Playwrights for 2018-19 Emerging Writers Group Announced at the Public

By: Feb. 15, 2018

Playwrights for 2018-19 Emerging Writers Group Announced at the Public

The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) announced the nine new playwrights today for the 2018-19 Emerging Writers Group. Now in its seventh cycle, the Emerging Writers Group is an ongoing initiative that targets playwrights at the earliest stages of their career, creating an artistic home, and offering support and resources for a diverse group of up-and-coming playwrights.

Selected from more than 485 applicants, the 2018-19 Emerging Writers are Brittany K. Allen, Oscar A.L. Cabrera, Daniella De Jesús, Ryan J. Haddad, Obehi Janice, Diana Oh, Ife Olujobi, Joshua Young, and David Zheng. Past EWG writers have included Raúl Castillo, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Ethan Lipton, Mona Mansour, and Dominique Morisseau among others.

The Emerging Writers Group is a component of The Public Writers Initiative, a long-term program that provides key support and resources for writers at every stage of their careers. It creates a fertile community and fosters a web of supportive artistic relationships across generations. Time Warner is the Founding Sponsor of the Emerging Writers Group, and provides continued program support through the Time Warner Foundation.

Writers are selected bi-annually and receive a two-year fellowship at The Public which includes a stipend. Staged readings of works by Emerging Writers Group members are presented in the Spotlight Series at The Public. The playwrights also participate in a bi-weekly writers group led by The Public's New Work Development department and master classes led by established playwrights. Additionally, they have a chance to observe rehearsals for productions at The Public, receive career development advice from mid-career and established writers, and receive artistic and professional support from the New Work Development department and Public artistic staff. Members of the group also receive complimentary tickets to Public Theater shows, invited dress rehearsals, and other special events, as well as a supplemental stipend for tickets to productions at other theaters.

"We are delighted to welcome this very dynamic group of writers to The Public Theater," said Director of New Work Development Jeanie O'Hare. "The Emerging Writers Group is such an integral part of the New Work Department and all that we do to get great new plays on our stages. We look forward to getting to know what they need and how they will develop."

"We are once again so proud to support the vital work of The Public Theater, nurturing the next generation of storytellers who reflect our global world," said Yrthya Dinzey-Flores, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Diversity & Inclusion, Time Warner Inc. "The Emerging Writers Group has become an important program that has supported some of the most exciting new voices working in the American theater, and we look forward to supporting the body of work these new writers will contribute to our artistic landscape."

About The Public Writers Initiative

In just nine years, The Public's Emerging Writers Group has nurtured numerous playwrights who have gone on to have their plays staged at The Public and elsewhere around the country. The Public recently presented EWG alumni Ricardo Pérez González's On The Grounds Of Belongingand Patricia Ione Lloyd's Pretty Hunger as part of the Public Studio series. Previous Public productions by EWG playwrights include last season'sThe Outer Space and the Obie Award-winning No Place to Go (2012) written by Ethan Lipton; Detroit '67 (2013) written by Dominique Morisseau; Mona Mansour's Urge For Going presented in The Public Lab in March 2011; as well as Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Neighbors in February 2010; and Raúl Castillo's Knives and Other Sharp Objects in March 2009.

In addition to supporting up-and-coming playwrights in the Emerging Writers Group, Mid-Career Writers continues to be supported via readings, workshops and commissions. Since the Time Warner Foundation began funding The Public Writers Initiative, The Public has produced 50-70 readings and workshops per season. Artistic development of this nature is at the core of The Public's mission and is critical to helping the institution and writers develop new work for the theater.

Through the Master Writer Chair program, The Public provides an artistic home and support for established playwrights whose work has set the standard for the highest level of achievement in theater. Master Writers receive full artistic and administrative support, the chance to develop their work with the full resources of The Public Theater and participate in the artistic life of the theater. Inspired by the university model, the full-salaried position as a Visiting Arts Professor at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, Rita and Burton Goldberg Department of Dramatic Writing, affords writers the flexibility and freedom to pursue their artistic goals and endeavors. The current recipient of the Master Writer Chair is Suzan-Lori Parks.


BRITTANY K. ALLEN is a New York-based writer and performer. Her plays include Redwood (Kilroys List 2017, Studio Retreat at The Lark, New Works Reading Series at Kansas City Repertory), More Than You Can Chew (EST/Bloodworks Reading), and Ball-Change, among others. Recent acting credits include True Right (ANTFEST at Ars Nova, New Ohio), Minor Character (Invisible Dog, New York Innovative Theatre Award for Best Ensemble), and The Place We Built (The Flea). Allen is a member of Youngblood, the Obie award-winning young playwrights collective at Ensemble Studio Theatre, and was a 2017 Van Lier Playwriting Fellow at the Lark. She has received artistic support from SPACE on Ryder Farm and the Sewanee Writers Conference. Her prose appears in Catapult, Green Mountains Review and The Tishman Review (Pushcart Prize nominee). BFA, NYU Tisch.

Oscar A.L. Cabrera is a New York-based actor, playwright and member to INTAR Theater's Unit 52, an ensemble company for emerging and established artists. Some credits include Blur at the Kennedy Center for KCACTF, Marfa Lights by Octavio Solis (INTAR); Lilia by Monet Hurst-Mendoza (Rising Circle Rep); Patience by Mariana Coreno (LATC); Basilica by Mando Alvarado (Rattlestick); Leave Me Green by Lisi DeHaas (Kindling Theater Company); and Prospect by Octavio Solis (Boundless Theater). His plays have been workshopped with The Hudson Warehouse, Black and Latino Playwrights Festival, INTAR Theater, Rising Circle's InkTank, Creede Rep Theater, and Lonestar Theater.

