NSYPF 2020 Mentors/Panelists

2020 Mentors

Darren Canady (Lead Mentor) hails from Topeka, KS. His work has been produced at the Alliance Theatre, Congo Square Theater, Horizon Theatre, London’s the Old Vic Theatre, M Ensemble, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, American Blues Theater, and others. His awards include the Alliance Theater’s Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Award, Chicago’s Black Excellence Award, the Black Theatre Alliance Award, and the American Theatre Critics Association’s Osborn Award. His work has been developed at numerous festivals including the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwright’s Conference. His play You’re Invited appeared in The Best American Short Plays 2010-2011. His work has been seen or developed at the Quo Vadimus Arts’ ID America Festival, the Fremont Centre Theatre, Premiere Stages, the BE Company, Penumbra Theatre, and American Blues Theater. Darren is an alum of Carnegie Mellon University, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and the Juilliard School. He is a former member of Primary Stages’ Dorothy Strelsin New Writers Group, and a past participant in the T.S. Eliot US/UK Exchange. He is an artistic affiliate with American Blues Theater and Congo Square Theatre. He currently teaches playwriting at the University of Kansas.

Edith Freni holds both her BFA and MFA from NYU’s Department of Dramatic Writing. Her work has been produced and developed nationally at theaters including Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Profile Theatre Company in Portland, OR; EST, EST West, Labyrinth Theater Company, the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Actor’s Express, and City Theatre. Edith was a member of Youngblood, and is a member of Partial Comfort Productions, Ensemble Studio Theater, and the Dramatists Guild. She is an alum of the Ingram New Works Lab at Nashville Repertory Theater; the recipient of a New Territories Playwriting Residency at Serenbe Playhouse, and a fellowship at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Edith was the inaugural Emory University Playwriting Fellow from 2014-16 and served as the Tennessee Williams Playwright-in-Residence at The University of the South in Sewanee, TN from 2016-18. She has also taught at the University of Miami, UCSD and for the Dramatists Guild Institute. Her play The Hystericals was a finalist for the 2019 O’Neill Playwrights Conference and will be workshopped by The Cape Cod Theater Project this summer; This is About You was named a semi-finalist in 2020 and will be workshopped by Actor’s Express for the Virtual Threshold Reading Series on June 7th. Happiest Family on the Block was selected for the 2020/21 Great Plains Theater Conference. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and two cats, one gray and one orange. For all else: www.edithfreni.com

Lauren Brooke Ellis (she/hers) is a playwright, director, and stage manager from Aiken, South Carolina. Her professional work and tours span cities up and down the East coast. At Hollins University she completed the New Play Directing certificate in 2017 and graduated with her Master’s of Fine Arts in Playwriting in May 2020. She has devoted a significant amount of time in recent years to the development of new plays, most notably as the award-winning director of She Made Space by Meredith Dayna Levy, Community Garden by Ben Jolivet, and Arachnothology by Kimberly Patterson. Lauren is the Resident Professional Teaching Artist for the undergraduate theatre department at Hollins for the 2019-2020 academic year. She also serves as the chair for both the Ten Minute Play Festival and the Charles M. Getchell New Play Contest for the Southeastern Theatre Conference. 

Rachel Graf Evans is a writer and theater artist currently based in Philadelphia, PA. A dual MFA Playwriting Candidate, RGE studies and teaches full-time at Temple University during the academic year, and spends her summers as a member of the Hollins University Playwrights Lab, where she was a first year merit scholar in 2019. From 2016-2018, RGE created in Atlanta where she was a co-winner of the 2018 Essential Playwriting Award for Georgia Playwrights for her play Built to Float, as well as a recipient of the Ethel Woolson Lab at Working Title Playwrights for her play Pheromone. During her Atlanta tenure, she served as the Dramatists Guild Ambassador for Atlanta, the Alliance Theatre’s 2017-18 Literary Intern (where she was the Office Referee of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition), and a 2016-17 Playwright Apprentice at Horizon Theatre Company. RGE has studied playwriting with Jacqueline Goldfinger, Todd Ristau, Addae Moon, Arlene Hutton, David Walker, and Caroline Jackson-Smith. Proud member of Working Title Playwrights and The Dramatists Guild. Graduate of Oberlin College (B.A. High Honors Theatre/Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies) and Westtown School. Stay tuned at www.rachelgrafevans.com

