The Lillys have announced the inaugural fellows for the Hansberry Lilly Playwright Fellowship, a recently launched opportunity within the Lorraine Hansberry Initiative. Graduate students Amalia Oliva Rojas and Danielle Stagger have been announced as the 2023 Hansberry Lilly Playwright Fellows
Rojas and Stagger are both pursuing Master of Fine Arts degrees in playwriting. Rojas, a Mexican poet, performer, and theatre artivist is enrolled at Columbia University. Hailing from Queens, Stagger pursues her degree at Yale University where she continues to prioritize Blackness, queerness, and womanhood in her work.
Each is receiving a $25,000 stipend for each year of matriculation and up to $75,000 for living expenses not covered by subsidized tuition. Rojas and Stagger were selected by a panel of playwrights led by Lydia Diamond and Nikkole Salter.
“These inspiring young playwrights confirm that in their talented hands the future of the American theatre is bright. And Lord are we all craving singular voices delivering moving and entertaining plays about things that matter,” said Diamond.
The fellowship encourages women and non-binary playwrights of color to follow in Hansberry’s footsteps regardless of race, gender, or economic situation. The fellowship has been created in an effort to rectify documented gender disparities based on gender and identity. The fellowship is awarded on the basis of both merit and need. Women and non-binary writers of color enrolled in graduate playwriting programs at select schools were encouraged to apply. The list of eligible programs may be expanded in future years.
Partnered with The Lillys, The Dramatists Guild Foundation will manage the $2.5 million Hansberry Lilly Playwright Fellowship endowment and administer awarding of the fellowship.