DANIELLA DE JESÚS is an actor and writer and native of Bushwick, Brooklyn. Her plays include Columbus Play (The Parsnip Ship), The Thief Cometh (United SoloFestival), ASSORTED CRACKERS: A Reverse Minstrel Show, Waiting Room, and Pelo. De Jesús is a graduate of NYU Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Drama.

RYAN J. HADDAD is an actor, playwright, and autobiographical performer based in New York. His acclaimed solo play Hi, Are You Single? was part of Under the Radar's 2017 INCOMING! Series. He was also a member of The Public's Devised Theater Working Group. Haddad continues to tour Hi, Are You Single? and has performed original work at La MaMa E.T.C., The New Museum, and The LGBT Center of New York City. He is currently developing his play Good Time Charlie, his solo piece My Straighties, and a cabaret called Falling for Make Believe. His acting credits include The Maids and Lucy Thurber's Orpheus in the Berkshires at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Noor and Hadi Go To Hogwarts for Theater Breaking Through Barriers, and television appearances on "Bull," "Madam Secretary," and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt." Haddad is a 2017-18 Queer/Art Performance and Playwriting Fellow, under the mentorship of Moe Angelos.

Obehi Janice is an actress, writer, and comedian. Her comedic short, Black Girl Yoga, won the Reel 13/AfroPunk Film Competition. Her plays include Era Era, African Tea, Selah and FUFU & OREOS. She works on stage, screen and as a voice actress in video games, radio, and commercials. Her work is featured in American Theatre Magazine, Bustle, WBUR, DigBoston, For Harriet, and The Boston Globe. She is a Luminary Artist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the recipient of a TCG Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship. Her plays have been developed or seen at the Gardner Museum, Off the Grid Theatre Company, Bridge Repertory Theater, Company One Theatre and many others. Her latest play, Ole White Sugah Daddy, is a semifinalist for the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's 2018 National Playwrights Conference. Itis currently in development at SpeakEasy Stage Company.

Diana Oh is a performer, actor, singer-songwriter, theatremaker, and artist of color. She is one of Refinery 29's Top 14 LGBTQ Influencers, the First Queer Korean-American interviewed on Korean Broadcast Radio, a TOW Fellow with Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, a Van Lier Fellow in Acting, a Venturous Capital Grant Recipient, A Qwear Award Recipient for her activism, an Elphaba Thropp Fellow, writer of Asian People Are Not Magicians. She is the creator, songwriter, and performer of {my lingerie play}: 8 street installations that culminate into {my lingerie play}: Installation #9: THE CONCERT AND CALL TO ARMS!!!!!!!!! Past Productions include Diana Oh is GOING ROGUE, The Sister Rosettas, Asian People are Not Magicians and Other Tales, Kimchi Mamas and The Dirty Disco, my "S" word play. She's currently penning Hot Sauce Water about her father, as well as an untitled piece about her self-induced sex education.

IFE OLUJOBI is a playwright and screenwriter. Her one-act play, Only, was produced as part of NYU Drama's Inaugural PlayGround Festival of New Works in 2016. Her monologue Working Girl has been performed at the Charity Randall Theater (Pittsburgh, PA) and the Bishop Arts Theater Center (Dallas, TX) as part of The Monologue Project, a theatrical initiative aiming to increase the number of audition-length monologues available to women of the African Diaspora. Her screenplay, Sister, was selected as a finalist in the inaugural Half the World Global Literati Award Competition. Originally from a suburb of Baltimore, Olujobi currently lives in NYC where in addition to writing for stage and film, she writes poetry and makes a zine, Townies, that catalogues experiences of POC and Queer folks who live or have lived in pockets of suburban rural, and small-town America through writing and art. She received her BFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts in 2016.

JOSHUA YOUNG's playwriting work has been developed or produced at The HERE Arts Center, The Cherry Lane Theatre, Dixon Place, The Brick, The Tank, Primary Stages ESPA, New York Madness, Naked Angels, FringeNYC, Rhapsody Cycle, The Exquisite Corpse Company, MITF, and Planet Connections. His play The Execution and The Rapture was a 2017 PlayPenn semi-finalist and his play Who Mourns for Bob the Goon? was a Mabou Mines/Suite 2016 Resident Artist semi-finalist. He is a founding member of The Playwriting Collective, a playwright-driven initiative designed to support writers from lower economic backgrounds.

DAVID ZHENG is a first-generation Chinese American playwright, actor and photographer from the Bronx. He is the recipient of The Lark's 2018 Van Lier New Voices Playwriting Fellowship, The 2017 Playwriting Observer Fellowship at LAByrinth Theater Company, and the 2017 inaugural Greenhouse Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm. His plays include KINGSBRIDGE and Ghetto Baptism. His work has been developed at The LAByrinth Theater Company, Cherry Lane Theater Company, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Recent acting credit includes Exposure (Eugene O' Neill National Playwrights Conference). He is a member of Ma-Yi Writers Lab and the Gingold Theatrical Group's Speakers' Corner. Zheng is also a founding member of the Middle Voice at Rattlestick.

ABOUT The Public Theater:

THE PUBLIC is theater of, by, and for the people. Artist-driven, radically inclusive, and fundamentally democratic, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation's first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public's wide breadth of programming includes an annual season of new work at its landmark home at Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, The Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City's five boroughs, Public Forum, Under the Radar, Public Studio, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe's Pub. Since premiering HAIR in 1967, The Public continues to create the canon of American Theater and is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda and John Leguizamo's Latin History for Morons. Their programs and productions can also be seen regionally across the country and around the world. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 169 Obie Awards, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 54 Lortel Awards, 32 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Desk Awards, and 6 Pulitzer Prizes.

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