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National Young Playwrights in Residence

NYPR is designed to nurture the next generation of playwrights through professional mentorship, staged readings, and the sharing of their work through digital platforms.

Six playwrights between the ages of 18 to 25 will be selected for a year-long mentorship with an established professional writer toward developing a new work. This will culminate in a staged reading of the young playwright’s work in August 2018 at The Echo Theater.

The Echo’s goal of this program is to break down any geographic barriers preventing talented young playwrights from receiving the recognition, support, and guidance so critical in a writer’s early development. We are committed to being there for the young writer, and insuring that new voices from all across the country are getting a chance to be heard. This residency is a transformative way for new writers to fearlessly create bold new work with the support of a professional artistic community.


Andrew Sianez- De La O

Andrew Siañez-De La O is a Chicanx playwright, actor, and author from El Paso, Texas. He graduated from Emerson College in 2017 with a BFA in Theatre and Performance and was awarded the school’s Betsy Carpenter Playwriting award for his play Sangre Mía. His collection of short stories, Lo Siento Miguel, was also published by Wilde Press, Emerson’s Undergraduate Students for Publishing group. He received training as a creative producer from ArtsEmerson where he assistant directed the world premiere of Mala by Melinda Lopez. Outside of writing, Andrew is also a scenic designer for the stage, a production designer for film, and an actor for both. He currently lives in Boston, MA. You can find examples of his writing and design work at www.andrewsianezdelao.com


Cambria Denim

Her plays include gospel/woundA Girl Smiles in the Arctic, and arabesque no 1, for which she received a National Undergraduate Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center. She recently graduated from Texas State University in the Acting program, helmed by The Nanny‘s Lauren Lane. She believes strongly in dogs, warm mall pretzels, and every woman on Earth. www.cambriadenim.com


Dayna Smith

Dayna Smith is a Boise-based playwright, dramaturg and director with a BA in Theatre Arts, Dramatic Writing from Boise State University. Dayna has completed internships with The Playwrights Center, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference and Boise Contemporary Theater and has worked as a playwright and dramaturg at The Kennedy Center; Seven Devils Playwrights Conference; HomeGrown Theater; Boise Contemporary Theater; and the Boise State University Theatre Majors’ Association. Dayna is a recipient of a Higher Education Research Council Undergraduate Fellowship and an Idaho Commission on the Arts Quickfunds Grant. Additionally, she is the Artistic Director and a co-founder of Boise’s Campfire Theatre Festival, which had its inaugural festival in September 2017. 


Imani Redman

Imani A. Redman – Originally hails from Jersey and is currently a junior at Ohio University studying BFA Playwriting. She also studies multiple other disciplines within the performing arts including acting, poetry, and movement. Imani is an alumni of the advanced playwriting program WordLab at Theater Development Fund (TDF) in New York City. Her first full length, Cops and Robbers and Other Games of Innocence, had a professional workshop and reading through Theater Development Fund’s PlayLab program. Also her one-act play #iftheygunnedmedown won a National Gold Medal in the Dramatic Script category at the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She uses her writing to explore the complexities of the minority, especially in relation to ethnic youth. Imani would like to thank God, her family, friends, peers, and mentors for never ceasing in supporting her. 


Jorrell Watkins

Jorrell Watkins (Brotha Jorrell) is an artist and educator from Richmond, VA. He earned his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and Critical Social Inquiry from Hampshire College. He has studied playwrighting at the Voices of Our Nations (VONA) Writer’s Workshop, and poetry at Cave Canem community poetry workshops. He is a recipient of the 2015 Five College James Baldwin Memorial Prize for the development of his choreopoem, Harlem Vanguard. From 2014-2017 he served as the Director of the nationally touring Hip-hop Theater play, Mixed Race Mixtape. Currently, he mentors Richmond youth in arts and youth leadership through the Richmond Peace Education Center. In addition, he works within the criminal justice system to establish safe, healthy and sustainable reentry for incarcerated individuals into their communities. 


Zoe Jovanovich

Zoe Jovanovich is an emerging playwright and actress hailing from the Pacific Northwest. Her play “Megan and the Bear Go Camping (To Solve Their Problems)” was developed at the 2017 Kennedy Center Undergraduate Playwright’s Workshop. She received her BA in English and Theatre from Western Washington University, with concentrations in acting and writing. Zoe currently resides just outside of Seattle, WA, and attempts to play tennis during her fabled “free time.”