation of theatre artists. Youngblood provides artistic guidance, peer support, regular feedback and a fertile production environment, which allows member playwrights to hone their skills and explore their craft. The group also provides exposure to the public and the press, professional outreach to the industry, and opportunities for production and publication.

The new writers join returning Youngblood members Harron Atkins, Brysen Boyd, Jake Brasch, Jeesun Choi, AJ Clauss, Edison Ventura Mata Diaz, Gracie Gardner, Ava Geyer, Dylan Guerra, Miz Hashimoto, Justice Hehir, Lily Houghton, Anchuli Felicia King, Nadja Leonhard-Hooper, Sam Mueller, Ife Olujobi, Phanésia Pharel, Mona Pirnot, Nia Akilah Robinson, Phaedra Michelle Scott, Lizzie Stern, and Celeste Yim.

This year's graduating playwrights are Brittany K. Allen, Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Julia Doolittle, Michael Feldman, Jahna Ferron-Smith, Dan Giles, Sofya Levitsky-Weitz, Megan Chan Meinero, Julia Specht, and Sanaz Toossi. While they will no longer be meeting regularly with Youngblood, EST will be inviting them back to write for one last Brunch, EST's recurring Sunday short play series by the writers of Youngblood. The first Brunch of the season will be December 4th, with the subsequent installments to be announced.

Playwrights whose professional careers began in the Youngblood program have gone on to success at the highest levels of the industry. Youngblood playwrights have been honored with Pulitzer Prizes, Obie Awards, MacArthur Fellowships, Tony Award nominations, Outer Critics Circle Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe Award nominations.

ABOUT Ensemble Studio Theatre

The Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST), founded by Curt Dempster in 1968, was under the artistic direction of William Carden beginning in 2007, and will be assuming new artistic leadership beginning December 2022. In over 50 years, EST has developed thousands of new American plays and has grown into a company of over 600 actors, directors, playwrights, and designers.

EST's mission is to develop and produce original, provocative, and authentic new work. A dynamic community committed to a collaborative process, EST is dedicated to inclusion across all aspects of identity and perspective, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexuality, physical or mental ability, physical or mental health, and recovery while acknowledging and working to end systemic marginalization and oppression at all levels of its organization. EST discovers and nurtures new voices and supports artists throughout their creative lives. This extraordinary support and commitment to inclusivity are essential to yield extraordinary work.

EST's primary programs include Youngblood, a collective of emerging professional playwrights; the EST/Sloan Project, a partnership that commissions, develops, and produces new works about science and technology; and the biennial Marathon of One-Act Plays, a landmark New York theatre festival since 1977.


Youngblood (Graeme Gillis and RJ Tolan, Artistic Directors) is EST's Obie Award-winning, Drama Desk-cited collective of emerging professional playwrights, providing artistic guidance, peer support, regular feedback and a fertile production environment which allows playwrights to hone their skills and explore their craft. Since 1993, Youngblood has fostered dozens of playwrights who've gone on to acclaimed careers in theatre, television, and film, and the group continues to serve as a creative home for the next generation of theater artists.


Lyndsey Bourne

(she/they) is a queer Canadian writer, teacher and a birth/abortion doula working with The Doula Project. Her plays have been developed with The Tank, Dixon Place, La MaMa, New Georges, Judson, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Brooklyn College, Williams College, Theatrelab, Playwrights Horizons, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ojai Playwrights Conference, New York Stage and Film and Ars Nova. They have been a resident artist at The Barn Arts Collective, Stillwright (Erik Ehn's Silent Writing Retreat), Judson and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Lyndsey teaches at Playwrights Horizons Theater School (NYU) and previously taught at Williams College. They are a New Georges affiliated artist, a member of the New Georges Jam, a 2022 New Georges Audrey Resident, A 2022 Writer in Residence at The Ojai Playwrights Conference, a member of EST/Youngblood and the recipient of a 2020 NYC Women's Fund for Media, Music and Theater Grant. BFA NYU, MFA Brooklyn College (studied with Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney). Lyndsey also practices beekeeping at her community garden in Brooklyn.

