Play Group is a two year residency in which members become a part of the Ars Nova Resident Artist community. In addition to biweekly meetings where members share new work and receive feedback from their Play Group peers, members also receive dramaturgical support and artistic match-making advice from the Ars Nova artistic staff; invitations to Ars Nova shows, Resident Artists mixers, and to see the work of Play Group alums around the city; two Play Group writing retreats; and the opportunity to further develop and showcase one of their plays in a weeklong workshop that can culminate in a public reading.
This ongoing public reading series showcases new work from Ars Nova’s Play Group residents, offering writers the chance to see their work in front of an audience in the early stages of development. Each new 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 leading actors and directors.
Gracie Gardner is a playwright based in New York. Her play Pussy Sludge was a Theatertreffen Stükemarkt selection at Berliner Festspiele and is published in German by S. Fischer. She’s a resident at New Dramatists, and she’s the recipient of the Claire Tow Fellowship at the Atlantic Theater Company, a James Stevenson Prize, a Relentless Award, the James E. Michael Prize, a Clubbed Thumb Commission and a Manhattan Theatre Club Sloan Commission. Her plays Ballgirl and Athena are available on Samuel French. She’s also developing projects at Anonymous Content and Annapurna Interactive.
Keelay Gipson is an Activist, Professor, and award-winning Playwright based in New York and hailing from Tulsa, OK. His plays include demons. (JAG Fest/Dartmouth HOP Center), The Red and the Black (Finalist; The O’Neill, Sundance Theatre Lab), #NewSlaves (Finalist; Princess Grace, The O’Neill, Seven Devils), imagine sisyphus happy (Finalist; The O’Neill, P73 Summer Residency), CRH, or the placenta play (Semi- Finalist; The O’Neill, Bay Area Playwrights Conference, AADA Main Stage Live!), Nigger/Faggot (Downtown Urban Theater Festival), The Lost Or, How to Just B (Kernodle New Play Award), What I Tell You in the Dark (Finalist; Premiere Stages at Kean University), and Mary/Stuart, a dramatic queering of Friedrich Schiller’s classic play (BAM Next Wave Festival, partnership with Wendy’s Subway and Lambda Literary). He is the recipient of a Barrington Stage Spark Grant, the NYSAF Founders’ Award, the Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists, as well as writing fellowships with Lambda Literary, The Amoralists, Page 73 and the Dramatist Guild Foundation. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of New York, the Administration of Children’s Services of the City of New York, New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Season at Vassar College and Yale University. His work has been developed at The Bushwick Starr, Wild Project, HERE Arts Center, Pace University, West Connecticut University, National Black Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights’ Theater, The Fire This Time Festival, Classical Theater of Harlem, and New York Theatre Workshop. He is published in The Best American Short Plays anthology by Applause Theatre and Cinema Books and 48 Hours in Harlem, Vol. 3 by Harlem9. He has taught workshops, courses and masterclasses at NYU, Pace University, Rutgers University, Fordham, and the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
Dylan Guerra is a gay, Latinx New York City-based artist originally from Miami, Florida. He has been a finalist for The Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, NBC Universal’s Writers on the Verge Program, The MTC Directing Fellowship, The Drama League Hangar Directing Fellowship and a semifinalist for the Sundance Episodic Television Writers Program. His most recent play, Let’s Have a Seance, premiered at HERE Sublet Co-Op Series in February. And his next play, The Yalemihkeinsploke, is currently in development with Really, Really Theatre Group. BFA Southern Methodist University. He is a proud member of EST/Youngblood. One half of karen. dylanguerra.com
Gethsemane Herron-Coward is a poet-playwright from Washington, D.C. She has developed work with JAG Productions, The Hearth, Magic Time @ Judson, The Ice Factory Festival at the New Ohio Theatre and Playwright’s Playground at Classical Theatre of Harlem. Alumna of 24 Hour Plays: Nationals, VONA and The Fire This Time Festival. Residencies from The Virginia Center of the Creative Arts and the Millay Colony, where she was the recipient of the Yasmin Scholarship. Semi-Finalist for the Many Voices Fellowship at Playwright’s Center, the Princess Grace Playwriting Fellowship, Rising Circle INK TANK and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Finalist for Space on Ryder Farm and the Jane Chambers Playwriting Award. B.S. University of Wisconsin-Madison. MFA Columbia University. She’s enamored with Sailor Moon, witches and other magical girls warriors.
Garrett David Kim (he/him/his) is a theater-maker and educator based in New York City. His writing explores the queer, millennial, Asian-American/Hapa/brown experience. He’s developed and presented work at Pride Plays/Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Leviathan Lab, Irondale, Piper Theater Company, and The 24 Hour Plays. His play Are You There Truman? It’s Me, Just Another Guy Who Grew Up Secretly Worshiping Your Chiseled Porn Star Body Online, And Now I Think I Love You was awarded The Barbour Award in 2021. He’s currently embarking on a play cycle (which includes his plays Deliver Us and Kim’s Fine Food) about his Korean-American family’s 100+ history in the United States. He has also written for and directed original work created by the young people of Hell’s Kitchen at The 52nd Street Project, where he works as their Program Director. B.A. Fordham University.
