2018 Featured Playwright
(A) NEW WORLD by James Still
1637. Plymouth Colony. When two young men discover themselves passionately and inexplicably drawn to one another, their insistence that “there is a nearness between us," collides with the complex morality of the Puritans and points toward a mysterious and unknown future. Inspired by two paragraphs from the Plymouth court records, (A) NEW WORLD shines a light on loves and lives nearly lost to the secrets of history.
James Still's Bio
JAMES STILL's plays have been produced throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia, South Africa, China and Japan. His recent work includes a trilogy of linked-plays: The House That Jack Built (Indiana Repertory Theatre), Appoggiatura (Denver Center Theatre), and Miranda (Illusion Theater, Minneapolis). Also: April 4, 1968: Before We Forgot How To Dream (Indiana Repertory Theatre); two plays about the Lincolns: The Widow Lincoln and The Heavens Are Hung In Black (both premiering at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.); a play for one actor about culinary icon James Beard called I Love To Eat (Portland Center Stage); a play for 57 actors called A Long Bridge Over Deep Waters (Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles); Looking Over The President’s Shoulder at theaters across the country; and And Then They Came For Me at theaters around the world. Still is an elected member of both the National Theatre Conference in New York and the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center. He received the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award from the William Inge Festival and the Todd McNerney New Play Prize from Spoleto/Charleston. He is the Playwright in Residence at Indiana Repertory Theatre, Artistic Affiliate at American Blues in Chicago, and lives in Los Angeles.
THE WAY NORTH by Tira Palmquist
When a lost, cold and very pregnant young woman stumbles on to her rural homestead in the Minnesota wilderness, Freddy Hansen doesn’t hesitate to take her in. It’s the right thing to do, and as the county’s former Sheriff, Freddy has dedicated her life to protecting and serving others. But when her new guest turns out to be a Sudanese refugee making a run for the Canadian border, what it means to protect and serve becomes a more complicated, and far more dangerous, question.
Tira Palmquist's Bio
TIRA PALMQUIST’s plays include The Way North, Overburden, Two Degrees (Denver Center), Ten Mile Lake (Serenbe Playhouse), Age of Bees (MadLab Theater, Tesseract),And Then They Fell (MadLab, Brimmer Street, New York Film Academy), This Floating World and others. Tira is currently working on Anyone’s Girl (working title), a commissioned play for the Lower Depth Theater Ensemble. The Way North was a finalist for the 2018 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and for the 2018 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Two Degrees has been featured in numerous festivals (including the 11th Annual Denver Center New Play Summit, the New American Voices festival in the UK, the Caltech 2014 Mach 33 Festival and the 2014 Great Plains Theater Conference) and had its World Premiere in the Denver Center’s 2016/17 Season. Two Degrees was also listed in the Honorable Mention list for the 2016 Kilroys. Ten Mile Lake, which premiered in 2014 at Serenbe Playhouse just outside of Atlanta, GA, was developed and workshopped in 2012 at the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, and was a finalist for the 2015 Primus Prize. Age of Bees premiered at MadLab Theater in 2012 (and was named Best Original Work by the Other Papers "Best of 2012” list), and was subsequently produced in 2015 at the Tesseract Theater in St. Louis. Age of Bees is now available through Original Works Publishing. Her work has been developed by the Denver Center, Moving Arts Theater, Seven Devils, Inkwell, 9Thirty Theater, The Road Theater, EST-LA and the Theatricum Botanicum Seedlings program. Tira teaches creative writing at the Orange County School of the Arts. She is a member of the Playwrights Union, the Anteaus Theater’s Playwrights Lab and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Her work as a director and dramaturg includes several seasons at the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference and the New Territories Playwriting Residency, a program she developed with Brian Clowdus at Serenbe Playhouse in Georgia. More info at www.tirapalmquist.com.
THE HANFORD INVASION! by Matt Smith
More than 50 years after a bizarre experiment, the spirit of an irradiated lizard makes its way home. But once there, it discovers the sunny banks of its beloved Columbia River poisoned by decades of nuclear waste. Having perfected – well, nearly - the ability to possess human bodies, the lizard invades the Hanford site, and the bodies of the bureaucrats tasked with waste cleanup. But in the face of an enormous, man-made ecological disaster, can one lizard monster really make a difference?
Matt Smith's Bio
MATT SMITH is a Seattle-based playwright whose plays have appeared at the Seattle Outdoor Theatre Festival, Balagan Theatre, Playlist Seattle, the Eclectic Theatre (Los Angeles), the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, Pittsburgh Playwrights’ Theatre, and 14/48: The World’s Quickest Theater Festival. His full-length plays Cork Dinosaur and March were performed at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. In 2017, Macha Monkey featured The Hanford Invasion! as part of their Distillery reading series.
