LOS ANGELES: Geffen Playhouse has selected seven writers to participate in the 2023-24 cycle of The Writers’ Room, a program for engagement and collaboration between Los Angeles playwrights. This year’s participants are Ashley August, Paris Crayton III, Christina Ham, Paloma Nozicka, Alexis Roblan, and musical-writing team Jennifer Chang and Inara George.
Made possible through support from the William Randolph Hearst Foundation and Jerry and Terri Kohl, the Writers’ Room is designed to foster bold, relevant new work by the artistic community of Los Angeles. During this twelve-month residency, playwrights gather monthly to share their work and receive feedback from their peers as they generate the first draft of a new play or musical. One to two playwrights share work at each meeting, facilitated by Geffen literary manager & dramaturg Olivia O’Connor.
This year’s program will begin September. At the conclusion of the residency in Dec. 2024, each playwright will have the opportunity to further develop their completed draft in a reading produced by the Geffen. Writers’ Room playwrights receive a $2,000 stipend for their participation in the program and a $1,000 fee during their reading week, along with a meal and parking at each meeting. Playwrights also receive complimentary tickets to Geffen Playhouse productions during their residency.
Ashley August is an LA-based, Brooklyn-raised afro-latina actress, author, playwright, activist, teaching artist, and spoken word poet. She was previously the 3rd ranked woman poet in the world, a member of the ABC/Disney Discovers cast (‘21-‘22), a former Youth Poet Laureate of New York City, and named one of The New York Times 30 Under 30 Most Influential people. Along with multiple stage and screen appearances, her credits include Sundance, Cannes Film Festival, Netflix, Marvel, HBO, The Public Theater, and the Lark Play Development Center. August is the author of three self-exploratory books, Love Handles, Licorice, and Say I Won’t. She is the former curator and slam master of the Bowery Poetry Club.
Jennifer Chang is a multi-hyphenate artist based in Los Angeles. Her play The Devil is a Lie premiered with Quantum Theatre and she was the 2022 Beatrice Terry Drama League Resident for her play Matter. She is collaborating with Inara George and Larry Goldings on the musical Dear Margaret Sanger. Her directing credits include The Heart Sellers by Lloyd Suh at Milwaukee Rep, American Fast by Kareem Fahmy at City Theatre, On Gold Mountain with LA Opera at The Huntington, The Great Leap by Lauren Yee at Round House Theatre, Undo The Sea by Inda Craig-Galván with Primary Stages, and Vietgone by Qui Nguyen at East West Players (LADCC Award for Direction).
Paris Crayton III is a playwright, actor, and director. He was one of ArtsATL’s “30 under 30” and Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Artist to Watch.” Creative Loafing named him 2014’s “Best Local Playwright.” His plays have been presented/workshopped by the Classical Theatre of Harlem, NewYorkRep, Aurora Theatre, Clark University, Rising Sage Theatre, Atlanta Black Theatre Festival, and more.
Inara George is an LA-based artist best known for her solo work and for her many collaborations, including The Living Sisters, Merrick, and her Grammy nominated band, the Bird and the Bee, with producer Greg Kurstin. George has recorded close to 20 studio albums and has travelled the world playing rock clubs, music festivals, and venues like Carnegie Hall and The Hollywood Bowl. She has also sung with or backed up some of music’s greatest talents, including Paul McCartney, Sia, Shirley Manson and Garbage, Beck, Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters, and more.
Christina Ham’s plays have been produced both nationally and internationally at The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage, South Coast Repertory, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Tokyo International Arts Festival, and The Market Theatre in South Africa, to name a few. Christina is a two-time recipient of a McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting, a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, and a MacDowell Residency. She has received commissions from the Guthrie Theater, Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and The Kennedy Center, among others. She was a writer/producer on HBO’s Emmy Award–winning series Westworld, was nominated for the 2021 Writer’s Guild of America Award for her work on the Amazon series Them, and nominated for an Emmy Award on the Netflix series Sweet Tooth.
Paloma Nozicka is a Mexican-American actor, writer, and filmmaker, based in Los Angeles. As an actor she’s performed at the Geffen Playhouse, Goodman Theatre, and Steppenwolf Theatre. Her award-winning short film, Each Lovely Thing, was an official selection at the Austin Film Festival and is currently on the festival circuit. Her debut play Enough to Let the Light In premiered in the fall of 2022 at Teatro Vista and Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago. Television acting credits include The Red Line (CBS); Proven Innocent, Empire (FOX); Chicago Med, Chicago P.D. (NBC); and more. She is a company member of Jackalope Theatre Company in Chicago, and a proud member of SAG-AFTRA. She is represented by IAG and Zero Gravity Management.
A writer originally from the rural Oregon coast, Alexis Roblan‘s plays include Red Emma & the Mad Monk, Daughters Of Lot, You Feel So Far Away Right Now, The Andrew Play, and Samuel. Alexis has been supported and produced by theatre companies including Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Ars Nova, The Bushwick Starr, The Tank, Exquisite Corpse Company, Roundabout Theatre Company, New Perspectives Theatre Company, The Dennis & Victoria Ross Foundation, and more. Credits for the screen include the series Guidance (2017), Love Daily (2018), and the feature horror film Pasture (2021).
Geffen Playhouse is a nonprofit theatre company based in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles. The Geffen seeks to enrich the cultural life of its community through plays and educational programs that inform, entertain, and inspire. As of 2022, Geffen Playhouse had an approximate budget of $15.9 million.
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