Gingold Theatrical Group Announces 2020-'21 Speakers' Corner Writers Group

The writers are Kate Douglas, Aeneas Sagar Hemphill, Divya Mangwani, Seth McNeill, Sophie Sagan-Gutherz, and Marcus Scott.

By: Nov. 19, 2020
Gingold Theatrical Group Announces 2020-'21 Speakers' Corner Writers Group

Gingold Theatrical Group, now in its 15th Season, is continuing its new play development with the SPEAKERS' CORNER Writers Group. For the 2020-'21 season, writers Kate Douglas, Aeneas Sagar Hemphill, Divya Mangwani, Seth McNeill, Sophie Sagan-Gutherz, and Marcus Scott will develop works in response to Shaw's Arms and the Man.

Named after the corner of London's Hyde Park where George Bernard Shaw and other political speakers have delivered speeches since 1855, GTG's SPEAKERS' CORNER brings together six to ten writers each year who will spend the year exploring a specific Shaw play and writing individual new plays in response to that text and Shaw's forward thinking humanitarian ideals.

The group is led by GTG Associate Director Ilana Becker, a producer and director specializing in new play and musical development, community-driven projects, and arts education. In addition to serving as Gingold Theatrical Group's Associate Director, Ilana is The Civilians' R&D Program Director. She has served on the staff of All for One Theater, Lincoln Center Education, and Bret Adams Ltd, and spent a year as the Associate Artistic Director and Interim Artistic Director of Sun Valley Center for the Arts' Company of Fools. Ilana is a proud member of the WP Theater 2018-2020 Producers Lab, an alum of The Civilians' R&D Group, Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, DirectorsLabChicago, Fresh Ground Pepper PlayGroup, The Orchard Project's Liveness Lab, as well as a Playwrights Horizons Robert Moss Directing Fellow and an Emerging Leader of NY Arts Fellow. She is the creator of Argument Sessions, an ongoing series of immersive variety-theater events that weave SCOTUS argument transcripts and decisions with ensemble-driven, collaboratively developed original material, and is a member of Producing Blue.

"These six exceptional playwrights bring their unique perspectives, voices, and visions to Speakers' Corner. We are inspired by their collective compassion and humor as we hone our communal digital space for new play development. GTG's work inherently acknowledges our connection to the generations that came before us, and the experiences of those that follow. It's true a thrill to anticipate how this group of inquisitive creators and arts activists will interpret this moment in conversation with Shaw and his work (no pressure!)," says Ms. Becker.

Speakers' Corner members will meet virtually, bi-monthly, and GTG will host showings of the works that Speakers' Corner develops at the end of the season. The group's members were identified through an open application process under the guidance of Becker, GTG Artistic Director David Staller, and this season's Speakers' Corner Readers and Advisory Committee: é boylan, Stephanie Rolland, Dina Vovsi, along with Speakers' Corner alumni Hank Kim, Mallory Jane Weiss, and Lorenzo Roberts.

Kate Douglas (she/her) is a writer, composer and performer. Recent work includes The Ninth Hour, her operetta with Shayfer James at The Met Cloisters (the first performance of its kind in the Fuentidueña Chapel), her immersive play Extinct (produced with support from a LMCC Engagement Grant) and her audio experience Dandelion Story, which received an Honorable Mention from SPACE on Ryder Farm's CSArt Program. Her work has been developed at The Orchard Project, New Victory Theater, The Civilians R&D Group, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Rhinebeck Musicals and the Writer's Colony at Goodspeed. She is a Dramatists Guild Fellow and a current member of The Orchard Project Greenhouse. As a complement to her artistic practice, she is a student of herbalism, horticulture and biodynamic craniosacral therapy.

Aeneas Sagar Hemphill (he/him) is an Indian-American playwright and screenwriter based in NYC and DC. Weaving through many genres, his work builds new worlds to illuminate our own, investigating the ghosts that haunt our lives and communities with passion, pathos, and humor. He was a 2019 Resident Artist with Monson Arts Center and 2017-2018 Playlab fellow at Pipeline Theatre, as well as semi-finalist for the 2019 Princess Grace Award, semi-finalist for the 2019 Mabou Mines Resident Artist Program, and finalist for the 2017 Many Voices Fellowship. His plays include: Black Hollow (Argo Collective, Dreamscape Theatre), The Troll King (Pipeline), Childhood Songs (Monson Arts), The Republic of Janet & Arthur (Amios), The Red Balloon (Noor Theatre), A Stitch Here or There (DarkHorse Dramatists, Slingshot Theatre), A Horse and a Housecat (Slingshot Theatre). MFA Playwriting, Columbia University.

Divya Mangwani (she/her) is a writer and theatre artist from Pune, India, now based in New York. She examines the absurdities of the social, political and mythical. Divya was the founder and Artistic Director of Moonbeam Factory Theatre, where she wrote, directed and produced plays that were staged in India, Singapore and Glasgow. In New York, she has developed work with UNICEF, Soho Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, The Flea, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Mabou Mines, Hypokrit Theatre, Project Y, Pipeline Theatre, Rising Sun, LMCC and Governors Island. Selected work: Elements of Change (UN Climate Change Week), Yes, Uncle (finalist, Leah Ryan Prize 2018), Rise of the River (semi-finalist Playwrights Realm 2019), and One, Two, Three (winner of best script, director, play and audience vote, Short+Sweet Festival). Divya was a NYTW 2050 Artistic Fellow, Hypokrit Theatre Tamasha playwright, Playlab fellow at Pipeline Theatre and is currently in the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab.

