Bleu Beckford-Burrell, Else C. Went, Keelay Gipson, and Sarah Einspanier are the recipients of 2018–2019 writing fellowships at The Playwrights Realm, a nine-month program that provides support to early-career playwrights.
Over the course of nine months, fellows develop a new play and receive resources, readings, mentorship, and feedback designed to help them reach their professional and artistic goals. Fellows work with a director, design consultant, and actors over the course of two workshops to see their plays come to life, while attending regular meetings with one another and The Realm’s artistic staff.
The four playwrights were selected for their works: Lyons Pride (Beckford-Burrell); I LOVE SEAN (Einspanier); #NewSlaves (Gipson); and Saving Throw (Went).
The Fellowship culminates in a final reading of each playwright’s finished play as part of The Realm’s festival of new work, INK’D. The series is open to the public, free-of-charge, and will occur in spring 2019.
“I'm thrilled by the talented and thoughtful Writing Fellows we are working with this season!” says Founding Artistic Director Katherine Kovner. “Each of them has a truly unique voice yet they are all tackling timely and compelling themes. From Keelay’s examination of the NFL's commodification of black male bodies, to Sarah’s exploration of The Bachelor's effect on female friendships, expectations and fantasies, to Bleu’s tale of a Jamaican family’s struggles in America, to Else’s high school Dungeon and Dragons group striving to figure out their identities—in the game and real life. I am honored to have them join The Realm Family and I have no doubt they will become vibrant new voices in the American Theatre.”
The 2017–2018 fellows were Isabella D’Esposito, Christina Quintana, Sarah B. Mantell, and Celine Song.
Other alumni of the program include Amy Herzog, Bekah Brunstetter, Mia Chung, J.C. Lee, Ethan Lipton, Stefanie Zadravec, Joe Tracz, Mfoniso Udofia, Amelia Roeper, Elizabeth Irwin, Sarah Gancher, Patricia Ione Lloyd, and Donja R. Love, whose play Fireflies is currently in performances at Atlantic Theater Company.
The 2018-19 Writing Fellowship drew nearly 400 applicants. Finalists for this year’s fellowship program were Ricardo Pérez González’s Fish, Elisabeth Frankel’s 2076, Donnetta Lavinia Grays’ Laid to Rest, J. Julian Christopher’s Bruise & Thorn, Jessica Huang’s Zero-Infinity Flight Path, Amy Berryman’s The New Galileos, and Charly Evon Simpson’s form of a girl unknown. Semi-finalists include Raquel Almazan’s Café, Kari Bentley-Quinn’s The Diver, Nathan Dame’s Certain Tragic Events, Katja Gottlieb-Stier’s Human Animal, Trish Harnetiaux’s Bender and Brian, Amina Henry’s The Great Novel, Monet Hurst-Mendoza’s Torera, Divya Mangwani’s the cow swallows its tale, and Andrew Rosendorf’s Mermaid.