Play group


During their two year residency, members of Play Group become a part of the Ars Nova community. In addition to sharing new work and receiving feedback from their Play Group peers at biweekly meetings, members also receive dramaturgical support and artistic match-making advice from the Ars Nova artistic staff and invitations to Ars Nova shows, Resident Artists mixers, and to see the work of Play Group alums around the city. Over the course of their residency, they develop and showcase one of their plays in a weeklong workshop that culminates in a public Out Loud reading.

Nkenna Akunna (she/they) is an Igbo playwright, screenwriter, performer and lecturer from London whose work primarily explores friendship, time, labour, and power. Her debut play cheeky little brown opened at Bristol Old Vic and toured the UK to critical acclaim. Her work has also been produced by tiata fahodzi, Soho Rep, Bushwick Starr and Brown University. She is a recipient of an MTC Sloan commission, and a member of the 2022/23 Soho Repertory Theater Writer Director Lab, 2023/24 Ars Nova Play Group, and 2023 Royal Court/SISTER PICTURES Writers Group. She is winner of the 2021 Papatango Playwriting Prize, 2021 Neukom Institute Literary Award, and the 2020 Rosa Parks Playwriting Award and Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center. Her plays made the 2021 Women’s Prize shortlist and 2022 Bruntwood Prize shortlist. She was a 2021 Playwriting Fellow at Sewanee Writers’ Conference, 2022/23 Dramatist Guild Fellow finalist, 2023 Hedgebrook Writer-in-Residence, and a 2023 MacDowell Fellow. Her BA in Economics and African Diaspora Studies is from Dartmouth College and MFA in Playwriting is from Brown University, where she was recipient of the Lucille Lortel Playwriting Fellowship. Nkenna also works with Skin Deep Media CIC, a collective that makes space for Black creatives and creatives of colour through cultural production.

Lucas Baisch is a playwright and artist from San Francisco. Select plays include: Dry Swallow (Brown University), 404 Not Found (2022 O’Neill NPC Finalist), REFRIGERATOR (First Floor Theater), On the Y-Axis (The Bushwick Starr Reading Series), import speech_memory (Cutting Ball’s Variety Pack), and co-writing on The Arrow Cleans House (The Neo-Futurists). Lucas is a recipient of the Steinberg Playwright Award, the Princess Grace Award, the Kennedy Center’s KCACTF Latinx Playwriting Award, the Chesley/Bumbalo Playwriting Award, and a Jerome Fellowship from The Playwrights’ Center. He has taught writing at Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, Macalester College, The Playwrights’ Center, and through the Chicago Public Schools. His plays have been published by Bloomsbury/Methuen Drama and Yale’s Theater Magazine. Outside of writing for theater, Lucas’ artwork has been presented at Elsewhere Museum, the Electronic Literature Organization, gallery no one, and the RISD Museum. He has held residencies through ACRE, Millay Arts, the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, the Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit, and as a Lambda Literary Playwriting Fellow. MFA: Brown University.

Lyndsey Bourne (she/they) is a queer Canadian writer, teacher and a birth/abortion doula working with The Doula Project. Her plays have been developed with The Tank, Dixon Place, La MaMa, New Georges, Judson, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Brooklyn College, Williams College, Theatrelab, Playwrights Horizons, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ojai Playwrights Conference, New York Stage and Film and Ars Nova. They have been a resident artist at The Barn Arts Collective, Stillwright (Erik Ehn’s Silent Writing Retreat), Judson and SPACE on Ryder Farm. Lyndsey teaches at Playwrights Horizons Theater School (NYU) and previously taught at Williams College. They are a New Georges affiliated artist, a member of the New Georges Jam, a 2022 New Georges Audrey Resident, A 2022 Writer in Residence at The Ojai Playwrights Conference, a member of EST/Youngblood and the recipient of a 2020 NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music and Theater Grant. BFA NYU, MFA Brooklyn College (studied with Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney).

Charlie Oh’s plays have been developed at Manhattan Theatre Club, South Coast Rep, The Lark, Second Stage, The Goodman, the BMI Lehmen Engel Musical Theatre Workshop, and the American Music Theater Project. His play “LONG” won the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Award In Playwriting, placed second for the Mark Twain Prize for Comedic Playwriting, and was a 2019 Honorable Mention for The American Playwriting Foundation’s Relentless Award. His play “Coleman 72” won the Kennedy Center’s Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award and premiered at South Coast Rep in the spring of 2023, directed by Chay Yew. He currently holds a commission from Manhattan Theater Club and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and is developing projects for television with Amazon Studios and Universal Studios. He is a winner of the Disney/NMI New Voices Project, and The Craig Carnelia Songwriting Award. A recent graduate of The Juilliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program. BA: Northwestern University, where he studied playwriting under Laura Schellhardt. Acting: “The King and I” directed by Bartlett Sher, “All These Small Moments” (Tribeca Film Festival). 

