Playwright Announced for the 2024 Dee Silver, M.D. Commission

A free public reading of Clement's play is scheduled for May 20, 2024, at Cygnet Theatre.

By: May. 03, 2024
Playwright Announced for the 2024 Dee Silver, M.D. Commission
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Cygnet Theatre has announced Olivia Clement as the recipient of the 2024 Dee Silver, M.D. Commission. In collaboration with the Iowa Playwrights Workshop - the University of Iowa's MFA Program in Playwriting - this commission underscores Cygnet Theatre's ongoing dedication to fostering new theatrical works. A free public reading of Clement's play is scheduled for May 20, 2024, at Cygnet Theatre.

Established in 2023, the Dee Silver, M.D. Commission is committed to providing a platform for narratives that convey strength and hope, aiming to enrich the national theatrical landscape with stories that foster empathy. This year, Cygnet Theatre's Dee Silver, M.D. Commission has partnered with the Iowa Playwrights Workshop to offer a current MFA student the opportunity to refine a new play.

Artistic Director Sean Murray says, "I am thrilled to once again have the Dee Silver, M.D. Commission at Cygnet Theatre, this year in partnership with Iowa Playwrights Workshop, one of the oldest MFA playwriting programs in the country. Iowa graduates join the ranks of alumni like Tennessee Williams and Samuel Hunter as artists who will lead the next generation of great American theatre."

Clement, a 2023 graduate of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop MFA program, was selected to develop and refine a new play that aligns with the mission of the Dee Silver, M.D. Commission. Clement was commissioned to write and rehearse the play as part of a post-graduate fellowship; it was subsequently presented in a staged reading at the University of Iowa. The next phase of the commission involves bringing the reading to San Diego for a three-day workshop, concluding with a public reading at Cygnet Theatre.

Clement is a French-Australian playwright, published writer and educator. She is currently the University of Iowa Dee Silver Postgraduate Writing Fellow. Her play The Arrogance (2024 O'Neill Semi-Finalist) will have its world premiere at KXT Broadway in Sydney, Australia this summer. Other plays include Heart & Soul Yoga Studio Beirut (2020 DVRF Award Finalist; 2019 Griffin Award Finalist; 2018 Corkscrew Theater Festival), Willoughby Road (SPACE on Ryder Farm Creative Residency), and Three to Five Days (University of Iowa Production). Her personal essays and writing have been published in Marie Claire, LennyLetter, Playbill magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald, and Sunday Life magazine. 

Clement's play, Iris, is an intimate portrayal of a woman's search for connection and comprehension in the wake and grief of miscarriage. 

Lisa Schlesinger, co-head of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop says, "With the generous support and vision of Dr. Dee Silver, we are thrilled to partner with Cygnet Theatre to uplift new voices as they graduate from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and bring their perspectives and artistry to a national audience. It’s an extension of the workshop experience—a ‘scaling up’ of the creative environment that we foster at Iowa." She continues, "Cygnet Theatre is known for producing high quality, adventurous, and thought-provoking works. The fact that they want to develop and present new work of our playwrights affirms our graduates' entrance into the industry as emerging theatre artists, ready to produce.”

The commission is made possible thanks to the contribution of Dee Silver, M.D. "I wanted a play to be able to express the complexity of the human condition and demonstrate hope and joy. A play with a message that the audience can in some way identify with, and gain understanding about themselves and others, and also be beneficial to their lives. Iris does just that." explained Silver.

The reading and reception are FREE to the public. Seats may be reserved in person at the box office located at 4040 Twiggs Street in San Diego Old Town Historic State Park, by calling 619-337-1525 or by emailing


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