2023 Playwright Participants
ADRIEN KAY (Kennesaw State University) is a queer disabled artist based in Atlanta, GA. Set to graduate from the Theatre and Performance Studies program at Kennesaw State University Summer 2023, he’s excited to shift into professional theatre work. Adrien has a passion for poetry, acting, storytelling, and, of course, playwrighting. Outside of theatre Adrien is a cosplayer, alternative fashionista, podcast enthusiast, and cat dad.
BRIANNA WHITE (Georgia State University) is from Conyers, Ga and currently a senior majoring in Media Entrepreneurship at Georgia State University. She enjoys listening to music, writing, learning new things, and spending time with friends and family. She hopes to one day be apart of creating children’s entertainment as well as create meaningful content that everyone can enjoy.
CAMRON WRIGHT (Howard University) is a recent alum from Howard University who majored in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and minored in playwriting. Wright grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida where she developed a love for storytelling across different mediums. Wright hopes to have a career in the theater and entertainment industry.
DE’AVEYON MURPHY (University of Texas at Arlington) is a recent graduate from the University of Texas at Arlington, where he earned a BFA in Theater Arts with a concentration in Acting. While he has been writing for as long as he can remember, his venture into playwriting is a newer pursuit. Combining his passion for acting and writing, De’Aveyon aims to create engaging and thought-provoking theatrical experiences.
DONNIE FRAZIER (SUNY Albany) is a senior at SUNY Albany, with one semester left in his undergraduate years. He is a theatre major, minoring in creative writing. He is from Roosevelt, New York, a small town on Long island.
ELIZABETH SHANNON (Marymount Manhattan College) is a rising junior at Marymount Manhattan College, working to obtain her BFA Acting and BA Writing for the Stage degrees. She has completed a residency with Young Playwrights Theatre of DC and is a four-time winner of The Blank Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival. She was an inaugural winner of ENOUGH! Plays to End Gun Violence in 2020, having her play Loaded Language produced in 47 places across the world and counting. She is the 2023 winner of the Wichita State University Bela Kiralyfalvi National Student Playwriting Competition. She has worked with Baltimore Centerstage, Third Avenue Playhouse, South Coast Repertory, Olney Theatre of DC, and many others. She is published on Playscripts and in two Smith and Kraus monologue anthologies. Instagram: @_elizabethshannon
HAILEY SIPES (Emory University) is an aspiring playwright, dramaturg, and screenwriter. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Hailey is a rising senior at Emory University where she studies Playwriting and Classical Civilization. Although she’s been interested in storytelling from a very young age, it is through studying ancient theater that she finds a great deal of inspiration for her work, finding great inspiration from Euripides and Ovid (although a poet) in particular. She is keen on stories that explore liminality, femininity, and the human psyche, with a budding interest in horror playwriting.
JACKSON COOK (University of Arkansas) is a rising senior at the University of Arkansas, pursuing a major in English with a minor in History. He is a below-average tennis player, a lover of terrible movies, and a dedicated voicemail-leaver. Hailing from Little Rock, his writing explores the challenges of social isolation in modern America, often through the lens of absurd situations and earnest characters.
JARED GOUDSMIT (Tulane University) is a playwright, actor, and crossword puzzle constructor from St. Louis, MO. He graduated from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA with a double major in Theatre Performance and Political Science. Jared is a three-time winner of the Blank Theatre’s Young Playwrights Festival and a YoungArts Winner and Finalist in Film. His first play, Derailed, was published by Samuel French in 2018. Some of his favorite shows are Trouble in Mind, Dying for It, and The Drowsy Chaperone. He’s also a runner and a proud puzzle nerd. He’s very excited to meet everyone at the festival – if you spot him, come say hello!
JEILIANNE VAZQUEZ (University of North Georgia) is a Puerto Rican actor and writer at the University of North Georgia and a member of the Gainesville Theatre Alliance. She will begin at Brenau University in the fall to finish her BA in Theatre. She has always had a passion for storytelling. Her goals and aspirations are to create roles for women, especially Latina women, that empower and break all kinds of barriers. She wants to tell stories that can still speak to all people. She is the president of the student organization Color Alliance, a Marketing team member with GTA Marketing, and an active member of The Bridge Church. Her other passions include film, her family, painting, sketching, her dog Padme, and Coffee. Mi Familia, I do this for you.
JESUS E FELICIANO (Carnegie Mellon Univ) is a Puerto Rican playwright and dramaturg, attending his second year at Carnegie Mellon University, where he’s studying Dramaturgy. As the fourth of five children, Jesús grew up well surrounded by family and friends who helped and educated him. In his works, he pursues to present the world in an optimistic matter that relates the strong themes Jesús believes in. Amongst the topics and themes he has discussed are: femicide, cultural identity, family dynamics, mental health, religion, grief, and Latinx sensibilities. His works have been presented in CMU’s Playground Festival and his high school’s Theater Club. Moreover, Jesús has a passion and works in directing and film—he has submitted short films to numerous festivals.
KADIN SMITH (Howard University) is a 2023 graduate of Howard University, where he received his B.A in Media, Journalism and Film with a minor in Playwriting with summa cum laude honors. This fall, Kadin will be entering Emerson College’s MFA in Writing for Film and Television program. Kadin believes that by studying playwriting or screenwriting at the graduate level, he will be able to refine and dedicate my time to writing, whilst expanding my network in the field and producing my first projects. After graduate school, Kadin sees himself producing a television show for HBO, developing his first motion picture, workshopping plays around the New York theater circuit, and potentially starting his own production company.
