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Ensemble Studio Theatre Announces 2019-2020 EST/Youngblood New Members


Ensemble Studio Theatre Announces 2019-2020 EST/Youngblood New Members

Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) (William Carden, Artistic Director), along with EST's Youngblood (Graeme Gillis and RJ Tolan, Co-Artistic Directors) are proud to announce new EST/Youngblood members for the 2019-2020 season.

EST celebrates the 2019/20 season's new members of Youngblood, the Obie Award-winning collective of emerging professional playwrights under the age of 30. Now in its 26th 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.

As artists graduate, the Youngblood program welcomes new playwrights into its midst. This year's new members are Jake Brasch, Jeesun Choi, AJ Clauss, Milo Cramer, Ava Geyer, Dylan Guerra, Ife Olujobi, and Phaedra Michelle Scott. These writers join returning Youngblood members Brittany K. Allen, Will Arbery, Harron Atkins, Karina Billini, Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Julia Doolittle, Michael Feldman, Jahna Ferron-Smith, Gracie Gardner, Dan Giles, Lily Houghton, Sylvia Khoury, Anchuli Felicia King, Nadja Leonhard-Hooper, Yilong Liu, Andrew Massey, Megan Chan Meinero, Mara Nelson-Greenberg, Mona Pirnot, Julia Specht, Lizzie Stern, Sanaz Toossi, and Sofya Levitsky-Weitz.

Playwrights whose professional careers began in the Youngblood program have gone on to success at the highest levels of the industry, including Pulitzer Prize winners Annie Baker and Martyna Majok. Other recent grads include Clare Barron (Dance Nation, You Got Older), Jen Silverman (Collective Rage), Leah Nanako Winkler (Kentucky, God Said This), Olivia Dufault (Year of the Rooster, The Tomb of King Tot), Robert Askins (Hand To God), Qui Nguyen (Vietgone), and Charly Evon Simpson (Behind the Sheet).

The success of these writers builds on the outcomes of well-known Youngblood writers like Amy Herzog, Lucy Alibar, Liz Meriwether, Lloyd Suh, Lucy Thurber, and Christopher Shinn. Youngblood playwrights have been honored with Obie awards, MacArthur Fellowships, Tony Award nominations, Outer Critics Circle Awards, Drama Desk Awards, and Oscar, Emmy, and Golden Globe nominations. They have received residencies at the O'Neill, Sewanee, MacDowell Colony and more, and fellowships such as The Lark's PoNY Fellowship and the Playwrights' Center's Jerome Fellowship. Their work has been seen on film and in television, and many Youngblood writers are featured regularly on The Kilroy's List.

Youngblood's annual ten-minute play festival Asking for Trouble will run November 19-23, 2019. Tickets for Asking for Trouble will soon be available at Youngblood will also continue to offer their monthly brunch series, where five Youngblood members present new short plays over food, mimosas, and Bloody Marys. The first brunch of the 2019/20 season was on November 3.

In Spring 2020, EST will present Youngblood member Brittany K. Allen's play Redwood, directed by Mikhaela Mahony. Performances are set to begin on April 15, 2020 for a run through May 10, 2020. Casting and creative team for Redwood will be announced at a later date.

The Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST), founded by Curt Dempster in 1968, has been under the artistic direction of William Carden since 2007. Celebrating its 50th Anniversary last season, 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 under the age of 30; 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.

EST was granted a special Drama Desk Award in 2015 for its "unwavering commitment to producing new works". After being developed at EST, Robert Askins's Hand to God went on to West End and Broadway runs, earned five Tony Award nominations, and became the most produced play in the country for the 2016-17 theatrical season. Last year, Martyna Majok was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Cost of Living, a play which originated during her time in Youngblood, with a later version produced in EST's Marathon of One-Act Plays.

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