Page 73 Announces Semifinalists for Playwriting Fellowship

Ultimately, the one selected Page 73 Playwriting Fellow will receive artistic and financial resources to develop one or more new plays of their choosing.

By: Nov. 22, 2021
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Page 73 Announces Semifinalists for Playwriting Fellowship

Page 73 has announced 10 semifinalists for the 2022 Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship. From a pool of over 300 applicants, Page 73 has selected Melis Aker, Syreeta Briggs, Vichet Chum, Kate Douglas, Ryan Drake, Marvin González De León, Majkin Holmquist, Deepa Purohit, Gab Reisman, and Haygen-Brice Walker.

Across the coming months, the Page 73 staff will further engage these playwrights' submissions and in December announce finalists; the Fellow will be announced in January. Last year, Page 73 introduced a $1,000 honorarium for all finalists, recognizing the hardships felt across artistic communities during the pandemic; Page 73 will continue to grant these funds this year.

Ultimately, the one selected Page 73 Playwriting Fellow will receive artistic and financial resources to develop one or more new plays of their choosing. They will be honored with an unrestricted award of $10,000 and a development budget, managed by Page 73 and the Fellow over the course of the Fellowship year, up to $10,000. This additional budget can be personalized to support the Fellow's proposed project and can include such expenses as research, workshop and reading presentations, and fees for collaborating artists. The Fellow will work with Page 73 on at least one public presentation of their new play, bringing in artistic collaborators such as directors, designers, and actors.

2022 marks the 19th year of Page 73's most prestigious award, annually supporting a playwright who has yet to have a professional premiere in New York City. The 2021 Fellow is Bleu Beckford-Burrell, who will continue on with the company in 2022 and receive an additional annual stipend of $10,000 in recognition of the pandemic's impact on her planned Fellowship year.

Previous Fellows include Emma Goidel (2020), Sanaz Toossi (2019), C.A. Johnson (2018), John J. Caswell, Jr. (2017), Hansol Jung (2016), Nick Gandiello (2015), Clare Barron (2014), Caroline V. McGraw (2013), Max Posner (2012), Janine Nabers (2011), Eliza Clark (2010), Heidi Schreck (2009), Tommy Smith (2008), Krista Knight (2007), Jason Grote (2006), Quiara Alegría Hudes (2005), and Kirsten Greenidge (2004).

Not long after two recent Page 73 productions-Michael R. Jackson's Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop (co-produced with and presented at Playwrights Horizons) and Zora Howard's STEW-garnered immense critical and audience acclaim, the pandemic struck; continuing on the same course became, for all of theater, an impossibility. Despite disruption, Page 73 decided to focus on their fundamental aim of supporting groundbreaking playwrights whose voices the New York theater community at large has yet to hear. Through programs including extending Interstate 73, the doubling of the Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship, 11-day playwright virtual residencies and New Play Conversations, and a new initiative offering playwrights self-directed writing retreats, Page 73 has helped playwrights ready work for the return of production. Earlier this year, the organization announced plans to produce John J. Caswell, Jr.'s Man Cave, directed by Taylor Reynolds, and Bleu Beckford-Burrell's La Race.

About the Semifinalists

Melis Aker is a writer-actor-musician originally from Turkey. Her scripts have been commissioned by/developed at the Atlantic (Middle Eastern Mixfest), Ars Nova (Play Group member), NYTW (2050 fellow), O'Neill, NAMT, Cannes Film Festival, IFP, New Group, Dramatists Guild (DGF fellow), Roundabout, Lark (MEA lab) & more in the U.S., and the Finborough and Park theatres in London. She recently worked on developing a screenplay with Revelations Entertainment headed by Morgan Freeman, wrote "Fractio Panis" starring Brian Cox for Homebound Project/No Kid Hungry directed by Tatiana Pandiani, and released her New York Times-reviewed play Scraps and Things on Playing On Air, starring Carol Kane, directed by Neil Pepe. Acting credits include: "The Equalizer" (CBS), "The Blacklist: Redemption" (NBC), "Seneca" (HBO Max), Love in Afghanistan (Arena Stage & Roundabout), Proof (Edinburgh Fringe). Melis is a recipient of the Sundance Interdisciplinary Program grant. Training: Columbia (MFA), RADA (Acting). Representation: CAA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

Syreeta Briggs is a playwright and performer from LOO-uh-vull, Kentucky, whose solo show, Teeth: A Morality Play... For an Orca-Struh Uh Black Folk Tied Uh Grinnin' is blazing new trails within the single-performer genre. Teeth debuted as an audio play on to stellar reviews, calling the show "a work of genius, compelling and crushing." While at MacDowell this February 2022, Briggs will compose her subsequent work set in the LOO-uh-vull universe.

