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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 have been 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 June 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.

The Schedule 

Saturday, June 23rd

A Land of Plenty by Dayna Smith; directed by Teagan Rose at 2 PM

A brave group of pioneers make the pilgrimage west in search of a better life. As winter rapidly approaches and the travelers are trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountains, some rise to meet the challenge of survival and some have a long way to fall. A story of determination, responsibility and of the American dream, A Land of Plenty examines what American families in search of prosperity really look like. 

featuring Landon Miriscotti, Rachel Zink, Romy Higgins, Riel Paley, Erin Henriques, Jianna Peralta, Darrett Sanders, Jessica Goldapple, Sarai Easter, Evan Klein, Steven Strobel 

Borderline by Andrew Sianez de la O; directed by Alex Alpharaoh at 5PM

In the old cotton fields of Socorro, Texas, Enzo and Rosita have snuck away to write ghost stories, Tony and Veronica are both building up the courage to tell the other a secret, and an old man sings songs on a radio as he tries to make up for his past, all while a creature is lurking in the shadows.

featuring Adrian Gonzalez, Juan Estrella, Noelle Backman, Danny Soto, and Bridgette Fausto

Hit The Pavement or Hoboloboactive by Imani Redman; directed by Mike Batistick at 8PM

Dive into the world of homeless street crew The Mysfits. As tensions run high and the mystery of a members disappearance looms, each Mysfit must figure out what they want to fight for. Survival? Themselves? Each other? How much are they willing to lose in the process? They stay armed with their stories and dreams, some drugs and some knowledge. Turns out they’re much smarter than the world gives them credit for-and some of them refuse to be dismissed any longer. Through a fusion of music, dance, and poetry Hit the Pavement or, Hoboloboactive explores survival and stories about what keeps us alive when we are at the highest of lows.

featuring Jaquita Ta’le, Rhys Hyatt, NJ Ambonisye, Samuel Serrano, Gabrielle Rosser

Sunday, June 24th

Daughter of God by Zoe Jovanovich; directed by Abigail Marks at 1PM

After the archangel Gabriel rejects her proposal to go to Earth for the 100th time, Jacqueline, Jesus’ perpetually invisible younger sister, decides to take her fight closer to home. When she sets out to earn Heaven the right to vote, all hell breaks loose. A whimsical take on Christianity that asks what happens when Paradise isn’t perfect.

featuring Lindsay K. Vaerst, Alexander Pine, Arman Mavzareen, Gabriel Leyva, Nick Barnes, Josh Adams, and Tonatiuh Elizarraraz

Lark and the Dark by Cambria Denim; directed by Charlotte Miller at 4PM

Lark and the Dark is a grown up fairy tale about Alzheimer’s disease heavily influenced by the films of Hayao Miyazaki.

featuring Jacqueline Faerber, Asante Raby, Susan Louise O’Connor, Boni Alvarez, Jeff Alan-Lee, Dan Hagen, Kaiti O’Connor, and Jessica Payne

Our Garden by Jorrell Watkins; directed by Ahmed Best at 7PM

After the death of the family’s matriarch a group of estranged southern black women must come together to overcome loss and hardship as they are faced with the risk of losing the home their beloved mother made for them.

featuring Troy Leigh-Anne Johnson, Clarissa Thibeaux, Renee Brewster, Tamika Simpkins, and Lorinda Hawkins Smith

Public readings of the new plays

The Writers


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.”