AMERICAN THEATER | Echo Theater Company selects young national playwrights

LOS ANGELES: Echo Theater Company has selected its Young National Playwrights in Residence for the 2021-22 theatrical year. The program aims to connect young American writers with professional mentors.

“We’ve been focused on creating original works from the very beginning,” Echo Theater founding artistic director Chris Fields said in a statement. “This program, under the direction of our Director of New Programs, Andrew Shafer, extends our reach beyond the traditional theater centers of Los Angeles and New York to develop new voices across the country.”

Echo selected writers with unique voices who represent a diversity of experiences and backgrounds, pairing each artist with an established professional writer to develop a new work. At the end of the residency period, the Echo will transport everyone to Los Angeles to rehearse and present a final works festival with staged readings.

Ada A., playwright and director with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Chicago, will work with Naveen Bahar Choudhury, playwright, librettist and lyricist whose work was produced, commissioned and developed by Ma-Yi Theater, Prospect Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater, Second Stage Theater, New Federal Theater, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, Lark Play Development Center, New Dramatists, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse and others.

Zachariah Ezer, an MFA candidate in Drama Writing at the University of Texas at Austin, whose work explores theoretical questions, is paired with award-winning playwright / screenwriter, fellow Eugene O’Neill and professor at the University of Kentucky Herman Daniel Farrell III.

Lily Gonzales, a UT Austin graduate who has worked with the John F. Kennedy Center, Teatro Vivo, Repertorio Español, Stages, AlterTheater Ensemble and Workshop Theater, will work with Kira Obolensky, an award-winning playwright with pieces produced Off -Broadway, in Los Angeles, Prague and Terezin, and in places such as homeless shelters, prisons, tribal colleges, chemical addiction centers and immigrant centers.

Aris Hines, an African and Native American animator and artist, currently pursuing a master’s degree in international education and Philippine cultural studies at George Washington University in Washington, DC, will work alongside Dominic Finocchiaro whose play The Found Dog’s Ribbon Dance was produced by the Echo in 2017.

Michael Mobley, whose writing aims to shatter stereotypes about the intimate and private lives of black Americans, will collaborate with three-time Sundance Institute scholarship recipient Matthew Paul Olmos, the playwright commissioned by the Actors Theater of Louisville Humana Festival and resident playwright New Dramatists among many other credits.

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