Vichet Chum (he/him) is a Cambodian American theater maker living it up in NYC. He is the recipient of the 2021 Laurents/Hatcher Award and the 2018 Princess Grace Award. Vichet serves as a board member for the New Harmony Project, a curator for the Working Farm Residency with SPACE on Ryder Farm, a member of the Artistic Advisors Circle for Seattle Children's Theatre and a steering committee member of Asian American Performers Action Coalition. He is currently a member of the Interstate 73 Writer's Group and the Ars Nova Play Group. In the 2022/23 season, his plays High School Play: A Nostalgia Fest will have its world premiere at The Alley Theatre and Bald Sisters will have its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He is a proud graduate of the University of Evansville (BFA) and Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company (MFA). He's represented by Beth Blickers at APA.

Kate Douglas is a writer, composer and performer. Her work has been presented by The Met Cloisters, The Civilians and Ancram Opera House and developed at New Victory Theater, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Rhinebeck Musicals and The Orchard Project. Dramatists Guild Fellow (19-20), The Civilians R&D Group (19-20), GTG Speakers' Corner Writer (20-21), Jane Chambers Prize Finalist (2021). Upcoming projects include concept album The Lucky Few with Todd Almond, a tour of operetta The Ninth Hour with Shayfer James and her Horticulture Design certificate at the New York Botanical Garden.

Ryan Drake is a queer playwright and educator in Brooklyn, NY. His plays include Homesick, Or Sacred Heterosexual Spaces (2021 Rita & Burton Goldberg Award, 2021 PWC Core Apprentice Program Finalist), Courtship (2021 BAPF Semi-Finalist) You Don't Have to Do Anything (2021 Princess Grace Semi-Finalist, 2019 Eugene O'Neill NPC Semi-Finalist, Less Than Rent Theatre) and Roller Dynasty (Medicine Show, The Actors Company LA, 999 Festival). BA: Kenyon College (James E. Michael Playwriting Prize), MFA: Hunter College.

Marvin González De León's work has been produced and developed at Teatro Bravo, Arizona State University, Teatro del Pueblo, Texas State University, Round House Theatre, Page 73 Productions, The Playwrights Realm, and the Playwrights' Center. He is currently a Jerome Fellow and Core Writer at the Playwrights' Center, where he was previously a McKnight and Many Voices Fellow. He is a member of the 2020/2021 Interstate 73 Writers Group at Page 73 and was a Virtual Realm Mentee with The Playwrights Realm:

Majkin Holmquist is a playwright originally from the Smoky Valley region in central Kansas. Her plays include Tent Revival, Every Anne Frank, Stargazers, Skinflint, The Dog Pack Play, The Quonsets (co-written with Alex Lubischer) and Quickmatch. Her work has been developed at the Roundabout Theatre Company, New York Stage & Film and Bay Street Theater. Currently, she is a Lecturer of Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama and a member of Midnight Oil Collective. She holds a BA in Secondary English Education from Bethany College and an MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.

Deepa Purohit is a playwright and a member of Ma-Yi Theatre Company's Writers Lab since 2014. She co-founded and ran Rising Circle Theater Collective in NYC for 12 years (2000-2012), overseeing the development of over 20 plays by writers of color. She is a trained actor (Harlem Theater Company). MFA in Playwriting: Brooklyn College (2020), MPH: Columbia University, BA: Northwestern University in History. Deepa lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son, teaches MFA students at the New School's Theater & Performance Program, and works as a communications coach for executives.

Gab Reisman's plays examine the connections between geography, history, and identity. Inherently queer and keenly irreverent, her work looks at what it means to live on the precipice of chaos. Gab has developed plays with Page 73, Fusebox, Clubbed Thumb, Sundance, MacDowell, the Orchard Project, and the Playwrights' Center among others. She's received commissions from the Humana Festival, the NOLA Project, EST/Sloan Project, New Plays at Barnard, Clubbed Thumb, and ZACH Theatre. MFA: UT Austin.

Haygen-Brice Walker is a half-Puerto Rican, half-white trash playwright-creative producer raised by professional bodybuilders in a southern swamp and currently lives in South Philly with both of his boyfriends. Haygen-Brice is the Co-Founder of ON THE ROCKS, a production company devoted to the deep-fried, late-night, BYOB theatrical dumpster-fires that Haygen-Brice makes with Director-Producer, Elaina Di Monaco. He is a 2020-2022 Ingram New Works Playwright at Nashville Repertory Theatre, a 2020-2021 Interstate 73 Playwright with Page 73 Productions, a 20/21 Season Playwright with Playwrights Realm, and an Affiliated Writer with The Playwrights' Center (2018-2019 Jerome Many Voices Fellow). Haygen-Brice's work is like if Streetcar Named Desire, Mean Girls, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Beloved got shit-tanked at a Buffalo Wild Wings happy hour (extra bleu cheese please) and then sashayed into the neighborhood bathhouse while belting the soundtrack of In The Heights. Each day, Haygen-Brice is one Diet Coke closer to becoming Jennifer Lopez, which is trite for a gay Boricua, but he's embracing the cliché and living in his truth.