K'yana Faulkner-Smith

K'yana Faulkner-Smith's passion for storytelling was born out of necessity during a nomadic childhood for both connection and survival. After relocating to NYC by way of Honolulu she obtained her BFA in Dramatic Arts from The New School for Drama and later, her MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch School of The Arts. Her work in film, theatre, and animation is often centered on magical realism, fantasy and horror, and she is especially drawn to groundbreaking and underexplored narratives within the Black community. She is currently based in Brooklyn and employed as Executive Assistant to Lynn Nottage and production team member at Market Road Films.

Renae Jarrett

is a playwright living in Brooklyn. She is a member of EST/Youngblood and a 2022 MacDowell Fellow. She is an alum of Clubbed Thumb Early Career Writers' Group and recently graduated from UT Austin's MFA Playwriting program. In addition to writing plays, she has dabbled in arts criticism, gardening, and over-analyzing reality television with anyone who will listen. Her theatre heroes are Adrienne Kennedy, Wallace Shawn, and Caryl Churchill.


(they/she/Kaia) is a Black queer playwright and memoirist from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, now based in Brooklyn. Her play ON EITHER SIDE OF ALL THE LATE UNPLEASANTNESS will receive a workshop production from Possibilities Theatre Company in Chicago this autumn. They are a member of Clubbed Thumb's 2022 Early Career Writers' Group and an alum of Fresh Ground Pepper's Playground Play Group (2021), HBMG Foundation's National Winter Playwrights Retreat (2020), and the Sewanee Writers' Conference (Tennessee Williams Scholar in Playwriting, 2019). Kaia's work has been developed with/presented by The Black Box Project NYC, The Starfruit Project, The Playground Experiment, Possibilities Theatre Company, and Strange Trace Opera Company. B.A.: Washington University in St. Louis.

Charlie Oh

Charlie Oh's plays have been developed at Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, The Lark, Second Stage, The Goodman, the BMI Lehmen Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and the American Music Theater Project. His play LONG won the Kennedy Center's Paula Vogel Award In Playwriting, placed second for the Mark Twain Prize for Comedic Playwriting, and was a 2019 Honorable Mention for The American Playwriting Foundation's Relentless Award. His play Coleman 72 won the Kennedy Center's Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award and will premiere at South Coast Rep spring 2023, directed by Chay Yew. Commissioned by Manhattan Theater Club and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and developing projects for television with Amazon Studios and Universal. A recent graduate of The Juilliard School's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program. BA: Northwestern University.

Holly Settoon

is a playwright, actor, and screenwriter from southeast Louisiana living in Brooklyn. Her plays include I, Too, Am Filled With Hope (The Secret Theatre), 3122 Florence, and Greek Play. She has performed at venues across NYC, including HERE Arts Center and Dixon Place. Her screenwriting work has been featured in the Bushwick Film Festival, the HollyShorts Film Festival and the WorldFest Houston International Film Festival. She attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and received her BFA from Southern Methodist University.

Danny Tejera

is a writer, actor and teacher from Madrid. He's a member of EST/Youngblood and has received fellowships from MacDowell, Millay Arts, and Tofte Lake Center. He's currently under commission from Second Stage Theater. Plays include TOROS (Second Stage Judith Champion New Voices Series) and SCARY FACES HAPPY FACES (Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival). Danny is a proud Teaching Artist with The Bushwick Starr's Senior Storytelling program. He got a B.A. from Columbia University and a Playwriting M.F.A. at Hunter College/UT-Austin, where he was mentored by Annie Baker and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. He's represented by 2AM.

Susan Yassky

(she/her) is a Brooklyn-based playwright and dramaturg. Her work has been developed by the Professional Training Company at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Previously, she was the Literary Associate for The Civilians, and a Dramaturgy and Literary Management Apprentice at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she worked as an assistant dramaturg on three productions in the 2019 Humana Festival of New American Plays. She received her MFA in Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in 2022, where she was awarded the Chair's Award for Excellence in Dramatic Writing. She received her BA in Theater Studies and Humanities from Yale College.