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Leah C. Gardiner

Playwrights debut. Premieres: two Pulitzer Prize finalists, Eisa Davis’ Bulrusher and Tanya Barfield’s Blue Door, as well as countless other new play workshops and productions by writers including debbie tucker green, Dan Deitz, Anna Deveare Smith, Penelope Skinner, Regina Taylor and Roy Williams. Upcoming projects include premieres of Dead Are My People, a new musical by Ismail Khalidi with music by Hadi Eldebek (Noor Theatre/NYTW); Kevin Artigue’s Sheepdog (South Coast Rep); and a commercial musical with book by Robert O’Hara, and producers George C. Wolfe and Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures. Off-Broadway: The Public, MTC, Atlantic, Soho Rep. Regional: NYSAF; Arena Stage, ACT, Berkeley Rep, OSF, Alliance Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, Studio Theatre, and others. National tour: Wit with Judith Light. Leah is also working with New York Times best-selling writer and “Instapoet” Rupi Kaur to adapt her work for the theatre. As writer/director: Cultures Collide. As short film director: The Belle Of New Orleans, Alliance Theatre. As a film producer: Mother of George starring Danai Gurira (Best Cinematography, Sundance). As an actor: playing herself in Ira Sachs’ Little Men opposite Greg Kinnear. BA: University of Pennsylvania, MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama. www.LeahCGardiner.com

Raja Feather Kelly

Playwrights debut. Off-Broadway: EVERYBODY,  The Death of The Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World, Funnyhouse of a Negro (Signature); EVERYDAY AFROPLAY (JACK); Electric Lucifer, Another Fucking Warhol Production (The Kitchen); Andy Warhol's Bleu Movie (BAM Fisher); Andy Warhol’s TROPICO (Danspace Project); Andy Warhol’s DRELLA, I Love You Faye Driscoll (The Invisible Dog); Andy Warhol’s 15: Color Me, Warhol; (Dixon Place). Honors: 2017 Princess Grace Award for a Fellowship in Choreography, 2018-19 Carthorse Fellowship at the Buran Theatre, 2017 Bessie Schoenberg Fellowship at the Yard on Martha's Vineyard, 2016 Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography, 2016 NYFA Choreography Fellowship.

Essay

Backstory: Run Me My Language

Think of words you may deem part of pop culture, words that seem to sprout up on social media, take over your newsfeeds, and then fade out of existence. Think “bae,” “bruh,” “bless.” If someone asked you where these words originated, where would you say? (Divinia Shorter, Literary Fellow)

Essay

The American Voice: Theater of the Neo-Soul

In 1998, 15 years before Beyoncé released her song “Pretty Hurts,” Lauryn Hill dropped her legendary record ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.’ ... And on a road in Raleigh, tucked into the backseat of her mother’s peach Volvo on the way to school, nine-year-old Tori Sampson was listening. (Lizzie Stern, Literary Associate)