Adrienne Dawes (she/her) is an Afro-Latina playwright, producer, and teaching artist originally from Austin, TX. Her work has been developed with Stages Repertory Theatre, B Street Theatre, Teatro Milagro, North Carolina Black Repertory, English Theatre Berlin, and others. Adrienne has been an Alice Judson Hayes Fellow (Ragdale Foundation), a Literary Fellow at the Tulsa Artist Fellowship (George Kaiser Family Foundation), a NALAC Fund for the Arts grantee, and a selected playwright for the 2018 Fornés Playwriting Workshop. Her play Am I White won the David Mark Cohen New Play Award from the Austin Critics Table and an award for Outstanding Original Script by the B. Iden Payne Awards. She has been a finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and a semifinalist for the Princess Grace Award. Her work is published by Vintage Books, Playscripts, Heartland Plays, Heuer Publishing, and Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. Adrienne is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ScriptWorks, and a company member of Salvage Vanguard Theater. She is currently pursuing a graduate fellowship (MFA-Theatre) at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. @heckleher www.adriennedawes.com

I.B. Hopkins is a playwright from Gainesville, Georgia and a proud YPF Alum! He is the author of numerous plays and musicals (along with composer/collaborator/pal Harry N. Haines) — notably, Tjipetir: A Search History,  recently seen in Austin’s UTNT Festival; The Republic of Sandra; South of Someplace, made possible by Young Playwrights, Inc.; Jimmy! A Musical Fable with Almost No Historical Basis, through the National Theatre for Student Artists and a Miller Fellowship; and Let Rise, anthologized in Applause Book’s Best New American Short Plays. He has been recognized as a distinguished emerging scholar by ATHE and MATC and received a Fulbright Grant for Creative Writing in a Haudenosaunee / settler Candian community in rural Ontario. He writes about obsession, empire collapse, unruly time, and the analog magic that knits us all together. With the aid of a James A. Michener Fellowship, he recently earned an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he is now beginning coursework for a PhD in Dramatic Literature.  

2020 Panelists

Korde Arrington Tuttle  is a multidisciplinary maker, poet, and theatre artist (playwright, librettist, performer, curator of emotional space), whose primary material is language. Their debut collection of haiku and photography, falling is the one thing i, was published in 2018. They’ve also written for TV shows Soundtrack and Them: Covenant. In February, Goodman Theatre presented the world premiere of Tuttle’s graveyard shift, which was written in response to the 2015 murder of Sandra Bland. The play “…was born out of the impulse to humanize the hashtag,” Tuttle said in an interview with Strange Fire Collective. “[eye] wrote the story to illuminate realities of black life in [a]merica.” Tuttle is also a resident artist at Lincoln Center Theater and Ars Nova. They were the recipient of the 2018 New York Stage and Film’s Founders’ Award as well as the Jody Falco and Jeffrey Steinman Commission for Emerging Playwrights at Playwrights Horizons.

Emma Goidel is the 2020 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow. Her plays include The Gap (Barrymore Award, Kilroys List 2019), Two Minutes To Midnight (developed at Clubbed Thumb under Sheila Callaghan), A Knee That Can Bend (Nominee, ATCA/Steinberg Award & Lanford Wilson Award), Local Girls (Finalist, Princess Grace Award), and We Can All Agree To Pretend This Never Happened (produced at EST, Òran Mór, and Tiny Dynamite/InterAct). She is a member of the 2020 I73 Writers Group and the Orchard Project Greenhouse Lab, and a New Georges Affiliated Artist. Her work has been developed and presented by Ars Nova, Azuka Theater, Clubbed Thumb, EST, InterAct, LAByrinth Theatre Co., Playwrights Realm, Playwrights’ Center, NYSAF, and PlayPenn’s the Foundry. She co-founded Philadelphia’s award-winning producing playwrights collective Orbiter 3, and is a new member of the Kilroys, an artist collective dedicated to gender parity in American theater.

