This Is Us’ Bekah Brunstetter and 9 Other Rising Writers Earn DGF Grants

Industry News   This Is Us’ Bekah Brunstetter and 9 Other Rising Writers Earn DGF Grants
The Dramatists Guild Foundation announces the writers and ten nonprofit theatres receiving $5,000 to produce new work.
Bekah Brunstetter
Bekah Brunstetter

The Dramatists Guild Foundation has supported new voices in the theatre that has led to productions from artists like Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Bridges of Madison County), Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman), Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In Transit, Frozen), and more. Now, the Foundation has announced, exclusively to Playbill, its recipients for the inaugural DGF Writers Alliance Grants.

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2017 Dramatists Guild Foundation Gala Walter McBride

The grants provide $5,000 to a nonprofit theatre’s production of a new work and another $5,000 directly to the writer being produced.


Among the recipients is Bekah Brunstetter (NBC’s This Is Us, The Cake), who is writing an original commission for Theater Breaking Through Barriers in New York City. “Her work is distinct, often with a surreal edge, that hilariously captures the human frailties which may be lurking just below the surface—and always delivering smart, provocative and highly entertaining plays, featuring incredibly strong roles for disabled women,” says TBTB Artistic director Nicholas Viselli. “Bekah has become one of the most distinctive, culturally relevant female writers working in the field today.”

The Foundation has also awarded grants to Meridith Friedman, writer of Your Best One, and Curious Theatre Company in Denver, Colorado, which presents the world premiere; Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald, writers of The Loneliest Girl in the World, and Diversionary Theatre in San Diego, California, which produces the “whip-smart” and emotionally deep team; Cameron Cobb, Michael Federico, and Max Hartman, writers of Pompei!!, and Kitchen Dog Theater Company in Dallas, Texas, which will mount this “crazy idea on paper”; Jenifer Nii, writer of The Weird Play, and Plan-B Theatre Company in Salt Lake City, Utah, which describes Nii as an intoxicating playwright; Kristiana Rae Colón, writer of Tilikum, and Sideshow Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois, which look forward to producing the “bold” work; and Jennifer Barclay, writer of Ripe Frenzy, and Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, which will present the “haunting” piece.

DGF selected writes whose work “pushes boundaries and shows tremendous promise“ and theatres with “superlative ethical standards in supporting the livelihoods and careers of writers.” To learn more about each of the individual works and their productions, visit the websites of these non-profit theatres.

“After 55 years of giving to non-profit theatres, our Board has restructured our former Theater Grant program into the Writers Alliance Grants,” says Foundation Executive Director Rachel Routh. “These awards honor our commitment to nonprofit theatres and give direct funds to the writers enriching their communities across the country. We believe that by honoring theaters with outstanding commitment to both the writers’ work and livelihood, we are doing our part to highlight the writers’ essential role in the creation of theatre.”

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