Exquisite Corpse Company Reveals Spring Writers Lab Cohort

Over the course of eight weeks, they will meet to develop new one act plays for the Drinks and Drama reading series to be presented at Culture Lab in LIC in June.

By: Apr. 26, 2023
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Exquisite Corpse Company Reveals Spring Writers Lab Cohort

Exquisite Corpse Company will welcome playwrights Aliyah Curry, Ashley Lauren Rogers, Phillip Gregory Burke, Nelson Diaz-Marcano, Madison Wetzell, and Kaela Mei-Shing to the 2023 Writers Lab. Over the course of eight weeks, they will meet to develop new one act plays for the Drinks and Drama reading series to be presented at Culture Lab in LIC in June. The playwrights will work together in a unique and supportive writing process in which ekphrastic creation is used to generate work that responds to the rotating fine arts exhibitions in Culture Lab's expansive galleries. The Lab is lead by Co-Literary Directors Phillip Christian Smith and Blake Bishton.

This year's theme for the lab is At The Mercy Of, a name chosen by the cohort at the first meeting on March 27. Over the course of the process ending in May, writers meet weekly to share writing prompts, new pages, and interactive exercises to spark work in response to each other's ideas and the art in the gallery spaces. Staged readings of each play will be presented as part of the Drinks and Drama Reading Series at Culture Lab on June 8th, 11th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th.

The mission of Exquisite Corpse Company is to build a supportive community across artistic mediums in order to investigate the line between artistic boundaries, audience integration, and immersive modalities rooted in social justice. Three central pillars facilitate ECC's mission: ekphrastic creation, surrealist collective assembly, and interdisciplinary collaboration. True to their surrealist namesake, ECC is founded on the belief that through collaboration we build our most meaningful works. www.exquisitecorpsecompany.com

About the Lab Leaders:

Phillip Christian Smith is a 2021 O'Neill (NPC) Finalist for his drag ball adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest titled: A Handbag is Not a Proper Mutha, 2020-21 Playwrights Realm Fellow, Lambda Literary Fellow, Winter Playwrights Retreat, Blue Ink Playwriting Award Semi-Finalist, Finalist for The Dramatists Guild Fellowship and New Dramatists, Finalist and Semi-finalist PlayPenn, Two time Semi-finalist for The O'Neill (NPC), and runner- up in The Theatre of Risk Modern Tragedy writing competition for his play The Chechens, which also won Theatre Conspiracy's playwriting award, and is being produced this August. He has been a semi-finalist for Shakespeare's New Contemporaries (ASC), finalist for Trustus, former Playwright in Residence Exquisite Corpse and founding member of The Playwriting Collective. 2021 Playwright in Residence: Quicksilver Theatre's Playwrights of Color Summit. Co-Literary Director of Exquisite Corpse Company. His work has been supported by The Fire This Time Festival, Bennington College, Primary Stages (Cherry Lane) ESPA, Fresh Ground Pepper, the 53rd Street New York Public Library, and Forge. He writes about black people, gay people, black gay people, and the issues which persistently follow them. MFA Yale School of Drama, BFA University of New Mexico. MFA Hunter '23.

Blake Bishton is a non-binary playwright and co-founder of the Exquisite Corpse Company. He has served as Literary Director since the company's inception, and holds an MFA in playwriting from The New School of Drama.

About the Cohort:

Aliyah Curry is a queer Southern bred writer, focusing on Black female sexuality and mental health. After studying dramatic writing, she was accepted into Horizon Theatre Company's New South Young Playwrights Contest and Festival, which contributed to her being a Third Annual Dramatist Guild of America Young Playwright Award semi-finalist. Since then, she's become a member of Working Title Playwrights, where she received the 2020-2022 Rosalind Ayres-Williams Scholarship and served on the Monday Night Development Workshop committee. Her first commission came with Pillow Talk, an auditory experience developed by and premiered on Alliance Theatre Anywhere, Spotlight Studio in 2021. She has also participated in several Zoom fests throughout the pandemic. When not creating theatre, she makes films, photographs, poetry, and has dance parties with her niece. Her short films have received honors at several festivals, and her words published in distinct literary magazines. Keep up with her at theirdaughters.productions.

