New Dramatists Announces Eight New Members of the Resident Playwright Company - The Class of 2022

June 9, 2015

Clare Barron, Kara Lee Corthron, Mashuq Deen, Jessica Dickey, Jen Silverman, Karinne Keithley Syers, Cori Thomas, Melisa Tien
Clare Barron, Kara Lee Corthron, Mashuq Deen, Jessica Dickey, Jen Silverman, Karinne Keithley Syers, Cori Thomas, Melisa Tien

New Dramatists, an artistic home and developmental laboratory for professional playwrights, is proud to announce the addition of eight writers to its resident company: Clare Barron, Kara Lee Corthron, Mashuq Deen, Jessica Dickey, Jen Silverman, Karinne Keithley Syers, Cori Thomas and Melisa Tien. They will be in-residence through 2022. These supremely talented theatre artists were selected by a seven-person committee of New Dramatists playwrights, alumni, and outside theatre professionals from 436 applicants after undergoing a highly competitive, nine-month consensus based evaluation process. New Dramatists will kick off their seven-year residencies with an evening of readings and celebration at the annual New Playwright Welcome in the fall.

Clare Barron is a playwright and actor from Wenatchee, Washington. Her plays include You Got Older, which received its world premiere this fall with Page 73, directed by Anne Kauffman (Obie Award for Playwriting, Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Play, and Susan Smith Blackburn finalist); Baby Screams Miracle (Clubbed Thumb Summerworks); and Dirty Crusty (Youngblood's Unfiltered). She is the recipient of the 2014 Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship and the Paula Vogel Award at the Vineyard. She is also a member of New Dramatists and Youngblood at EST, an Affiliated Artist with Target Margin, an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and is currently pursuing her MFA at Brooklyn College. As an actor, Clare appeared in the world premiere of Heidi Schreck’s The Consultant (Long Wharf) and traveled to Beirut to play Mae in an Arabic-English production of María Irene Fornés’ Mud.

Kara Lee Corthron’s plays include Julius by Design (Fulcrum Theater), Etched in Skin on a Sunlit Night (InterAct Theatre, Philadelphia), AliceGraceAnon (New Georges), Holly Down in Heaven (Forum Theatre, DC area), Spookwater, Listen for the Light, and Welcome to Fear City, which will be presented at the 2015 Bay Area Playwrights Festival. Kara is the author of the young-adult novel, The Distance From Me to You, forthcoming from Simon & Schuster. Awards/Honors: 2014-2015 Naked Angels/New School Issues Project Resident Playwright, Boomerang Fund for Artists Grant, Berkeley Rep 2014 Ground Floor Lab Residency, 2012-2014 Women’s Project Lab Time Warner Foundation Fellowship, The Vineyard Theatre’s 3rd Annual Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, the Princess Grace Award, two NEA grants, the Helen Merrill Award, Lincoln Center’s Lecomte du Nouy Prize (three-time recipient), the Theodore Ward Prize, the New Professional Theatre Writers Award, three MacDowell fellowships, residencies at Skriðuklaustur (Iceland), Djerassi, Hawthornden (Scotland), the Millay Colony, Ledig House, and New Dramatists. Fulcrum Theater, a company Kara helped launch, received a 2013 Obie Grant. TV: writer for NBC’s Kings (2008-2009). She has taught at various institutions including Primary Stages’ Einhorn School of Performing Arts (ESPA), Ohio University, NYU-Tisch, Playwrights Horizons Theatre School, and Temple University.

Mashuq Deen is a Brooklyn-based theater artist. Full-length plays include The Shaking Earth, about the 1984 anti-Sikh massacres in India, currently in development (readings: Ma-Yi, Page73, NYTW, Hemispheric Institute; residencies: NYTW at Dartmouth); Draw the Circle (dir. Chay Yew), a solo performance about a family struggling to deal with their transgender child, available for booking (InterAct Theatre, Georgetown University, Brooklyn BEAT Festival, PACE University, Hampshire College; staged readings: Public Theater, Dixon Place, Berkshire Fringe, NYTW at Dartmouth, Passage Theatre, and Queens Theatre in the Park); Tank and Horse, about two childhood best friends who are ripped apart by their families' secrets (Berkshire Fringe Festival); and Shut Up!, about a butch woman taking control of her story (James Baldwin Award, Dennis Johnston Playwriting Prize honorable mention). Fellowships and awards: New Dramatists company member, MacDowell Colony Fellow, NYFA, NYTW 2050 Fellowship, James Baldwin Award, Dennis Johnston Playwriting Prize honorable mention, nominated for the Weissberger Award. Theater-affiliated writing groups: Ma-Yi Writers Lab, P73 Interstate writing group member (2014-15), Public Theater Emerging Writers Group (2009) and Alumni Writers Group (ongoing). Deen received his MFA at the ASDS/New School of Drama. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild. (

Jessica Dickey is most known for The Amish Project, which premiered at the New York Fringe before opening at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater.  The Amish Project has gone on to be produced around the country and the world, including the American Theater Company in Chicago and the City Theatre in Pittsburgh, Mo’Olelo in San Diego, and most recently at Milwaukee Rep and New Rep. Jessica’s play Charles Ives Take Me Home premiered at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater (Susan Blackburn nomination), for which Jessica was hailed as “a talent to watch” by Charles Isherwood, and went on to be produced at City Theatre in Pittsburgh, Strawdog in Chicago, and Curious Theatre Company in Denver.  Jessica’s play, Row After Row, premiered with the Women’s Project at the City Center in NYC (Susan Blackburn nomination), completed its regional premiere at People’s Light and Theatre Company and most recently ran at Echo Theater Company in LA.  Her new play, The Guard, was commissioned by Ford’s Theatre in DC and will premiere there this September as part of the Women’s Voices Festival. Jessica is also an actor, most recently at Playwrights Horizons in the new Sam Hunter play, Pocatello. She is a member of New Dramatists.