Nadira Simone is the proud daughter of immigrants, Jamaican and Panamanian descent raised in Queens/Brentwood, NY. She is a Storyteller, Playwright, Poet and self-taught Illustrator/Graphic Artist. She has studied Film/Theater at Cornell University. Is a National Theater Institute Alum – Advanced Playwright ‘20. A Semi-Finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference (2021, 2018). Henley Rose Playwright Competition – First place Winner. An Austin Film Festival Second Rounder, Broadway Bound Theater Festival Finalist. Brave New Works Finalist. A Top 10 finalist Warner Bros./ HBO Chase Your Dreams Filmmaker Competition. Her play The Killing of Kings (part one) received a virtual reading (Brave New World Repertory Theatre). Her full Length Plays include: Here In Vain, The Killing of Kings (part one), The Barings of Blood (part two). She is currently finishing her 3-part series of Black Tragedies, in addition to her collection of short plays that ‘kinda go together’ – PLAY HERE [some plays].

reid tang writes plays and makes weird internet experiments. Their work includes WORK HARD HAVE FUN MAKE HISTORY (Clubbed Thumb Summerworks 2023), FUTURE WIFE (Theatertreffen Stückemarkt 2022), and Party in A Google Sheet (New Georges). They’re under commission from NYTW, NAATCO + Long Wharf Theatre, a recipient of the Sundance Institute Interdisciplinary Program Grant, and a finalist for the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship 2023/4. Currently, they are part of Ars Nova’s Play Group, the New Georges Jam, and an alum of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers’ Group & NYTW’s 2050 Fellowship. They grew up in Singapore and presently live in Brooklyn, NY. 

Past Play Group Residents

Nkenna Akunna, Lucas Baisch, Lyndsey Bourne, Charlie Oh, Nadira Simone, reid tang

Keelay Gipson, Johnny Lloyd, Garrett Kim, May Treuhaft-Ali, Else Went, Bailey Williams

Vichet Chum, Gracie Gardner, Dylan Guerra, Gethsemane Herron-Coward, Ife Olujobi, Mara Velez-Melendez

Melis Aker, Preston Max Allen, Serena Berman, Guadalís Del Carmen, Erika Dickerson Despenza, Jessica Huang, John J. Caswell, Jr.

Julia May Jonas, Anchuli Felicia King, Dustin Chinn, Noah Mease, Madhuri Shekar, Korde Arrington Tuttle

Amina Henry, Mary Elizabeth Hamilton, Ryan King, Kate Atwell, Jacob Perkins, Ray Yamanouchi

Sam Chanse, Milo Cramer, Michael Yates Crowley, Sarah DeLappe, Sarah Einspanier, Kate Tarker, James Anthony Tyler

Kevin Armento, Emma Goidel, Trish Harnetiaux, Tony Meneses, Antoinette Nwandu, Erika Sheffer

Liza Birkenmeier, Matthew-Lee Erlbach, Suzanne Heathcote, Meghan Kennedy, Justin Kuritzkes, Jonathan Payne, Celine Song

Sophia Alvarez, Jake Jeppson, Brian Otaño, Daniel Pearle, Max Posner, Erica Saleh, Charise Castro Smith

Sarah Burgess, Sarah Gancher, Nick Gandiello, Stephen Karam, A. Zell Williams, Bess Wohl

Joshua Allen, Rachel Bonds, Jon Kern, Josh Koenigsberg, Michael Mitnick, Kim Rosenstock, Sharyn Rothstein

Chad Beckim, Jenny Connell, Kara Lee Corthron, Molly Smith Metzler, Joe Tracz

Kristoffer Diaz, Zayd Dohrn, Tasha Gordon-Solmon, Samuel D. Hunter, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Matthew Lopez, Janine Nabers, Gregory Moss

Annie Baker, Bekah Brunstetter, Dylan Dawson, Amy Herzog, Steven Levenson, Samuel Brett Williams

Mike Batistick, Evan Cabnet, Ron Fitzgerald, Liz Flahive, Sam Forman, Etan Frankel, Kyle Jarrow, Nick Jones, Barry Levey, Carly Mensch, Elizabeth Meriwether, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rachel Shukert, Mat Smart, Aurin Squire, Adam Szymkowicz, Beau Willimon

Future Play Group Residents - Application Information

Play Group applications are currently closed. Check back later for details on our 2023-24 cohort and for information on how to apply next season!

Upcoming Events

Out Loud is an ongoing public reading series that showcases new work from Ars Nova’s Play Group residents.  Each reading is the culmination of a week-long workshop in which Ars Nova provides artistic support and essential resources for key creators to collaborate with actors and directors.

There are currently no Play Group events on-sale at this time. Check back later for a rundown of shows coming to a stage and screen near you!


The Play Group program at Ars Nova is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.