Johnny G. Lloyd is a New York-based writer and producer. His work has been seen and developed at Second Stage Theater, Clubbed Thumb, 59E59, Dixon Place, Judson Memorial Church, JAGFest (White River Junction, VT), TheatreLab (Boca Raton, FL), and more. Recent plays include OR, AN ASTRONAUT PLAY (Co-Production, InVersion Theatre & The Tank), THE PROBLEM WITH MAGIC, IS: (Winner: Bay Area Playwrights Festival), and PATIENCE (New Voices Reading Series, Second Stage Theater). Johnny has collaborated as a writer with companies such as Theater in Quarantine and SalonSeance. Previously, he was a member of the 2020-2021 Clubbed Thumb Early-Career Writers Group and 2019-2020 Liberation Theatre Company’s Writing Residency. He is the Director of Artistic Development at The Tank and Producing Director for InVersion Theatre. Jglloyd.com
Ife Olujobi is a Brooklyn-based playwright and screenwriter from Columbia, Maryland. She is a member of the 2018-19 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, a 2019-20 New Voices Fellow at The Lark and a member of Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theater. Her work has been seen at The Public Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, Bishop Arts Theater Center (Dallas, TX), Abe Burrows Theater at NYU and more. She also is the founder and editor of Townies, a zine exploring the experiences of POC and queer people who have a relationship to suburban and rural areas of the US and abroad. She received her BFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2016.
May Treuhaft-Ali is a playwright and dramaturg. She is a 2021 Visionary Playwright at Theater Masters, a member of the Middle Eastern American Writers Lab at the Lark, and an alumna of Clubbed Thumb’s Early-Career Writers’ Group and The Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship. She has worked as a dramaturg at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Ars Nova ANT Fest, and Haven Theatre Chicago. Her dramaturgical essays have been published in Playwrights Horizons’ Almanac and Table Work Press’ Two Plays. May is the Literary and Community Engagement Assistant at Playwrights Horizons.
Mara Vélez Meléndez is a playwright born and raised in Puerto Rico. Her playwriting debut took place at the 2016 UPR Student Theatre Festival with The Natives Fight for Their Cave: Part 2. Their work has also been developed with The Lark, Teatro SEA, Pregones/PRTT, The Latinx Playwrights Circle, Fresh Ground Pepper and What Would The Neighbors Say?. Other plays include We Built Our Homes Near Kingdoms of Animals and Magic (The Lark’s 2019 Playwrights’ Week, 2019 Rita & Burton Goldberg Playwriting Prize), The Last Episode of El Super Mega Show and Notes on Killing Seven Oversight, Management and Economic Stability Board Members. Playwriting MFA: Hunter College.
Else Went (they/she) is a Brooklyn based playwright and sound designer. They are a member of the 2021-2023 Emerging Writer’s Group at The Public Theater. Former fellow at MacDowell Colony, Playwrights Realm, Trans Theatre Lab @ WP & The Public, and Living Room Theatre. Commissions include the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation via MTC (An Oxford Man), Weston Playhouse (Mirror Game; short), and Parity Productions (Boxcar). Else has received residencies from Stillwright and Barn Arts Collective. Semifinalist for ASC’s Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries (Courage! To the Field!) and the O’Neill Conference (Initiative). Finalist for ASC New Contemporaries (Whate’er). Her work has been previously developed with The Tank, International Shakespeare Center, Florida Studio Theatre, and The Brick, among others. Else is the co-founder and playwright of The Renovationists, an artistic collective dedicated to queering traditional modes of theatre.
Bailey Williams is a writer of plays and fiction. Her play I thought I would die but I didn’t (dir. Sarah Blush) was produced at The Tank in a New Georges supported production. Her previous play Buffalo Bailey’s Ranch for Gay Horses, Troubled Teen Girls and Other: a 90 Minute Timeshare Presentation premiered with the Exponential Festival in January 2018. It toured in August 2018 at The Brick in NYC, The Annex (Baltimore), and The Whole Shebang (PA). The entire show and additional material are available at buffalobaileysranch.biz. Bailey has developed work with Ars Nova, the Brick, Bushwick Starr, Cloud City, Curious Theatre, Dixon Place, La MaMa, the New Ohio Theater, The Tank, Williamstown Theatre Festival, University Settlement, Vital Joint and more. She has received residencies at Barn Arts, Drop Forge & Tool, and La MaMa Umbria. She is under commission by The Hearth Theater. She recently received a MacDowell Fellowship to work on her upcoming novel and is a member of the 2021-2022 Clubbed Thumb Early Career Writers Group. Her play Events will premiere at The Brick in a co-production with The Hearth Theater in 2022. Bailey has also written for a science and technology podcast (“Should This Exist?”) and a gay trivia show (“Hosting” on Scruff). She is a Colt Coeur Company member. MFA: Brooklyn College.
Applications for Play Group 2022 were accepted beginning June 21st and needed to be submitted by midnight on July 19th to be eligible for consideration. Applications required one full-length play, a playwriting resume, two theater references and a personal statement.
All playwrights who identify as emerging and who are able to attend meetings in NYC are eligible to apply. In selecting new members, we will take into account the writing in the submitted play (all plays are read in their entirety), how/if the writer stands to benefit from membership at this point in their career, what they would bring to the other writers in the group, and the overall balance of voices, styles and experiences in Play Group. Ars Nova recognizes both that it is a predominantly white organization and that historic institutional theater practices have led to an exclusionary and harmful environment for those who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Color. We are actively working to become a more diverse, anti-racist, inclusive organization in all ways. Writers of all races, genders, backgrounds and abilities are strongly encouraged to apply.
What appeals to you about this particular writers group for you right now?
Why do you write for live theater?
Do you have a next play kicking around in your brain? (we’d love to hear about that- and don’t worry we won’t hold you to it!)
What non-theater hobbies or obsessions inform your practice/process?
If you could design an unconventional workshop process, what would it look like?
What are your hopes and dreams (concrete or abstract) for theater you want to be involved in moving forward?