AND THEN THE MOON SWALLOWED THE SKY by Rachel Nelson
On the eve of a full solar eclipse, three very different woman reach across time, space and history as they grapple with coming darkness and unknowable future that lays ahead, just beyond the moment in which the moon swallows the sky.
Rachel Nelson's Bio
RACHEL NELSON is a playwright and performance maker from the mountains of Oregon. She works most often at the messy and complex intersections of identity and performance, on and off the stage. She is a professor at Hollins University in Virginia, and spends most of her time in New Orleans, where she lives with her partner and an old yellow lab named Jazz. Her work has been produced in various universities, theaters, and living rooms and backyards all across the country.
FROST IN KILLEEN by Anne Adams
Bernice and her family are reeling from the sudden death of Bernice's husband, Ricky. As truths surrounding the tragic incident emerge, public scandal is imminent, and the family finds their longstanding reverence within the community under threat. With reputations at stake, demands are placed on Bernice to keep the ideal family portrait preserved. But what if Bernice is ready to set fire to the whole thing and walk away?
Anne Adams' Bio
ANNE ADAMS is a playwright and actor. Her play Strange Country was shortlisted with the BBC Writersroom in 2017, as well as the recipient of the New Light New Voices award in 2016 (as featured in American Theatre Magazine). It was produced by New Light Theater Project in NYC in July of 2016, directed by Jay Stull. In 2017, her second play Frost In Killeen was longlisted for the Papatango Playwright Competition, and also received a staged reading at Canal Cafe Theatre in London, as a part of The Playwrights Suite. The Lost Season, is the third play in A Lone Star Trilogy, a 3-play cycle set in her home state of Texas. In March, her latest play The Remains received a staged reading at Canal Café Theatre. As an actor, Anne has worked with Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago (Cherry Orchard and The Old Masters), Northlight Theater (Mauritius), Finborough Theatre (Footprints On The Moon), Arcola Theatre (Drones, Baby, Drones) and Theatre503 (Burning Bridges). She attended The School at Steppenwolf in Chicago in 2004 and holds a B.F.A in Acting from Emerson College.
THE PEOPLE IN THE CABIN by Nancy Bell
As society begins to collapse around them, Claire and James make a pact to move to a cabin in the woods, live off the land, and never have children. But with winter around the corner, a fox in the hen house and James’ increasing involvement in a private religion, Claire finds herself struggling to find meaning in a life stripped of all hope for the future. Is it truly time for humanity to die out? Or will the arrival of a mysterious stranger reveal the possibility of a more powerful pact with nature: one that demands life?
Nancy Bell's Bio
NANCY BELL's plays, Remember Me, The World Begun, Good in Everything, Old Hearts Fresh, and The New World were produced at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, where she served as Playwright-In-Residence for six years. She is also the author of Venus, finalist for the Next Generation New Play Prize, 2012, and co-author with novelist Peter Grandbois of the plays Mutual Consent, produced at California Repertory Theatre, and Present Tense, winner of the LaBute New Theatre Festival, 2013. Her play for families, Found at Sea was commissioned and performed with the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Other theatre for youth plays include A Most Outrageous Fit of Madness, currently touring with Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ education tour. As a performer, she has worked at Manhattan Theatre Club, New York Theatre Workshop, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Old Globe Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Geffen Playhouse, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and many others. Television credits include Star Trek Voyager, Numbers, Medium, Law and Order, Mad About You, Newsradio and Law and Order: SVU. She is co-author of the film Loudmouth Soup, in which she also appears. Her new play, Blow Winds, is currently in pre-production at Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, where it will be produced in June, 2018. She is Associate Professor of Theatre at Saint Louis University.
id Residences offer playwrights the time and space to work at their own pace, while taking advantage of the creative atmosphere and inspiration offered by the Conference environment.
