Arena Stage The Mead Center for American Theater MY ACCOUNT
Event Calendar

Playwright residencies

The primary purpose of the residency is to allow the playwright to write plays.  The intent is to advance professional outcomes for the participating writers as well as to help Arena test and develop best practices for such residencies in theaters around the country.  The design of the Playwright Residencies are based on the following principles:

  • Writers need time to write.
  • Many writers find it helpful to be around other writers.
  • Development processes need to be designed with and for Playwrights.
  • Playwrights need producing support for a successful process.

Resident Playwrights

Amy Freed is the author of Restoration Comedy, The Beard of Avon, Freedomland, Safe in Hell, The Psychic Life of Savages and other plays. Her work has been produced at South Coast Repertory Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Seattle Repertory, American Conservatory Theater, Yale Rep, California Shakespeare Theater, Berkeley Rep, the Goodman, Playwright's Horizons, Woolly Mammoth and other theaters around the country. Her most recent play, You, Nero debuted at South Coast Rep in January 2009, and was produced at Berkeley Rep in June of that year. Her latest play, Right to the Top will have its first reading at the Pacific Playwright’s Festival in April, 2010. Freed has been the recipient of the Joseph Kesselring Award, the Charles MacArthur Playwriting Award, is a several times winner of the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Award, and was a Pulitzer finalist for Freedomland. She is Artist-in-Residence in the Drama Department of Stanford University. She has been Playwright-in-Residence for South Coast Rep, and recently served as Playwright-in-Residence for San Diego's Old Globe Theater.

Katori Hall is a playwright-performer hailing from Memphis, Tennessee. Her plays include Hoodoo Love, Remembrance, Hurt Village, Saturday Night/Sunday Morning, The Mountaintop (2010 Olivier Winner for Best New Play), WHADDABLOODCLOT!?!?, The Hope Well and Pussy Valley. Other awards include 2009/10 Lark Play Development Center Playwrights of New York (PONY) Fellowship, Kate Neal Kinley Fellowship, two Lecompte du Nouy Prizes from Lincoln Center, Fellowship of Southern Writers Bryan Family Award in Drama, Van Lier Fellowship from the Public Theatre, NYFA Fellowship and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award. Recently, she was short-listed for the London Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award and received the Otis Guernsey New Voices Playwriting Award from the William Inge Theatre Festival. Hall has been commissioned by the National Theatre in London, The Public Theater and the Women’s Project. She is a graduate of Columbia, Harvard and the Juilliard School.

Lisa Kron has been writing and performing theater since moving to New York from Michigan in 1984.  Her work has been widely produced at theaters such as the Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Arena Stage, A.R.T., The Huntington, A.C.T., Actors Theatre of Louisville, Tokyo’s Rinkogun, the Barbican and on London’s West End. Her plays include:  In the Wake (co-premiering currently at CTG in L.A. and at Berkeley Rep, scheduled NY premiere: Public Theater, Fall 2010); Well (premiere: Public Theater, 2004, named one of the year’s ten best plays by The New York Times, Associated Press, The Newark Star Ledger and Backstage; Broadway premiere:  March 2006, two Tony nominations);  and 2.5 Minute Ride (NY premiere: Public Theater, 1999, OBIE, L.A. Dramalogue and GLAAD Media Awards, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle nominations). Kron is also a founding member of the beloved OBIE- and Bessie-Award-winning collaborative theater company The Five Lesbian Brothers, whose plays include Brave Smiles, The Secretaries and Oedipus at Palm Springs (New York Theater Workshop).Lisa has received playwriting fellowships from the Lortel and Guggenheim Foundations, Sundance Theater Lab, and the Lark Play Development Center; an NEA/TCG Theatre Residency Fellowship; the Cal Arts/Alpert Award; and grants from the Creative Capital Foundation and New York Foundation for the Arts. Projects in development include a musical collaboration with composer Jeanine Tesori, a new play for Drew University, and another for the Sloan Foundation through Playwrights Horizons. Lisa teaches playwriting at the Yale School of Drama. 

