NEW YORK CITY: The Playwrights Realm has announced the inaugural 2017-18 Scratchpad Series Playwrights. The cohort includes Benjamin Benne, Miranda Rose Hall, and MJ Kaufman. The three selected writers will receive a developmental workshop, and travel and housing accommodations to attend it.
“For a long time, I’ve been wanting to find a way to open the Realm up to writers outside New York,” said founding artistic director Katherine Kovner in a statement. “There are talented playwrights living all over the country and Scratchpad gives us an opportunity to connect and collaborate on a national level. I was thrilled by the response to our inaugural Scratchpad Series—451 submissions from 41 states, and the District of Columbia!—and I’m excited to get to work closely with these exceptional writers on their distinctive and daring plays in the coming year.”
Hall is a Baltimore-based playwright. She will develop The Kind Ones, a play inspired by her time working in a Montana domestic violence shelter, as part of the Scratchpad Series. Her plays have been produced at the Yale School of Drama, Yale Cabaret, Yale Summer Cabaret, the DC Fringe Festival, and as part of the D.C. Women’s Voices Theater Festival. Her plays have been developed at Baltimore Center Stage’s Play Lab, PlayFest at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the Kennedy Center’s MFA Playwrights Workshop, and the Sam French Off-Off Broadway Festival. She also had a workshop at the 2017 National New Play Network’s annual showcase and at New York Theatre Workshop. Hall was the 2013-14 Hot Desk Resident at Baltimore Center Stage, and is the current resident playwright of LUBDUB Theatre Company in New York City. She has taught playwriting as a visiting lecturer at Wesleyan University, and she currently teaches at both Georgetown University and Baltimore Center Stage. She holds a BA from Georgetown University and an MFA from the Yale School of Drama.
Benne is a Minneapolis-based playwright. At the Realm, he will develop Querencia, a coming-of-age story about a young boy named Milo grappling with friends and his sexual identity. Benne is a 2017-18 McKnight Fellow in Playwriting at the Playwrights’ Center, and was a 2016-17 Many Voices Fellow. He received the Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Playwriting Award, was a runner-up for the National Latino Playwriting Award, a finalist for the Princess Grace Award, and a semifinalist for the Blue Ink Playwriting Award. His work has been produced by Annex Theatre, Forward Flux Productions, and Pillsbury House Theatre, and it has been developed with the Lark’s Playwrights’ Week, Two River Theater, Seattle Repertory Theatre, A Contemporary Theatre, Umbrella Project, Parley, and the Playwrights’ Center, among others. His plays have been finalists for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Ingram New Works Lab, Headwaters New Play Festival, and Austin Playhouse’s Festival of New American Plays.
Kaufman is a playwright and devised theatre artist working in New York City and Philadelphia. They will develop an as-yet unnamed play at the Realm. Their work has been produced at the Huntington Theatre Company, New York Theatre Workshop, the New Museum, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Page73, Colt Coeur, Yale School of Drama, Lark Play Development Center, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theatre, Crowded Fire, Fresh Ink Theatre, New Harmony Project, One Coast Collaboration, and their work has been performed in Russian in Moscow. Kaufman has received awards and commissions from the Program for Women in Theater, the Playwrights Foundation, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, YoungPlaywrights Inc., and the Huntington Theatre Company, where they are a playwriting fellow. Kaufman has also received the 2013 ASCAP Cole Porter Prize in Playwriting, the 2013 Global Age Project Prize, and the 2010 Jane Chambers Prize in Feminist Theatre. Kaufman is a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers’ Group and the WP Theater Lab, and they are a core playwright at InterAct Theatre. They have taught playwriting at Fordham University, Wesleyan University, SUNY Purchase College, the University of the Arts, and as a teaching fellow at Yale College. Kaufman attended Wesleyan University and received an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.