Jen Silverman’s work has been produced Off-Broadway (Crane Story, Playwrights Realm), off-Off Broadway (Phoebe in Winter, Clubbed Thumb), and regionally at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville (The Roommate, Humana 2015) and InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia (The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane). Her new play, The Moors, is upcoming at Yale Rep (15-16 season.) She is a member of New Dramatists, a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, and is an affiliated artist with New Georges, Ars Nova, Youngblood/ EST and The Lark. She has developed work with Playwrights Horizons/ Superlab, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Williamstown, PlayPenn, the O’Neill, Seven Devils, New York Theatre Workshop, The New Harmony Project, and the Royal Court Theatre (upcoming residency). She’s a two-time MacDowell fellow, recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, The Leah Ryan / Lilly Award, and an Otis Guernsey New Voices Award from the Inge Center. The Hunters was selected for the Cherry Lane Mentor Project (mentor Lynn Nottage) and Still won the Yale Drama Series Award, and was published by Yale University Press. Education: Brown, Iowa Playwrights Workshop, Juilliard.

Karinne Keithley Syers is a writer and creator of interdisciplinary performance. Plays include Another Tree Dance (Chocolate Factory, 2013), Do Not Do this Ever Again (Ice Factory, 2008), Tenderenda (Danspace Project, 2005), Four Fruits (Surf Reality, 2000), and Montgomery Park, or Opulence (Incubator Arts Project, 2010), for which she won a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production. She was a fellow at The MacDowell Colony, a member of the SoHo Rep Writer/Director Lab, a two-time member of Puppet Lab at St. Ann’s Warehouse, and a member of New Dramatists. She founded 53rd State Press, home to her editorial experiments as a participant-historian of the downtown performance community. She co-founded Ur, a dance palace (2003-5), instigated the playwright think tank Joyce Cho, and co-hosted (with Jason Grote) the Acousmatic Theater Hour on WFMU. She collaborated as a performer, librettist, sound and video designer, and choreographer, with artists including Big Dance Theater, David Neumann, Young Jean Lee, Sibyl Kempson, Theater of a Two Headed Calf, Chris Yon, The Civilians, and Talking Band. She is currently completing her first documentary film with Jennie MaryTai Liu. MFA in Playwriting, Brooklyn College (2006); PhD in English, CUNY Graduate Center (2014).

Cori Thomas is a playwright and actress. Her plays include When January Feels Like Summer (World Premiere City Theatre Co., Pittsburgh); Pa’s Hat (Pillsbury House Theatre, MN); Flight 109, My Secret Language of Wishes (Various theaters and University productions including Mixed Blood, MN); The Princess, The Breast, and, The Lizard; The Unusual Love Life of Bedbugs and Other Creatures; Waking Up; His Daddy; our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor. Cori’s plays have been developed and produced at Sundance Theatre Lab, Goodman Theatre, City Theatre Co. (Pittsburgh), Page 73, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Playwrights Horizons, Lark Play Development Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Going To The River, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mixed Blood Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, Passage Theatre, The Playwrights Realm, New Federal Theatre, New Georges, The Black Rep (St. Louis), The New Black Fest, and Queens Theatre in the Park. A member of New Dramatists, she has been commissioned by South Coast Rep Theatre, The Sloan Foundation, NYSCA, EST, Pillsbury House Theatre. Grants from Jerome Foundation, Sundance Institute, MacDowell Fellow. Publications: (Viking Press) Plays for Two Waking Up; (Smith and Krauss ) Best short plays 2010 His Daddy; (Smith and Krauss) Selected monologues and scenes When January Feels Like Summer.

Melisa Tien is a playwright, screenwriter, and trained chef.  She is the author of the plays Yellow Card Red Card, Familium Vulgare, Refrain, and Daughter of Heaven.  She is a co-author of the collaboratively written plays We Play for the Gods, Jackson Heights 3AM, and the forthcoming, Roughly Speaking: Voices from the Soup Kitchen.  She has presented work at the Great Plains Theatre Conference, Women Playwrights International Conference, and the National Asian American Theatre Conference and Festival.  She has co-facilitated Rising Circle Theater Collective’s writers group and taught playwriting through Center for Talented Youth, 52nd Street Project, and Columbia University.  She was a member of the 2010-2012 Women’s Project Lab, and is over the moon to be a member of New Dramatists.  She holds a BA from UCLA, an MFA from Columbia University, and a Culinary Diploma from the French Culinary Institute.


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