Charles Randolph-Wright ’s plays include Blue and Cuttin' Up, (which had sold-out runs at Arena Stage and have been produced around the country) and most recently The Night Is A Child (starring Jo Beth Williams at Pasadena Playhouse). His directing credits with Arena Stage include Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies and Guys and Dolls (both starring Maurice Hines), Oak & Ivy, Anthems, Senor Discretion Himself and Cuttin' Up. His directing credits include the 75th anniversary international tour of Porgy and Bess, Daniel Beaty in Through The Night (Geffen Playhouse) They're Playing Our Song in Brazil (in Portuguese), Brian Stokes Mitchell in Love/Life (Lincoln Center), Tough Titty (Williamstown), Blood Knot (with music by Tracy Chapman at ACT), among other productions at the Roundabout, NY Shakespeare Festival, NY Theatre Workshop, Manhattan Theatre Club, Mark Taper and Carnegie Hall. Randolph-Wright wrote and directed the upcoming film Mama I Want to Sing and directed the award-winning film Preaching to the Choir. TV directing credits include Lincoln Heights, South of Nowhere, and the Nike Freestyle Soccer campaign starring Ronaldinho. He also produced and wrote Showtime's critically acclaimed series Linc's.

Karen Zacarías plays include Legacy of Light, the adaptation of How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Mariela in ihe Desert, The Book Club
, The Sins of Sor Juana. Her children’s musicals include Looking for Roberto Clemente, Chasing George Washington, Ferdinand the Bull, Einstein Is a Dummy, Jane of the Jungle, Cindrella Eats Rice and Beans. Her plays have been produced at Arena Stage, The Kennedy Center, The Goodman Theater, The Denver Center, Round House Theater, The Arden, Cleveland Playhouse, The Alliance Theater and many more. Her awards include: 2010 Finalist for the Steinberg Award for best New American Play (Legacy of Light), National Francesca Primus Prize (Mariela in the Desert), Winner: National Latino Play Award, Winner ATT/TCG First Stages Award, Finalist Susan S. Blackburn Award, New Voices Award, and the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play (The Sins of Sor Juana). Karen lives in D.C. with her husband and three young children. She is also a playwriting professor at Georgetown University, and the founding Artistic Director of Young Playwrights’ Theater in D.C.

Project Residents

David Henry Hwang plays include M. Butterfly (1988 Tony Award for Best Play, 1989 Pulitzer Finalist), Yellow Face (2008 OBIE Award for Playwriting, 2008 Pulitzer Finalist), Golden Child (1997 OBIE Award, 1998 Tony Nomination for Best Play), FOB (1981 OBIE Award), and The Dance and the Railroad. He wrote libretti for the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author), with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice; Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Flower Drum Song (2002 revival, Tony Nomination for Best Book of a Musical); and Disney’s Tarzan, with songs by Phil Collins. His opera libretti include four collaborations with composer Philip Glass, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof, The Voyage (Metropolitan Opera), The Sound of a Voice, and the upcoming Icarus At The Edge of Time; as well as Bright Sheng’s The Silver River, Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar (2007 Grammy Awards for Best Opera and Best Classical Composition), Unsuk Chin’s Alice In Wonderland (Opernwelt 2007 World Premiere of the Year), and Howard Shore’s The Fly.  Hwang penned the feature films M. Butterfly, Golden Gate, and Possession (co-writer), and also co-wrote the song “Solo” with Prince. His newest play, Chinglish, will premiere in 2011 at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre, co-produced with the Public Theater in New York. Hwang attended Stanford University and the Yale School of Drama and served by appointment of President Clinton on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Lynn Nottage is a playwright from Brooklyn. Her plays include Intimate Apparel, Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine, Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Las Meninas and Ruined. They have been produced and developed at theatres both nationally and internationally. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2007 MacArthur Genius Award, an OBIE Award for playwriting, NY Drama Critics Circle Award, Best play and John Gassner Outer Critics Circle awards, American Theatre Critics/Steinberg 2004 New Play Award, 2004 Francesca Primus Award and two AUDELCO awards. Nottage’s most recent publications include: Intimate Apparel and Fabulation (TCG) and an anthology of her plays, Crumbs from the Table of Joy and Other Plays (TCG) which includes Crumbs from the Table of Joy, Las Meninas; Mud, River, Stone; Por’knockers and Poof! She was awarded a 2007 Lucille Lortel Foundation Fellowship, 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship, The National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award and the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she is currently a visiting lecturer. Nottage is also a recent graduate of New Dramatists.

In the Press

Washington Post

More Information

Fact Sheet Downloads


Karen Zacarías began her Residency on January 1, 2010.

Resident Playwrights Lisa Kron and Amy Freed begin July 1, 2010, along with Project Residents David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage.

 Katori Hall and Charles Randolph-Wright will begin on January 1, 2011.