Finalists/Semifinalists Revealed For 46th Bay Area Playwrights Festival

The festival received 614 applications from playwrights across the United States.

By: Jun. 01, 2023
Finalists/Semifinalists Revealed For 46th Bay Area Playwrights Festival

Finalists/Semifinalists Revealed For 46th Bay Area Playwrights Festival

Playwrights Foundation, the West Coast's premier launchpad for exceptional new plays and playwrights, has revealed the semifinalists and finalists for the 46th Bay Area Playwrights Festival, which will be presented in a hybrid festival (both in-person and streamed attendance options) April 12-21, 2024, per Playwrights Foundation's recent announcement to shift to a biennial festival structure. BAPF continues to uphold its legacy as one of the oldest and most successful new play festivals uplifting playwrights' new works early in their career.

The festival received 614 applications from playwrights across the United States. Applicants underwent a thorough evaluation process and were reviewed by Playwrights Foundation staff in collaboration with 189 committee readers-local and national theatre professionals serving as evaluators, with 57% who identify as playwrights. From this pool of 614 applicants, 148 semifinalists were carefully chosen based on the writer's voice, skills, and the play's potential. Applicants were narrowed down further to 45 finalists encompassing unique voices, under-represented narratives, and bold theatrical forms across various levels of experiences. Ultimately, five playwrights will be selected among the finalists and announced at a later point.

"The current landscape of contemporary playwriting is so vibrant. There is an abundance of writing which blooms with strong points of view, memorable plots and characters, and risk-taking moments of stagecraft." says Literary Manager Heather Helinsky. "Our community of readers were highly engaged by a wide range of theatrically innovative styles, compelling narratives, and poignant issues and themes. The semifinalists and finalists are deserving of reaching audiences in need of catharsis-from communal grieving to a good laugh."

Bay Area Playwrights Festival is one of the oldest and most successful new play festivals for new works in their early stages. Established in 1976 by acclaimed director Robert Woodruff, the festival has built a respected reputation for uplifting original and distinctive new voices in the theater, investing in the development of their work, and launching storied careers. Among the first writers developed at the inaugural BAPF was the young Sam Shepard. Since then, more than 500 prize-winning, nationally significant playwrights have received one of their first professional experiences at the BAPF, including Pulitzer Prize winners Nilo Cruz, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Paula Vogel, and Annie Baker; and acclaimed playwrights Lauren Gunderson, Rajiv Joseph, Katori Hall, Christopher Chen, Lauren Yee, and Marcus Gardley. BAPF's ongoing success in supporting and amplifying exceptional, newly emerging writers and launching their ground-breaking new work is its enduring legacy.

"We are excited to spotlight these talented playwrights and incredible plays in this year's BAPF semifinalists and finalists," says Executive Artistic Director Jessica Bird Beza. "There are an abundance of powerful narratives included on the list that made for an incredibly difficult selection process. We want to uplift and advocate for the dynamic work of this next generation of playwrights to other theatermakers and hope to see them on stages around the country."

After listening closely to playwrights and other constituents, Playwrights Foundation recently announced that the Bay Area Playwrights Festival model will shift from an annual festival to a biennial hybrid festival in order to expand the pre-festival program from 4 to 12 months. This change will allow staff to be more intentional and responsive to each playwright's needs and increase the amount of time, care, and resources dedicated to each playwright.

"The past few years have been a time for reflection and growth at Playwrights Foundation, resulting in newly expressed purpose, vision, and values," said Beza. "We move forward with a deeper commitment to center and empower the playwrights we serve, guided by a strategic plan co-created with significant playwright representation, and the 46th Bay Area Playwrights Festival program model changes reflect this."


  • Calley N. Anderson, The Alligator

  • Jennifer Barclay, Behave Yourself

  • Nikki Brake-Sillá, ReWombed

  • Karen Marguerite Caronna, Dream of a Marginal Deity

  • Sam Chanse, Fellowship

  • Sean-Joseph Choo, otou-san

  • Avery Deutsch, The Last Beach Day

  • NJ Draine, The Housing Situation on Neptune

  • Lisa Sanaye Dring, Seven Hoshi

  • Jahna Ferron-Smith, Are We There Yet?

