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.
Megan Tabaque (Lead Mentor) is a Filipina-Canadian playwright, actor, and arts educator. Her work has been developed, commissioned, and produced by the Alliance Theater, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Tofte Lake Center, the Workshop Theater, Paper Chairs, Vanderbilt University, and Egg & Spoon Theatre Collective, among others. She is a James A. Michener Fellow, Kundiman Fiction Fellow, Sewanee Writers’ Conference Scholar, Seattle Public Theater Emerald Prize finalist, Playwrights’ Realm Scratchpad Series semi-finalist, and a 2021 Four Seasons Residency nominee. She is currently developing a brand new play about conspiracy theorists and human trafficking in Asian American communities titled Marry Me, Bruno Mars for Emory University’s Brave New Works festival. Megan earned her MFA in Playwriting and Fiction from the Michener Center for Writers in Austin, TX. She currently resides in Atlanta, where she is the 2021-2023 Emory Fellow of Playwriting.
Beth Ann Powers is a playwright, comedian, theater artist, screenwriter, and snarky little rascal. In 2017, Beth Ann received her degree in Theater Arts, Performance Creation from the University of Minnesota and is currently pursuing an MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University. Additionally, she has trained in television writing at The Comedy Lab with Kim Howard Johnson, as well as attended sketch and satire classes at IO Theater, Second City Theater, and The Institution Theater. Beth Ann has seen her work produced regionally with such companies as Little Lifeboats, The Playwrights Center, Phoenix Theater, Theater Unbound, Raw Sugar, and Umbrella Collective. She is also a former company member of the Minneapolis based sketch comedy troupe, Rinky Dink Operations. In 2015, Beth Ann helped co-found the production company Slap Happy Studios, for which she now serves as Artistic Director. Beth Ann is currently a staff writer for the satire website, wordbrothel.com.
Jamie Rubenstein is an English-teacher-turned-playwright who writes with explosive joy and heartbreak about the ephemeral nature of life. She grew up in New Jersey and has spent her whole adult life in New York. Her full-length plays include Ruth and Lydia (Alliance/Kendeda Finalist, Hunter MFA Thesis Festival and Roundtable Reading), Metzevich/Metz (Hunter MFA workshop), Sophomore (2020 Trustus Playwrights’ Festival Finalist), Sam, Inc. (The Bechdel Group Reading), What We’re Worth (ROO Residency semi-finalist) and The Postponement, adapted from Euripides’ Alcestis (Hunter MFA workshop). Her short plays have been performed at Spark Creative Works and ESPA/Primary Stages Detention Nights at the Cherry Lane Theater, Jimmy’s No. 43, and Skeleton Rep. She is in her final year at Hunter College’s Rita and Burton Goldberg MFA Playwriting Program, where she studied under Clare Barron, Lisa D’Amour, Lloyd Suh, and Christine Scarfuto. She holds an MA in English from Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English and a BA in English from Barnard College.
Katrina Richard is a theater artist that has performed on stages across the city of Chicago and the Chicagoland area as well as worked behind the scenes as a writer, producer, and director. Having been born and bred on the South Side of Chicago, she finds the city continues to hold a special place in her heart. Katrina will earn a MFA in Dramatic Writing from the University of Southern California (USC) in May 2022. During her tenure, she was awarded the Joan Beber Playwriting Award. Her mission as an artist is to illuminate marginalized voices, tell stories that have never been told before, and to tell classic stories with a fresh perspective.
Phillip Christian Smith is a 2022 Tennessee Williams Scholar at Sewanee, 2021 O’Neill (NPC) Finalist for his drag ball adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest titled: A Handbag is Not a Proper Mutha, 2020-21 Playwrights Realm Fellow, Lambda Literary Fellow, Winter Playwrights Retreat, two-time Blue Ink Playwriting Award Semi-Finalist, Finalist for The Dramatists Guild Fellowship and New Dramatists, Finalist and Semi-finalist PlayPenn, Two time Semi-finalist for The O’Neill (NPC), and runner-up in The Theatre of Risk Modern Tragedy writing competition for his play The Chechens, which also won Theatre Conspiracy’s playwriting award, and recently had its third production at Alliance for the Arts. He has been a semi-finalist for Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries (ASC), semifinalist for Barrington Stage’s Burman New Play Award, finalist for Trustus, former Playwright in Residence Exquisite Corpse and founding member of The Playwriting Collective. 2021 Playwright in Residence: Quicksilver Theatre’s Playwrights of Color Summit. Co-Literary Director of Exquisite Corpse Company. His work has been supported by The Fire This Time Festival, Bennington College, Primary Stages (Cherry Lane) ESPA, Fresh Ground Pepper, and the 53rd Street New York Public Library. MFA Yale School of Drama, BFA University of New Mexico. MFA Hunter ’23.