National New Play Network to Present MFA PLAYWRIGHTS' WORKSHOP, 7/26-8/3

By: May. 14, 2014

The National New Play Network (NNPN), the country's alliance of non-profit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays, in collaboration with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and Stanford University's National Center for New Plays, will host nearly fifty playwrights, directors and dramaturgs July 26 - August 3, 2014 as part of a week-long workshop for new works by MFA students from New York University-Tisch School of the Arts, Hunter College, University of California-San Diego, and the Juilliard School. A committee of NNPN Core Members has selected six scripts written by Hilary Bettis, Nathan Cann, Bennett Fisher, David Jacobi, Georgette Kelly, and Amy Witting. The Workshop will also feature projects by the National Theatre School of Canada's Geoffrey Simon Brown and Atlanta's Alliance Theatre's Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Prize-winner Tsehaye Geralyn Hébert.

This annual program pairs gifted early-career playwrights with directors from NNPN Core and Associate Member Theaters across the country, dramaturgs from a wider circle of theaters around the country, and an acting company from the Washington, DC community. The workshop will also feature the third annual New Play Dramaturgy Intensive, led by Mark Bly, and a Directing Intensive focusing on developing new work, led by Michael Rau.

The selected scripts are as follows:

UNITITLED (the Jonah Play) by Georgette Kelly, Hunter College
Directed by Cynthia Levin (Unicorn Theatre, Kansas City, MO)
Dramaturg Iris Turcott (Factory Theatre, Toronto, Canada)

THE GHOSTS OF LOTE BRAVO by Hilary Bettis, the Juilliard School
Directed by TBA
Dramaturg Barclay Goldsmith (Borderlands Theater, Tucson)

BOREALIS by Bennett Fisher, University of California-San Diego
Directed by Mark Routhier (Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, Orlando)
Dramaturg: Walter Bilderback (The Wilma Theatre, Philadelphia)

DAY 392 by Amy Witting, Hunter College
Directed by Freddie Ashley (Actor's Express, Atlanta)
Dramaturg: Kelly Miller (South Coast Rep, Costa Mesa)

THE LAST BUCKLEYS by Nathan Cann, New York University-Tisch School of the Arts
Directed by Bridget O'Leary (New Repertory Theatre, Watertown, MA)
Dramaturg: Gavin Witt (CENTERSTAGE, Baltimore)

WIDOWER by David Jacobi, University of California-San Diego
Directed by Tina Parker (Kitchen Dog Theater, Dallas)
Dramaturg: Mark Bly (Fordham University, New York)

STILL STILL STILL by Geoffrey Simon Brown, the National Theatre School of Canada
Directed by Jim Petosa (New Repertory Theatre, Watertown, MA)
Dramaturg: Mead Hunter (The New Harmony Project, Indianapolis)

Alliance Theatre's Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Prize-winner
THE C.A. LYONS PROJECT by Tsehaye Geralyn Hébert, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Directed by TBA
Dramaturg: Celise Kalke (Alliance Theatre, Atlanta)

Hilary Bettis is a playwright and screenwriter. Awards, residencies, and commissions include: NYFA Fellowship, Juilliard Lila Acheson Wallace Fellowship, O'Neill National Playwrights Conference (Alligator), 2050 Fellowship at NYTW, James McLure Fellowship New River Dramatists, Sloan/EST Commission (Dakota Atoll), John N. Wall Fellowship Sewanee Writer's Conference, Carol Ostrow Commission (The Desert), Blackburn Nomination (Mexico), PoNY Nomination, Cherry Jones/Abingdon Theatre Company Grant. Finalist and semifinalist include: the Source Festival and BAPF (Alligator), BAPF (Dakota Atoll), O'Neill NPC (Dakota Atoll), New Dramatists, and the Leah Ryan Prize. Readings and workshops include: Juilliard, New York Theatre Workshop, New Georges, The Lark, The Flea, EST, Abingdon, Barrow Street, Barefoot Theatre Company, Pavement Group, Project Y, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Carolina Coastal University, New River Dramatists, The Actors Studio and The Aurora Fox in Denver. Productions include: American Girls (Off-Broadway at 45th St. Theater), The Mud Hole (Off-Off-Broadway F*IT Club), Two Lovers (New Georges #1MPF), and The Bronze Serpent (INTAR American Nightcap). Publications include Smith & Kraus, McFarland & Company, Original Works (American Girls). Film screenings include: Williamsburg Film Festival, IFS Festival (winner best actress), Nashville Film Festival finalist (B'Hurst). She is a member of SAG, AEA, Dramatists Guild, The Drama League, TCG, Playwrights' Center and Fractured Atlas. She is a member of EST, Project Y's writer group and a New Georges Affiliated Artist. She is a staff writer for, and has contributed articles to TDF Stages. Hilary lives in Bushwick with a fat orange cat, plays a little violin, volunteers with Undocumented Minors, and rides horses as much as it is possible to being broke and living in a big city. She is currently working on a feature (The Lost Coyote) with Oscar-winning producer, Mara Kassin.