Gabriel Jason Dean Dubbed “feisty as hell” by the New Yorker and “a great modern American playwright” by Broadway World, Dean’s plays have been produced/developed Off-Broadway and Regionally at distinguished companies such as New York Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, McCarter, The Kennedy Center, Oregon Shakespeare, and many others. Notable plays include Heartland (National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere, PlayPenn); In Bloom (Canadian Risk Theatre Modern Tragedy Award, Princess Grace Award Runner-Up; Laurents/Hatcher Prize Finalist); Terminus (Austin Critic’s Table Award, University of Edinburgh’s James Tait Black Prize Finalist, PlayPenn); Qualities of Starlight (Broadway Blacklist, Kesselring Nomination); Entangled (New York Innovative Theatre Award Nomination); and his often-produced play for young audiences The Transition of Doodle Pequeño (AATE Distinguished Play Award, NETC Aurand Harris Award). Dean penned book and lyrics for the young audiences musical Mario & the Comet (Seattle Children’s Theatre)and the activist musical Our New Town (The Civilians R&D Group). He was recently hired to polish the family comedy Get Gomez by Cranium Entertainment (pre-production), and his script for television, We Belong, was a finalist for the Humanitas New Television Writer Award.  Dean received the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, was a Dramatist’s Guild Fellow, Core Writer/Affiliated Writer at the Playwrights’ Center, a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre and Writer in Residence at Muhlenberg College and on faculty for Spalding University’s MFA program. His plays are published by Samuel French, Playscripts and Dramatic Publishing. He received his MFA from UT-Austin’s Michener Center for Writers. Current projects include a new musical with Grammy Award-winning pop duo A Great Big World; a musical adaptation of the best-selling YA novel and Oscar-nominated film The Breadwinner with Alley Theatre; a musical commission with Geva Theatre about Kodak founder George Eastman; and two original television pilots–Rabble, a speculative drama about the second American Revolution and Deplorable, a dramedy about a blue Veteran struggling to stay afloat in his very red hometown. Dean grew up in Chatsworth, Georgia— a mill town in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. He currently lives in Brooklyn. www.GabrielJasonDean.com

Andrew Watring is an Object theatre-creator from sweet home Huntsville, Alabama. Currently based in D.C, Andrew works as an activist, artist, and educator engaged in anti-racist creation and direct action. Andrew is a graduate from American University, and will be attending Brown University for an MFA in Directing in 2020. Recent and upcoming credits: Shakespeare is a White Supremacist (2017 – ), Hamletmachine (2019), Untiled Horror Project (2019),  and The Table They Refuse to Sit at (August 2020).   

Kimberly Belflower is a playwright and educator originally from a small town in Appalachian Georgia. Her play, Lost Girl, is published by Samuel French and won the 2018 Kennedy Center Darrell Ayers National Playwriting Award. Her latest work, John Proctor is the Villain, was included on the 2019 Kilroys List and was scheduled for a 2020/2021 rolling world premiere in the time before COVID-19. Kimberly’s plays have been commissioned, produced, and developed by Ojai Playwrights Conference, Studio Theatre, South Coast Repertory Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Alliance Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, The Farm Theatre, We the Women Collective, Theatre Emory, Peppercorn Theatre, Less Than Rent Theatre, Cohen New Works Festival, as well as many colleges and universities across the country. Kimberly is currently a Playwriting Fellow at Emory University, and has also worked as a writer and narrative lead for Meow Wolf, Santa Fe’s celebrated immersive arts collective. She proudly holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin.