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The Playwrights Realm Announces Inaugural Scratchpad Series Playwrights

The Playwrights Realm Announces Inaugural Scratchpad Series Playwrights

Over the past eleven years, The Playwrights Realm, led by Founding Artistic Director Katherine Kovner and Producing Director Roberta Pereira, has continually produced work by brave new voices and expanded its commitment to providing holistic support to playwrights striving to make a life in the arts. With its newest program, Scratchpad Series, The Playwrights Realm is proud to grant career-propelling developmental workshops to three promisingly talented, diverse and dedicated playwrights: Benjamin Benne, MJ Kaufman, and Miranda Rose Hall.

Scratchpad Series, which aims to jumpstart The Realm's relationship with early-career playwrights from around the country, is at the heart of what The Playwrights Realm does: listening to what playwrights need, and giving it to them. Whether it's a place to hear a rough draft aloud for the first time, space to fine tune a more mature work, or time to focus in on a particular aspect of a piece, The Realm aims to provide playwrights with what they need to thrive. Scratchpad is a chance for The Realm to engage with an entirely New Group of playwrights each year, erasing limitations of geography or access by identifying and inviting playwrights from across the U.S. to participate. Scratchpad participants will receive a developmental workshop of up to one week in New York City during the Winter - Spring seasons of 2018, working with top-notch professional collaborators-director, cast, and The Realm's artistic staff. If the playwright is based outside of New York, The Realm will also facilitate the playwright's travel and housing for the workshop.

"For a long time, I've been wanting to find a way to open The Realm up to writers outside New York," said Founding Artistic Director Katherine Kovner. "There are talented playwrights living all over the country and Scratchpad gives us an opportunity to connect and collaborate on a national level. I was thrilled by the response to our inaugural Scratchpad Series-451 submissions from 41 states, and the District of Columbia! - and I'm excited to get to work closely with these exceptional writers on their distinctive and daring plays in the coming year."

The writers selected for Scratchpad Series bring a diversity of story and perspective, as well as geography, to The Playwrights Realm. Minneapolis-based Benjamin Benne's Querencia is a magical coming-of-age story about a young boy named Milo's search for belonging as he grapples with friends, family, and his sexual identity, guided by a mysterious character named La Bruja. MJ Kaufman, a playwright living in New York, will work on an as-yet unnamed play. Their work explores gender and identity with humor and ingenuity, across a range of styles and stories. Inspired by her time working in a Montana domestic violence shelter, Baltimore resident Miranda Rose Hall's The Kind Ones is a comically macabre tale about justice, community...and pigs with a taste for human flesh.

In addition to the four selected playwrights, finalists for this year's Fellowship include: Cristina Florencia Castro (Minneapolis, MN) - Cicadas Are Not Swans, Emily Feldman (New York, NY) - Pick a Color, Julia May Jonas (New York, NY) - A Woman among Women, Lisa Langford (Cleveland, OH) - Rastus and Hattie, Stav Palti-Negev (New York, NY) - Elsewhere, Philana Omorotionmwan (The Plains, OH) - Strong Face, or Misogynoir, Jason Gray Platt (Los Angeles, CA) - Homeowners, Michael Proft (Cedarburg, WI) - Dionysus on the Down Low, Melissa Crespo and Sarah Saltwick (Austin, TX) - Egress, Corbin Went (New York, NY) - Old Names for Wildflowers

About the 2017-18 Writing Fellows

Benjamin Benne is a 2017-18 McKnight Fellow in Playwriting at The Playwrights' Center, and was previously a 2016-17 Many Voices Fellow. He is a winner of the Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award, runner-up for the National Latino Playwriting Award, finalist for the Princess Grace Award, and a semifinalist for the Blue Ink Playwriting Award. His work has been produced by Annex Theatre, Forward Flux Productions, and Pillsbury House Theatre, as well as developed with The Lark's Playwrights' Week, Two River Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Umbrella Project, Parley, and The Playwrights' Center, among others. His plays have been finalists for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Ingram New Works Lab, Headwaters New Play Festival, and Austin Playhouse's Festival of New American Plays. He was born and raised in Los Angeles County and currently resides in Minneapolis, MN.