Geoffrey Simon Brown is a Canadian theatre artist hailing from Calgary, Alberta. He is a graduate of National Theatre School's Playwriting program in Montreal where his graduating play The Circle premiered this spring. He is co-creator of the Major Matt Mason Collective, a theatre company dedicated to creating intimate, visceral, experimental theatre about and for Calgary's younger generation. Since 2010 he has worked with the collective to produce emerging and established scripts as well as collaboratively devised work. As a writer he has tackled an array of genres and styles from provocative subject matter to theatre for young audiences, original work to adaptation, ensemble-based creation to solo performance. His plays Destroy and Air have previously been produced by the Major Matt Mason Collective and a third show, Control, will be performed by the collective this June. As an actor he trained at Calgary's Mount Royal College and has worked in Calgary, Edmonton, and Montreal including credits for Theatre Calgary, Alberta Theatre Projects, and Northern Light Theatre. He is the 2010 recipient of Theatre Calgary's Stephen Hair emerging actor award and the 2013 winner of the Playwrights Guild of Canada Post-Secondary Award. In his free time he writes and sings for the bands Black Opus and Lichard Worm.

Nathan Cann is an MFA candidate in the Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch. He has twice been a semi-finalist for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neil Theater Center for his plays The Dark Ages of Marilyn Grant and The Rise and Fall of the American Empire. His play My Fall was produced off-off Broadway at TheaterLab. Readings of his plays have been produced by Hubris Productions in Chicago, Extant Arts and TheaterLab in New York.

Bennett Fisher is an MFA playwriting candidate at UC San Diego, class of 2016. He is a company member of Campo Santo, an associate artist with the Cutting Ball Theater, and a founding artistic director of both San Francisco Theater Pub and the Flying Island Lab. His plays include Hermes, Recoil, Don't Be Evil, Devil of a Time, The Dark Backward, Whoa is Me, Spark, Chronus, No Bull, Dis/Connected, translations of Ubu Roi and The Misanthrope, an adaptation of The Insect Play, and numerous one acts. Bennett's work has been workshopped and produced by Sleepwalkers Theater, Tides Theater, No Nude Men, New Conservatory Theater Center, the Cutting Ball Theater, San Francisco Theater Pub, Custom Made Theatre Company, the Bay One Acts Festival, and Playwright's Foundations One Minute Play Festival (San Francisco, CA), New Play Development Factory and the Palo Alto Art Center (Palo Alto, CA) San Jose Reparatory Theater's SJ REAL series (San Jose, CA), Bread and Water Theater Company (Rochester, NY), Dramaworks (Quincy, CA), the Element Festival (Chicago, IL), and Misfit Toys Rep (New York, NY). As an actor, director, and dramaturg he has collaborated with Campo Santo, California Shakespeare Theatre, Stanford Summer Theatre, Just Theater, Crowded Fire, Sponge Theater, the Pear Ave Theatre, Adirondack Shakespeare Company, Marin Shakespeare Company, and many others. Bennett wrote the screenplay for the feature film S.E.R.P., produced by Diamond in the Rough Films.

Tsehaye Geralyn Hébert A Southerner from the land of gumbo, Creole culture and Mardi Gras, Hébert grew up with a legacy rooted in story, song, dance and place. Among her many inspirations are her rural family seat in Pointe Coupée, LA; her birthplace of Baton Rouge, her mother's beloved New Orleans, and Chicago, which she now calls home. She earned a BS from Northwestern University's School of Communication; and studied briefly at Barbara Ann Teer National Black Theatre. She receives the MFAW in writing from the School of the Art Institute Chicago in 2014. pygMALI, her reimagining of Shaw's Pygmalion, won the RhinoFest competition at SAIC, 2014. A writer, writing teacher and cultural activist, she serves as playwright-in-residence at Chicago State University. She is the recipient of New Voices and Visions Award; and New Works/New Visions Midwest Playwrights Project for Bedtime Story and is one of eighty poets selected to celebrate U. S. Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks' 80th birthday. She is delighted and honored to have won the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition.

David Jacobi's plays have been produced and developed throughout the U.S. and in Beijing, China including the Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Portland Center Stage, Great Plains Theatre Conference, WordBRIDGE, Penghao Theater, and 798 Dashanzi Art District. His plays include Widower, Mai Dang Lao, The Monster Below, Ex Machina, and Battlecruiser Aristotle. He received a BFA in Dramatic Writing from Purchase College, has served as guest lecturer at Clemson University, and is currently enrolled in UC San Diego's MFA Playwriting program under the tutelage of Naomi Iizuka. David is co-founder of Monster Down! Theatre Company, a collaborative theatre group in Beijing, China.

Georgette Kelly is a playwright with networks in both New York and Chicago. She is currently completing an M.F.A in Playwriting at Hunter College with Tina Howe, Arthur Kopit, and Mark Bly, and she holds a B.A. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. Her play Ballast is a finalist in the 2015 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. Georgette's writing has also received the Writers WorkSpace Working Writer Grant and two City of Chicago CAAP Grants. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America. She has also held management positions for new works at The Goodman Theatre and Northwestern University, such as The State(s) of America: The Regina Taylor Project, The Dramatists Guild Chicago Initiative, and The Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project. Georgette is passionate about arts and language education; she has taught theatre and French to students in Paris, New York, and Minnesota. She has also lived and conducted research in Morocco.

Amy E. Witting is a playwright, filmmaker, actress, director, producer, and teaching artist. She has actively being working in the NY Theatre and Film community since 2003 and has had over twenty productions of original work performed both OFF and OFF-OFF Broadway. She is the Artistic Director of aWe Creative Group, a NoHo Based Theatre Company. Amy is a graduate of Ithaca College where she studied documentary filmmaking. As a filmmaker, she produced The Other Side: Savant Syndrome, About Face, and various others. Her film about violence against women, Womyn Unsilenced, inspired the creation of her first self-produced theatre showcase American Spirits. As a playwright her work has been seen at various theatres and festivals including: Edinburg Festival Fringe (G.I. Joe Jared,2011), 59E59 Theaters (G.I. Joe Jared, 2011), The Sam French Festival (Finalist, Create Me Pegasus 2011,) The Complex Theatre Project (American Spirits, 2007), IRT (Flora and Fauna 2011), and The Cherry Pit (Classic 8 2010). He play G.I. Joe Jared was published in NYTheatres's Plays and Playwrights 2011. As a producer she created PlayFUN! a twenty-four-hour maddening theatre festival that brings together students, emerging, and professional artists for a weekend of pure creativity. Through this festival she has mentored over fifty college students from various NY colleges and universities. In 2009 Amy worked closely with Dramatic Adventure Theatre travelling to Ecuador as part of their "Hecho en Ecuador" project. Travelling throughout the country the team taught theatre in various communities, and created original work that was performed both at the Richmond Shepard theatre in NYC.

The National New Play Network (NNPN) is the country's alliance of non-profit professional theatres that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays. Since its founding in 1998, NNPN has commissioned eighteen playwrights, provided more than twenty MFA graduates with paid residencies, and supported over 100 productions nationwide through its innovative Continued Life of New Plays Fund, which creates "Rolling World Premieres" of new plays. Hundreds of artists have gained employment through these efforts all over the country where NNPN Member Theatres are located. In addition to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NNPN receives support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, the Shubert Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Network is comprised of a relatively small group of Core Members, who pioneer and implement collaborative new play strategies, and a growing group of Associate Members, who disseminate the Network's programs and strategies nationwide. Visit

NNPN's Core Member theaters are: Actor's Express Theatre (Atlanta), Actor's Theatre of Charlotte (Charlotte, NC), Borderlands Theater (Tucson), Contemporary American Theater Festival (Shepherdstown, WV), Curious Theatre Company (Denver), Florida Studio Theatre (Sarasota), Fountain Theatre (LA), Horizon Theatre Company (Atlanta), InterAct Theatre Company (Philadelphia), Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas), Magic Theatre (San Francisco), Marin Theatre Company (Mill Valley, CA), Mixed Blood Theatre Company (Minneapolis), New Jersey Repertory Company (Long Branch), New Repertory Theatre (Watertown, MA), New Theatre (Coral Gables, FL), Orlando Shakespeare Theater (Orlando), Performance Network Theatre (Ann Arbor, MI), Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis), Playwright's Theatre of New Jersey (Madison), Prop Thtr Group (Chicago), Riverside Theatre (Iowa City, IA), Salt Lake Acting Company (Salt Lake City), San Diego REP (San Diego), Southern Rep (New Orleans), Unicorn Theatre (Kansas City, MO), and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Washington, DC).

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