STEVEN HAYWORTH (Monkey in the Shade)
STEVEN HAWORTH wrote Fernando which opened the Obie Award-winning Ice Factory Festival 2017 at the New Ohio Theatre (New York), and was also a winner of the Ashland New Play Festival, and the First Look Festival in Los Angeles. He was commissioned to write [home] or The Quest for the Lost Tablet of Ur for Zoo District in Los Angeles that received five LA Weekly, a Garland, and Ovation award nominations. Steven was also commissioned to freely adapt Mikail Bulgakov's Flight for the Open Fist Theatre. In New York Little Fishes was produced off-Broadway by Abingdon Theatre, Dark Age by Project III Ensemble Theatre, and The White Cave by Jesco Productions. Time and Tony Oliva, commissioned for the Seventh Inning Stretch at Mile Square Theatre, will appear in the Best Ten-Minute Plays of 2017/18 published by Smith and Kraus. Two Tribes was performed in the Carnegie Mellon Showcase of New Plays. In New Zealand he was one of four playwrights contributing to the Big Kahuna project directed by Christine Sang. Blue/Whitney was a winner of Stage Left Theatre’s 10th Leapfest New Play Festival in Chicago. Steven was a founding member and Associate Artistic Director of the Project III Ensemble Theatre in residence at the Ohio Theatre, Soho, NYC, where he wrote Dark Age, directed The Grand Ceremonial, and performed in many productions. As an actor he has performed in New York, Los Angeles, and regional theatre. Recipient of the CMU WCDAC Michael Goldberg award. MFA in playwriting from Carnegie Mellon University. www.StevenHaworth.com.
Private Idaho is a retreat opportunity designed specifically for playwrights who have attended the Conference in the past. Private Idaho playwrights may return to the Conference to re-charge, re-energize or simply to relax away from the pressures and expectations of daily life. Playwrights may be in residence for all or part of the Conference, depending on their own availability.
The 2018 Private Idaho Playwrights:
By Mason Kwiatkowski
Mentored by David Garrison
By Chloe Hanson
Mentored by Mirirai Sithole
By Paige Chapman
Mentored by Anne Adams
Trouble on the High Sea
By Sean Sands
Mentored by Danette Baker
By Miles Klind
Mentored by Allison Siko
Assassination & Love 101
By Brynne Kundrick
Mentored by Sheila McDevitt
Pretend to Sleep
By Annie Martin
Mentored by Ben Sahl
Uncertainty of Self
By Faith Brown
Mentored by Rachel Nelson
The Legend Returns
By Tyler Sybus
Mentored by Mallory Metoxen
By Hannah Baker
Mentored by Steven Haworth
Flowers for Hank
By Abigail Griffith
Mentored by James Still
The Unknown Mission of WWI
By David Straw
Mentored by Nancy Bell
By Kobi Windmiller
Mentored by Amy Rush
Actors: Danette Baker, Ed Baker, Carlos Beltran, Orion Bradshaw*, Matthew Cameron Clark*, Kevin Crowley*, Chantal DeGroat*, Jere Hodgin*, Samuel D. Hunter, Sheila McDevitt*, Anthony Moore, Casie Neuway, Leif Pedersen, Will Stewart, Challis Strohmeyer, Lauren Trujillo, Taylor Trujillo, and Taylor Youkstetter
*Actor appearing courtesy of Actors Equity Association
All photos on this page by Sarah Jessup
The 2018 finalists and semifinalists:
- The Storyteller, Sara Jean Accuardi
- The Motel Play, Stephen Brown
- #NewSlaves, Keelay Gipson
- Click, Jacqueline Goldfinger
- Incendiary, Dave Harris
- Millennialville, Cristina Luzarraga
- Island of Spiders, Nick Mecikalski
- Ugly Little Sister, Charlotte Miller
- Restless, Hugh Moffatt
- Humiliation Play, Charlie O'Leary
- Homeowners, Jason Gray Platt
- Becky & Her Lung Transplant, Lucy Wright and William Missouri Downs
- A Visitor's Guide to a Brothel in Pompeii, Jonathan Yukich
- Yellowstone: the ballad of the red-state white man, Jennifer Barclay
- Lillian Paula Carson, John Barrow
- The Accident Bear, Bob Bartlett
- Not Without Our Women, Andrew Black
- The Great and Small Compassions, James Bosley
- The Bones Whales Carry, Stacey Isom Campbell
- Survivor Guilt, Matthieu Chapman
- The Burlesque Astronomy Play, Sheila Cowley
- Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally, Noah Diaz
- mother's son, Dominic Finocchiaro
- Flight, Patrick Gabridge
- Ruby, Raul Garza
- All the Stupid Bitches, Morgan Gould
- Launch Day (Love Stores from the Year 2018), Michael Higgins
- We All Fall Down, Lila Rose Kaplan
- The Crooked Mansion, Robert Kerr
- Nerine, Brian Quirk
- Pulp Vérité, Crystal Skillman
- Nuclear Family, Dayna Smith
- Yosemite, Daniel Talbott
- Daughters of the Dewey Decimnal, Jona Tarlin
- Couch Surfing, Christopher G. Ulloth
- Period Sisters, Ali Viterbi