Seth McNeill (he/him) is a New York City based playwright and theatre artist. His plays include Bastard (Dixon Place, Last Frontier Theatre Conference, Up Theater Company), we're all athletes (Amios First Draughts, Samuel French OOB Festival), and Natchetoches (Fresh Ground Pepper, Hambidge Center, JookMS). Other plays have been presented or developed with Fresh Ground Pepper, Amios NYC, Exquisite Corpse, The Barrow Group, Primary Stages, TinyRhino, The Secret Theatre, and Rule of 7x7, and he has been a semifinalist for the Shakespeare's New Contemporaries Prize and Primary Stages ESPA Drills. As a script reader and dramaturg he has worked with Theatre for a New Audience, the American Shakespeare Center, the Hambidge Center, and The Farm Theater, and he is a two-time recipient of the Vera Mowry Roberts Fellowship. Member of the Dramatists Guild. Education: Masters from Hunter College. Teaching: Hunter College.

Sophie Sagan-Gutherz (they/them) is a NYC based writer, actor and singer. Their first full-length play Marked Green at Birth, Marked Female at Birth has been supported by Pride Plays (Rattlestick), the Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Tribe Theatre Company. They've written a monologue with the 24 Hour Play Festival (performed by Lea DeLaria) and have devised and performed a 10 minute solo piece Disability & Celebrity Culture (Am I Write Ladies?). They have been a finalist for the Emerging Writers Group (The Public) as well as a semi-finalist for The R&D Group (The Civilians) & PlaySpace (Pipeline Theatre Company). BFA: NYU Tisch in Drama with an Honors Thesis in Theatre Studies.

Marcus Scott (he/him) is a playwright and journalist. Selected works: Fidelio (Libretto; Heartbeat Opera at Baruch Performing Arts Center, 2018; called "poignant" by The New York Times), Tumbleweed (Finalist for the 2017 BAPF; semi-finalist for the 2017/'18 New Dramatists Princess Grace Fellowship Award), Cherry Bomb (recipient of the 2017 Drama League First Stage Artist-In-Residence; 2017 Finalist for the Yale Institute for Music Theatre) and Sundown Town (Finalist for Abingdon Theatre Company's Virtual Fall Festival Of Short Plays). His work has been developed or presented by Joe's Pub, 54 Below, APAC, Dixon Place, Space on Ryder Farm, Cherry Lane Theater (DUAF), CoLAB Arts, Symphony Space, MicroTheater Miami, among others. Scott is a four-time finalist for the R&D Group at The Civilians, a two-time finalist for NBT's I AM SOUL Playwrights Residency and a 2019 finalist for the Bushwick Starr's Starr Reading Series. His articles appeared in Time Out New York, American Theatre, Playbill, Elle, Out, Essence, among others. MFA: NYU Tisch.

In addition to Speakers' Corner, GTG's on-going play development also includes PRESS CUTTINGS, which, in recognition of Shaw's career as a theatre critic, supports the development of new plays written by theatre journalists. Press Cuttings has commissioned new plays by Jeremy McCarter, Robert Simonson, and David Cote, and, in June of 2017, presented an AEA workshop of David Cote's Otherland directed by May Adrales.

Now celebrating its 15th year, Gingold Theatrical Group's Project Shaw made history in December 2009 as the first company ever to present performances of every one of Shaw's 65 plays (including full-length works, one-acts and sketches). They are now also including plays by writers who share Shaw's activist socio-political views embracing human rights and free speech, including work by Chekhov, Ibsen, Elizabeth Robins, Rachel Crothers, Pinero, Wilde, Barrie, and Harley Granville-Barker. GTG's other programs include its new play development and educational programs. For those interested in lively off-site discourses, each Project Shaw event is followed by a talk-back with cast members.

GTG continues to present star-studded monthly readings of Shaw plays online curing this global time of transition. Their highly acclaimed Off-Broadway engagement of Shaw's beloved almost historical comedy Caesar and Cleopatra at Theatre Row, hailed as a New York Times Critic's Pick, was named Best Classical Production in Terry Teachout's year-end recap of The Best Theater of 2019 for the Wall Street Journal: "David Staller and the Gingold Theatrical Group nailed it for the second year in a row with another insufficiently appreciated play by George Bernard Shaw, this time a small-scale off-Broadway staging of Caesar and Cleopatra that brought a rarely seen show to persuasive life." In his review earlier this year in The Wall Street Journal he declared "As always, Mr. Staller, who knows more about Shaw than anyone else in America, gets it right, situating the action of the play in a modern-day archaeological dig and keeping the costumes simple and the diction crisp and clear., ...all the more reason to cheer David Staller's splendid new adaptation of one of Shaw's most glittering, least Shakespearean conversation pieces. This is the third of Mr. Staller's small-scale Gingold Theatrical Group productions to be presented off Broadway at Theatre Row. It follows in the wake of his all-but-flawless 2018 Heartbreak House, an uncommonly hard act to follow, and leaves nothing whatsoever to be desired. May his Shaw stagings become annual events!"

For more information about Speakers' Corner Writers Group and all the projects of Gingold Theatrical Group, including the acclaimed Project Shaw, call 212-355-7823, email, or visit online at