Ashley Lauren Rogers - Eugene O'Neill Theatre National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist 2021, Literary Director for Step1 Theatre Project, Oddity received an honorable mention on The Kilroys "The List," 2020, Trans Theatre Lab fellow 2019, artist in residence at Middlesex County Vocational-Technical School 2018-2019. Works performed at Dixon Place, MITF, the Brick, Joe's Pub. "Becky's Xmas Wish," Finalist for the City Theatre National Short Play Award, Miami, work produced in Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Maine, Iowa, New Jersey, Detroit, and Minneapolis. Creator Is It Transphobic and The Right to Play Podcasts. AshleyLaurenRogers.com

Phillip Gregory Burke is a New York City artivist, actor and playwright from Auburn, NY where he will be inducted into the Auburn Alumni Hall of Distinction in May 2023. As a playwright, his writing chronicles the sociology of the African Diaspora and illuminates the intricate intersections of Blackness and queerness throughout history. A proud descendant of that Diaspora with Creole, Gullah, Haitian and West African heritages, he is curating cycles of plays all connected to a singular universe centering their narratives. He's The First, his ten-minute play, was filmed for All Arts & PBS, where it will be available to stream this summer. The one act version is a 2023 Semi-finalist for The Obsidian Theater Festival. The saga, The Suncatchers of Sahel: An Ancestral Tale Told to Today's Griot, Part I: The Crumble Under the Crescent, a 2022 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow Finalist and 2022 Princess Grace Award in Playwriting Fellowship Semi-finalist, is the genesis of an epic ten cycle play chronicling spiritual and sociological warfare. The Simaraboo Two, the second play, had a Fresh Draft Series Reading with The Latinx Playwrights Circle. The third play, The Suncatchers of Sahel: An Ancestral Tale Told To Today's Griot, Part II: The Two Twilights, was initially developed during his residency with The Civilians R&D Group and is a 2023 Semi-finalist for The Bay Area Playwrights Festival. A Holy Her, the fourth play, was recorded with The Parsnip Ship and was a Semi-finalist for the Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship Award. A developmental proposal of the 5th play, Paradise Estate, was a 2022 Finalist for The Fire This Time New Works Lab Cycle 5. He is currently working on developing Suncatchers and He's The First into television series. He is a member of Actors' Equity Association, SAG-AFTRA, The New York SAG-AFTRA Film Society and The Latinx Playwrights Circle. Residencies include: Exquisite Corpse Company's Writer's Lab, The Civilians R&D Group, No Gate Theatre Lab, Space Jam Roundabout Theatre Company, The Playwrights Realm Script Share.

Nelson Diaz-Marcano is a Puerto Rican NYC-based theater maker, advocate, and community leader. His plays have been developed by Pipeline Theatre Company, Clubbed Thumb, The Lark, Vision Latino Theater Company, The Orchard Project, Step1 Theatre Project, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and The Parsnip Ship among others. He currently serves as the Literary Director for the Latinx Playwright Circle where he has aided in the development of over a 100 plays.

Madison Wetzell is a recent Bay Area transplant currently pursuing her MFA in playwriting at Brooklyn College. Her work has been developed with or presented by Shotgun Players, Z-Space, 3Girls Theatre, Town Hall Theatre, FaultLine Theatre, Buffalo United Artists, Playground SF, Soundwave, Risk Theatre, The Bechdel Group, PianoFight, and The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep. She has been a finalist for the Bay Area Playwright's Festival and a Semi-Finalist for the O'Neill Theatre Center National Playwrights Conference.

Kaela Mei-Shing Garvin (they/she) is a writer, performer, educator, and new work advocate. Kaela's plays include Call Out Culture (2022 O'Neill NPC Finalist, 2021 NADIA Festival, 2019 Ars Nova's ANTFest), High School Coven (2023 Strand Theatre Baltimore Production, 2017 Corkscrew Festival), Harpers Ferry 2019 (2022 Know Theatre of Cincinnati production, 2021 Kendeda finalist), Tiger Beat (2021 Bay Area Playwrights Festival, 2021 Seven Devils Conference finalist), and The Well-Tempered Clavier (2020 BAPF finalist, 2019 Paul Stephen Lim Award.) Kaela has received six Kennedy Center awards and has developed work with the Alliance Theater, The Road's Under Construction Lab, the Coop's Clusterf*ck, Playground-NY, and Pipeline Theater Company's Playlab. Commissions include work with EST/Sloan, Montana Repertory Theater, Luna-Stage/">Luna Stage, and College of the Holy Cross. Garvin is the BAPF Season 45 Play Selection Advisor, the Tank's 2022 Pridefest curator, and a founding member of Undiscovered Countries, a Brooklyn-based incubator of new interdisciplinary art. Kaela has taught playwriting at Cornish College of the Arts and Indiana University and is on staff at the Sewanee Writers Conference. They currently work as the Programming Associate for the Tank NYC, a playwriting instructor at Freehold Theatre in Seattle, and the Literary Manager for Luna-Stage/">Luna Stage in New Jersey. www.kaelameishinggarvin.com


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