June 28, 2016

Hammaad Chaudry, Monet Hurst-Mendoza and Keelay Gipson
Hammaad Chaudry, Monet Hurst-Mendoza and Keelay Gipson

Hammaad Chaudry, Keelay Gipson, and Monet Hurst-Mendoza have each won an Edward and Sally Van Lier Playwriting Fellowship at New Dramatists. Each fellow will receive a cash grant of $10,000 per fellow per year for two years, ($20,000 per fellow for the cycle); a two-year residency (July 2016-June 2018) at New Dramatists, which includes access to the Playwrights Lab programs; a profile page on the New Dramatists website, the use of the building as a place to work and conduct meetings, a vibrant community of diverse playwrights; individual mentorship matched with each Fellow from New Dramatists resident company of playwrights; a Van Lier Fellow Soiree introducing their work to field colleagues in the first year of their fellowships; and a “festivalized” presentation of their work within the second-year.

The Van Lier Playwriting Fellowship Program, made possible by a grant from the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust, was established to help young, economically disadvantaged playwrights living in New York City who are U.S. citizens from minority populations (e.g. Asian American, African American, Native American, Arab American, Latino, etc.) to develop their talent and become involved in the professional theatre community. Past Van Lier Fellows include Jackie Sibblies Drury, Charise Castro Smith, Robert O’Hara, Carmen Rivera, and Steven Sapp; New Dramatists alumni Diana Son, Lynn Nottage, Sung Rno, Eisa Davis, Zakiyyah Alexander, and current New Dramatists member playwrights Qui Nguyen, Betty Shamieh, Christina Anderson, and Kristoffer Diaz.

“We received a record number of applications for this year's Fellowship, quadrupling our last cycle's numbers,” said Diaz, the current program coordinator. “Our outside panel of readers and judges were impressed by the sheer scope of talent of color currently entering the pipeline. It's a thrill to have Monet, Keelay, and Hammaad bring their talent into the New Dramatists fold.”

Hammaad Chaudry is a New York City based playwright from Edinburgh, Scotland. His work has been staged both in the U.K. and U.S. including The Royal Court Theatre in London, The New York Theatre Workshop, The Pershing Square Signature Center and The Flea Theater. His plays include Salaam, Mr. Bush, Tokens, Kismat, God Willing and his most recent play An Ordinary Muslim, which has been developed under the close mentorship of Tony Kushner. He is currently a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect and member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group 2017. He is also a graduate of The Royal Court Theatre’s Young Writers Programme, where his work was selected for the Theatre’s Young Writers Festival and Unheard Voices competition. He holds an M.F.A in Playwriting from Columbia University where he was awarded the Dean’s Fellowship and a B.A. in International Politics from the University of Surrey.

Keelay Gipson is a multi-disciplinary artist including work as an actor, filmmaker, director and award-winning playwright. His play, What I Tell You in the Dark, was recently selected as a Premiere Stages Playwriting Festival Finalist. His work as a playwright has been seen at the Wild Project, Poetic Theater Productions, HERE Arts Center, 133rd Street Arts Center, The Theater at Alvin Ailey, Tom Noonan's Paradise Factory, Pace University, Planet Connections Theater Festivity, The University of Houston, The National Black Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights' Theater, Classical Theater of Harlem, and New York Theatre Workshop. He is a playwriting fellow with The Amoralists Theater Company's 'Wright Club, a Lambda Literary Emerging Voices Playwriting Fellow, and a Rising Circle Theater Collective INKTank Semi-Finalist. As Co-Artistic Director of The Oneness Project he means to explore questions focusing on social injustice through various performance based mediums.

Monet Hurst-Mendoza is a New York-based playwright from Los Angeles, CA. Her plays have been developed with Rising Circle Theater Collective, |the claque|, Lookingglass Theatre, Amios, The Oneness Project, The Other Mirror, The Kupferberg Center for the Arts, #serials@The Flea, Women's Project Theater, and Playwright’s Playground at Classical Theatre of Harlem. She is the current Playwright in Residence for The Other Mirror, an inaugural member of the 2016 MITTEN Lab, a 2016 SPACE on Ryder Farm resident, a member of the 2017 Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, and a 2014-2016 Women’s Project Lab Time Warner Foundation Fellow. She is a proud member of Rising Circle Theater Collective, where she spearheads INKtank/PlayRISE, a developmental writers lab and new works festival for emerging playwrights of color. B.A.: Marymount Manhattan College.

New Dramatists is dedicated to the playwright, and pursues a singular mission: To give playwrights time and space in the company of gifted peers to create work, realize their artistic potential, and make lasting contributions to the theatre. Founded in 1949 by Michaela O’Harra in association with Howard Lindsay, Richard Rodgers, Russel Crouse, Oscar Hammerstein II, John Golden, Moss Hart, Maxwell Anderson, John Wharton, Robert E. Sherwood, and Elmer Rice, New Dramatists is one of the country’s leading playwright centers and a nationally recognized new play laboratory, unrivaled in the depth and duration of our commitment to writers.  In the 67 years since our founding, 600 new dramatists have passed through our doors, creating work that has laid the foundation for contemporary American dramatic literature. Our alumni include some of the most influential writers of our time:  Robert Anderson, Kia Corthron, Nilo Cruz, Horton Foote, Richard Foreman, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, David Lindsay-Abaire, Eduardo Machado, Donald Margulies, Joe Masteroff, Lynn Nottage, Suzan-Lori Parks, Sarah Ruhl, John Patrick Shanley, Mac Wellman, August Wilson, Doug Wright, and many more. New Dramatists received a Ross Wetzsteon Award for excellence at the 2005 OBIES and a 2001 Tony Honor for “blessing the theatre with new and exceptional works that have assured both a rich theatrical heritage and future for the American Theatre.”


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