KAMILA BOGA (Dartmouth College) makes theatre that explores the intricacy, beauty, and tragedy of growing up. She resides in Los Angeles, California, and developed a passion for arts education during her time as a theatre student at Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. She is a rising junior at Dartmouth College where she studies Theatre, Psychology, and Education. Kamila is the proud Company Manager of Dartmouth’s Displaced Theatre Company where she recently directed her original one-act, Inflatable Heart. After graduation, she hopes to continue her work in theatre as an actor, director, and playwright as well as further her studies in theatre arts as it relates to social and emotional development.
MALCOLM MONTGOMERY (University of Georgia) (she/they) is a playwright, screenwriter, and journalist from Jonesboro, Georgia. He has recently graduated from the University of Georgia with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a minor in Theatre. He is a creative storyteller with a love for both facts and fables. Through the medium of the theatre he hopes to explore the many questions, jokes, and fascinations of the human experience. He strives to both entertain and broaden the perspectives and outlooks of his audience; helping people to see what the average person wouldn’t notice or think of. His inspirations are Norman Lear, Lorraine Hansberry, and Ralph Ellison.
NICOLE McKINNEY (University of Florida) is an actress and playwright from Miami, FL. She will be going into her third year at the University of Florida where she is pursuing a BFA degree in Acting. She is passionate about storytelling and creating new and exciting stories that feature fantasy, science fiction, and the supernatural within realism.
OLIVIA JOHNSON (Dillard University) is from Pensacola, Florida and recently graduated as Salutatorian from Dillard University. She received her degree in theatre with a concentration in performance. Her full-length play, The Second Prophecy, was selected by The Black Academy of Arts and Letters for an Equity staged reading in Dallas, Texas. While at Dillard, Olivia also debuted her one-act horror comedy, ROUGAROU, which she also cast and directed. Earlier this year, Dillard University’s production of Yellowman, a two person play featuring Olivia as one of the leads, was awarded New Orleans’ “Big Easy’s Best University Theatre Production.” Olivia is excited to step into the real world as she pursues a career in acting and playwriting.
SAMANTHA GARCIA NUÑEZ (Texas State University) is from Houston, Texas and a rising senior theatre, performance and production major at Texas State University. She first got involved in theatre in high school where she stage managed nine productions, including a UIL show. By senior year, she realized what she wanted to do was storytelling and to create worlds with her writing. In college, she found something else to be passionate about: directing. Her dream is to start her own theatre company where she is the director/producer of her plays’ world premieres. She wants to bring the audience in and invite them to feel comfortable with the uncomfortable, to be vulnerable and open in the space, and to know it’s okay to connect with these characters…because they are real. Theatre is real and it is the most magical thing she has ever had the pleasure to experience.
SAMANTHA GRIFFIN (Columbia College – Chicago) (she/her) is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago where she received her BFA in Musical Theatre Performance with a minor in Playwriting. She grew up in Southern New Hampshire and has returned to the Greater Boston area post-grad. Samantha owns over 100 books she has yet to read, loves mint chocolate chip ice cream, and listens to Taylor Swift daily.
SARAH BROWN (Columbia College – Chicago) is an Iowa native and a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she earned her degree in Playwriting and Stage Management. Her work has been featured in several publications, including the University of Greenwich and Columbia College Chicago’s playwriting anthologies entitled When the Party’s Over and Renaissance. This summer she will be stage managing a new work entitled The Fallen Angels Hotel. She plans to stay in Chicago, where she is currently a production intern at the Chicago Dramatists. Outside of theatre she enjoys hammocking at the lakefront, catching up on Love Island UK, and trying to (finally) finish Pokémon Brilliant Diamond. She is also an avid MUNA fan, putting their music in rotation with Adam Melchor, ABBA, and Fleetwood Mac.
SARAH HALL (The University of the South) (she/her) is a recent graduate from Sewanee, The University of the South, who studied English, Creative Writing, and dance. For most of her life, she has lived in Spring Hill, Tennessee. She has been writing fiction for as long as she can remember, but she only recently starting writing plays in her last year of college. Her fascination with the stage started with directing performing arts shows and stage managing dance recitals. When she is not writing, she can be seen collecting tea sets, teaching dance classes, or taking her dog on long walks while listening to the same albums on repeat.
SUSAN LI (Emory University) is from August, Georgia and is a rising senior at Emory University, studying film and media with a concentration in business. She is honored to participate in this festival as this was her first time writing a complete play. She feels extreme gratitude toward her playwriting professor and fellow writing peers for supporting her through writing a full narrative for the first time. She wants her writing to explore the intersectionality of being queer and Asian in a way that centers joy and fantasy. She believes that, in writing, the right amount of absurdity can be more therapeutic than one might think. She loves all things pink and watching Chinese fantasy dramas with her stuffed animals.
TALIA SPEAK (Temple University) (she/her) is an actor, playwright, and director from Wilmington, Delaware. She recently graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia with a double major in Theater and English. Here, she had the opportunity to perform in several Temple Theaters productions (including The Wolves and Fefu and Her Friends) and write, direct, and produce new work through Temple Theaters Side Stage. Talia sees theater as a tool for building connection, community, and empathy, and especially enjoys consuming and creating work which explores female friendship.
TARA CARROLL (University of Florida) is an actor and playwright from Melbourne, Florida. She has always felt passionate about the beautiful world of writing and storytelling. As an actor, Tara has participated in multiple productions through Florida Players, the University of Florida’s student-run theatre company, including Push-Up and The Wolves. For her performance in the latter, Tara was nominated for Best Leading Performance in a Play by her peers. She made her directorial debut this past spring with a production of Chemical Imbalance: A Jekyll & Hyde Play. Tara feels very grateful to be selected for this festival alongside these other wonderful candidates. Tara is currently finishing her undergrad in public relations and theatre at the University of Florida.