  • Noa Gardner, Nan

  • Sara Guerrero, Have to Believe We Are Magic

  • Mya Ison, Laure

  • Hasti Jafari, Superposition: A Crawling Play in Two Parts

  • Alicia Kester, Water Spirits

  • Garrett David Kim, Belligerency

  • Claire Koenig, DYKER BYKES

  • Molly Olis Krost, Nanay

  • Melissa Leilani Larson, A Form of Flattery

  • Minna Lee, My Home on the Moon

  • Jeffrey Lo, Balikbayan Box

  • Ethan Luk, Flight of a Legless Bird

  • Zizi Majid, They Came in the Night

  • Nick Malakhow, Optional Boss Battle

  • Divya Mangwani, Vigil-Auntys

  • Schaeffer Nelson, Hottest Church Dads

  • Miles Orduña, Lola

  • Rena Patel, Pyar aur Coffee

  • a.k. payne, Dwellers

  • Aidaa Peerzada, Children of the Wise

  • Phanésia Pharel, R&B

  • Eliana Pipes, Cowboy and the Moon

  • Christina Pumariega, Her Math Play

  • Ankita Raturi, Fifty Boxes of Earth

  • Aurora Real de Asua, The Pride Before

  • Harrison David Rivers, maybe the saddest thing

  • Nia Akilah Robinson, The Great Privation: How to flip ten cents into a dollar.

  • TyLie Shider, Whittier

  • DeAndre Short, At Ease

  • Phillip Christian Smith, Riverside Drive

  • Caridad Svich, Chelsea & Ivanka

  • Jason Tseng, Fear & Wonder

  • Emma Watkins, Elizabeth is Going into the Ground

  • Madison Wetzell, The Body Play

  • David Zheng, Ching Chong Maka Haya


  • Ai Aida, The True Tale of Princess Kaguya

  • Boni B. Alvarez, Sticky Rice

  • Amanda L. Andrei, Lena Passes By

  • Brent Askari, The Refugees

  • Alayna Jacqueline, You Know I'd Never (Even If I Did)

  • Jen Browne, Standing in the River While the World Falls Down

  • Phillip Gregory Burke, The Suncatchers of Sahel: An Ancestral Tale Told To Today's Griot, Part II: The Two Twilights

  • B.J. Burton, Maddie on Her Way Home

  • Nora Sørena Casey, The Censorship of Dreams

  • Chima Chikazunga, 1 Letter Shy of Coincidence

  • Matthew Chong, Lessons

  • Xavier Clark, backstroke boys

  • Katie Coleman, The Madonna of Logan Square

  • Lynne Conner, The Mother

  • Samantha Cooper, She Lives with a Shrine

  • Kate Danley, Working for Crumbs

  • Angela J. Davis, Griswold

  • Maddie Dennis-Yates, We're Just Redoing The Kitchen

  • Nelson Diaz-Marcano, 1898 or How Sugar Conquered the Enchantment

  • Judy M. Dove, Shinsei (rebirth)

  • Sean Dunnington, The Children's Farm

  • Alisha Espinosa, The Dirt is Fertile

  • Helen Everbach, Tea Patches

  • Zachariah Ezer, The Stones of Life

  • Jeanette Farr, Hedda on Fire: A Play Inspired by Ibsen and Climate Grief

  • Gina Femia, the thing about air

  • Lisa Dellagiarino Feriend, Come Again

  • Elizabeth Flanagan, Meth

  • Jeremy Gable, Carpenter Gorge

  • Craig Garcia, The Here and Now

  • Taylor Dodd Geu, Passing Over

  • Ruth Geye, These and Those

  • Emma Gibson, Lumin

  • Maximillian Gill, Blank Slate

  • Mikki Gillette, American Girl

  • lily gonzales, my eyes are up here honey

  • Franky D. Gonzalez, Escobar's Hippo

  • Ahon Gooptu, Seasons of Love

  • Keiko Green, Hells Canyon

  • Malique Guinn, Bounty on Our Heads

  • Katherine Gwynn, All I Want to Do is Be Pretty Like You

  • Rach Harris, Trophically Cascaded

  • Andrea Hart, Mounds or Talking Shit about a Pretty Sunset

  • Alli Hartley-Kong, People Should Talk About What's Real

  • Steven Hayet, Hugo Saves May!

  • Howard Ho, Reset

  • Daniel Holzman, Me & Who

  • Poliento Ico, A Love Letter to Loss

  • J. Lynn Jackson, Lucía Fuentes

  • Keenya J. Jackson, The Return of the Shogun

  • KJ Jarboe, Soured Milk

  • Jen Jarnagin, demolition extreme

  • Jacob Juntunen, See You in a Minute

  • Lisa Y. Kang, American Migration

  • M.J. Kang, The Battle of Saratoga

  • Ambata Kazi-Nance, M Power: A (Re)Birth Story

  • Lisa Kenner Grissom, here comes the night

  • Alex Lead, Easter Eggs for a Statistic

  • Tracey Conyer Lee, The First Time

  • Matthew Libby, Sisters

  • Alex Lin, Bad Chinese Daughter

  • Alicia Louzoun-Heisler, Bashert

  • John Mabey, Desert Oceans

  • Gloria Majule, Uncut

  • Eric Marlin, AirSpace

  • Leigh M. Marshall, The Hunters & All the Haunted

  • C. Meaker, Ghosts in the Graveyard

  • Francisco Mendoza, Piggyback

  • Alison Minami, Sinkhole

  • LJ Morizono, Transcending the Belly of the Beast

  • Aya Sophie Nassif, Without Her

  • Asia Nichols, The Incredible Darling(s)

  • Cynthia Galaz Ochoa, Matriarch

  • Dave Osmundsen, More of a Heart

  • Novid Parsi, Remains and Returns

  • José Pérez IV, Very Berry Dead

  • Reynaldo Piniella, Son of an Unknown Father

  • Zahida Rahemtulla, The Frontliners

  • Andrew Rincón, El Mito or The Myth of my Pain

  • Colette Robert, [landscape play]

  • Jacob K. Robinson, The Lark Ascending

  • Kira Rockwell, Space Bound

  • Ashley Lauren Rogers, Don't Think About Elephants

  • Lisa Marie Rollins, Token

  • Madeline Rouverol, You're Not a Mystery to Me

  • Martine Sainvil, Indispensable

  • Marcus Scott, There Goes the Neighborhood

  • Mak Shealy, exceptional

  • Nic A. Sommerfeld, Pieces


  • Sebastian Timpe, The House of Mulberry Street

  • Amy Tofte, The Rest of Us

  • Jackson Tucker-Meyer, The Perfection of the Donut

  • Josiah Thomas Turner, BECOMING!!, or, The Making of the Musical Sensation of 2279 and All that Followed

  • James Anthony Tyler, Pranayama

  • Joseph D. Valdez, Warrior's Blood

  • Hope Villanueva, Brackish

  • Caity-Shea Violette, Rx Machina

  • Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters, Come to Me, Cling to You

  • LaDarrion Williams, Hurt People

  • Lauren Wimmer, The Cookie Institute

  • Susan Yassky, The Women's Center

  • Laura Zlatos, Show Trial


Playwrights Foundation, led by Executive Artistic Director Jessica Bird Beza, was founded in 1978 and is widely recognized as one of the top playwright service organizations and new play incubators in the U.S., dedicated to supporting and championing playwrights' artistic growth and careers while uplifting their voices on a national level. PF envisions a future where playwrights are radically centered as visionary leaders who transform the world through storytelling. Serving emerging and mid-career playwrights from the Bay Area and around the country, PF has identified over 500 exceptional writers early in their careers and given them space, time and professional artistic collaborators to explore new theatrical ideas free from the pressures of the marketplace for more than 45 years. Playwrights PF has worked with have won every award in the theater including the Pulitzer, the Tony, the Obie, the National Critics Circle Award, the Susan Smith Blackburn Award, and many more. On its 40th Anniversary, Playwrights Foundation was recognized with a Theatre Bay Area Legacy Award for its substantial impact on the field. PF has received two Glickman Awards for best new play to premiere in the Bay Area through its Producing Partnership Initiative. Among the many PF-developed works that have premiered across the country are Katori Hall's The Mountaintop, Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Jihae Park's Hannah and the Dread Gazebo, Lauren Gunderson's The Revolutionists, Lauren Yee's King of the Yees, Madhuri Shekar's House of Joy, Mike Lew's Teenage Dick, and Mona Mansour's We Swim, We Talk, We Go To War, and many more.

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