Miranda Rose Hall is a playwright from Baltimore, MD. She has produced her plays at the Yale School of Drama, Yale Cabaret, Yale Summer Cabaret, the DC Fringe Festival, and with Longacre Lea for the DC Women's Voices Theater Festival. She has workshopped her plays with Play Lab at Baltimore Center Stage, PlayFest at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, The Kennedy Center's MFA Playwrights Workshop, the Sam French Off-Off Broadway Festival, and will workshop with the National New Play Network's Annual Showcase and at New York Theatre Workshop later this fall. Miranda was the 2013/14 Hot Desk Resident Playwright at Baltimore Center Stage, and is the Resident Playwright and ensemble member with LUBDUB Theatre Company, a New York-based physical theater company. She has taught playwriting as a visiting lecturer at Wesleyan University, and currently teaches at Georgetown University and Baltimore Center Stage. She graduated with a BA from Georgetown University and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.

MJ Kaufman is a playwright and devised theater artist working in New York and Philadelphia. Their work has been seen at the Huntington Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, the New Museum, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Page73, Colt Coeur, Yale School of Drama, Lark Play Development Center, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre, Crowded Fire, Fresh Ink Theatre, New Harmony Project, One Coast Collaboration, and has been performed in Russian in Moscow. MJ has received awards and commissions from the Program for Women in Theater, the Playwrights Foundation, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, Young Playwrights Inc., and the Huntington Theatre, where they are also a playwriting fellow, as well as the 2013 ASCAP Cole Porter Prize in Playwriting, the 2013 Global Age Project Prize, and the 2010 Jane Chambers Prize in Feminist Theatre. MJ is a member of The Public Theater's Emerging Writers' Group and the WP Theater Lab, and a core playwright at InterAct Theatre. They have taught playwriting at Fordham University, Wesleyan University, SUNY Purchase College, the University of the Arts and as a teaching fellow at Yale College. Originally from Portland, Oregon, MJ attended Wesleyan University and received an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.

About The Playwrights Realm

Obie Award-winning The Playwrights Realm, led by Founding Artistic Director Katherine Kovner and Producing Director Roberta Pereira, is devoted to supporting emerging playwrights throughout their playwriting careers, helping them to hone their craft, fully realize their vision and build meaningful artistic careers. To serve this mission, The Playwrights Realm produces an Off Broadway season each year at The Duke on 42nd Street, as well as providing comprehensive support to playwrights throughout their creative processes and careers with the Page One Residency, Alumni Playwrights Program, Writing Fellowship, and Scratchpad Series.

This fall, 2017-18 Page One playwright Michael Yates Crowley's The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias, completed a successful run at The Duke on 42nd Street, and Page One playwright Don Nguyen's Hello, from the Children of Planet Earth will premiere in February of 2018. Other Playwrights Realm productions include Jen Silverman's The Moors (2017); Sarah DeLappe's The Wolves, and Anna Ziegler's A Delicate Ship (2016); Mfoniso Udofia's Sojourners, and Anton Dudley's City Of (2015); Elizabeth Irwin's My Mañana Comes (2014); Lauren Yee's The Hatmaker's Wife (2013); Ethan Lipton's Red-Handed Otter (2012); Jen Silverman's Crane Story (2011); Gonzalo Rodríguez Risco's Dramatis Personae (2010); Christopher Wall's dreams of the washer king (2010); Anna Ziegler's Dov and Ali (2009); and Anton Dudley's Substitution (2008).

So far this season, the "invaluable" (The New York Times) Playwrights Realm has seen the transfer of its smash hit, The Wolves, to Lincoln Center-this after a sold-out initial run in the fall of 2016, a subsequent re-mount due to popular demand, and being named a Pulitzer Prize Finalist. Additionally, Michael Yates Crowley's The Rape of the Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias was praised by both The New York Times and The Village Voice in articles about artists responding to the national conversation about sexual assault. Donja Love's Sugar in Our Wounds, developed during his 2016-17 Writing Fellowship, will be premiered by Manhattan Theatre Club this coming June.

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