Playwrights Enrichment Series

Fall 2008 marked the start of the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing Program’s Playwrights’ Enrichment Series, which was made possible by an anonymous gift from a program alumnus.

Jesse Cameron Alick headshot

Jesse Cameron Alick – Appearing at the Fall 2016 Plainfield, Vermont Residency

Jesse Cameron Alick is a poet, playwright, producer and Zen Master. He is Literary Manager at the Public Theater in New York, where he manages the flow of plays in and out of the building, reads and sees a very high volume of plays, runs the Emerging Writers Group and is involved in other artist development programs, is key in choosing plays and managing programs such as New Work Now and Public Studio, as well as providing dramaturgical support, feeding plays into the Public’s season pipeline, and serving as an artist liaison. Outside the Public, Alick is a freelance producer, playwright, freelance journalist and essayist. Alick studied writing with playwright Adrienne Kennedy and has taught theater courses and classes at a myriad of universities.

Todd LondonTodd London – Appearing at the Spring 2011 Plainfield, Vermont Residency

In 2009, Todd became the first recipient of Theatre Communications Group’s (TCG) Visionary Leadership Award, for “an individual who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to advance the theatre field as a whole, nationally and/or internationally.” Todd is beginning his fifteenth season as artistic director of New Dramatists, the nation’s leading center for the support and development of playwrights, where he has worked closely with more than a hundred of America’s finest playwrights and advocated nationally and internationally for hundreds more. A former Managing Editor of American Theatre magazine and the author of The Artistic Home, published by the Theatre Communications Group (TCG), he has written, edited, and/or contributed to a dozen books. This year saw the completion and publication of Theatre Development Fund’s (TDF) Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play, a five-year study of new play production in America, for which Todd has served as project director and senior writer. Todd won the prestigious George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for his essays in American Theatre and a Milestone Award for his first novel, The World’s Room, published by Steerforth Press. In 2001 he accepted a special Tony Honor on behalf of New Dramatists. Todd currently serves on the faculty of Yale School of Drama. He has two sons, Guthrie and Grisha, and lives in Brooklyn with playwright Karen Hartman.

Jane AndersonJane Anderson 

Jane Anderson is a multi-award winning writer and director who has created some of the most thought-provoking theater, film and television in the last two decades. Her plays have been produced Off-Broadway and in theaters around the country, including Actors Theater of Louisville, Williamstown, The McCarter Theater, Long Wharf and The Pasadena Playhouse. Her published plays: Looking for Normal, The Baby Dance, Defying Gravity, Food & Shelter, Smart Choices for the New Century, Lynette at 3 a.m. and The Last Time We Saw Her. Other works include The Pink Studio and Hotel Oubliette. Her most recent play, The Quality of Life, premiered at the Geffen Playhouse and produced at A.C.T. and was directed by Ms. Anderson. She wrote and directed The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio. She wrote and directed Normal for HBO which garnered six Emmy nominations (including best writing, directing and best made-for-TV film), three Golden Globe nominations, and Director’s Guild and Writer’s Guild nominations for best directing and writing. She wrote HBO’s ground-breaking The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom for which she received an Emmy, a Penn Award and Writers Guild Award for best teleplay. Her other television films include When Billie Beat Bobby and The Baby Dance for which she received a Peabody Award, a Golden Globe nomination and three Emmy nominations for best writing and made-for-TV film. She wrote and directed the first segment of If These Walls Could Talk II which starred Vanessa Redgrave and earned Ms. Anderson an Emmy nomination for best writing. Her other screenwriting credits include: How to Make an American Quilt and It Could Happen to You. Ms. Anderson resides in Los Angeles with her spouse Tess Ayers and their son, Raphael.


Gary Garrison

Gary Garrison was recently appointed Executive Director of the Dramatist Guild of America – the national organization of playwrights, lyricists and composers. For the past ten years he has filled the posts of Artistic Director, Producer and fulltime faculty member in the Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He has produced the last eighteen Festivals of New Works for NYU, working with hundreds of playwrights, directors and actors. Garrison’s plays include Verticals and Horizontals, Storm on Storm, It Belongs on Stage (and Not in My Bed), Crater, Old Soles, Padding The Wagon, Rug Store Cowboy, Cherry Reds, Gawk, Oh Messiah Me, We Make A Wall, The Big Fat Naked Truth, Scream With Laughter, Smoothness With Cool, Empty Rooms, Does Anybody Want A Miss Cow Bayou? and When A Diva Dreams. This work has been featured at the Boston Theatre Marathon, Primary Stages, The Directors Company, Manhattan Theatre Source, StageWorks, Fourth Unity, Open Door Theatre, African Globe Theatre Company, Pulse Ensemble Theatre, Expanded Arts and New York Rep. He is the author of the critically acclaimed, The Playwright’s Survival Guide: Keeping the Drama in Your Work and Out of Your Life, Perfect Ten: Writing and Producing the Ten Minute Play, two volumes of Monologues for Men by Men (all Heinemann Press), and the KCACTF’s Best Student Plays of 2006. He is a the program coordinator for the Summer Playwriting Intensive for the Kennedy Center, the former National Chair of Playwriting for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival and recipient of the Outstanding Teacher of Playwriting from the Association of Theatre in Higher Education.


Phillip HimbergPhilip Himberg 

Since 1997, Philip Himberg has been the Producing Artistic Director of the Sundance Institute Theatre Program which provides year-round support for playwrights and theatres artists on two continents. He expanded the program to include two new laboratories: The Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at White Oak and Playwrights Retreat at Ucross. In addition, he has created the Sundance Institute Theatre “international initiative” aimed at including Eastern European and East African participation at the theatre labs. In 2010, Sundance Theatre will unveil three new satellite labs: The Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA (North Adams, Massachusetts), the Theatre Lab at Governors Island (New York City) and Sundance/East Africa – a three week Lab in Lamu, Kenya supporting artists from four East African countries.  In addition to his work at Sundance, Philip has worked as a director at the nation’s leading regional theatres, including Playwrights Horizons, Huntington Theatre Company, Arena Stage, Philadelphia Theatre Co. and others.  He is also a published essayist (“Family Albums” in Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys, Dutton).


Christian ParkerChristian Parker

Christian Parker is the Associate Artistic Director at the Atlantic Theater Company, where he has worked since the fall of 2001. His world premiere production of Leslie Ayvazian’s Make Me will run from May-June, 2009 at Atlantic Stage 2. Most recently at Atlantic, he directed the New York premiere of Tina Howe’s play Birth and After Birth. In 2006, he produced, directed, and acted in 10X20, a festival of newly commissioned ten minute plays by writers previously produced at Atlantic, to inaugurate their new Stage 2 and celebrate the 20th anniversary of the company. For that festival, he directed plays by Tina Howe, Keith Reddin and Rolin Jones, and acted in Kevin Heelan’s The Compassioneer.  Also at Atlantic he  directed Ken Weitzman’s Arrangements and Jeff Whitty’s The Hiding Place. Other direction includes new works by David Lindsay-Abaire, Sheri Wilner, Eric Winick and Cusi Cram for the Chekhov Now! Festival, HB Playwrights Theatre, the 24 Hour Plays On Broadway, The Brick, and Atlantic 453/New Works Series. Prior to his tenure at the Atlantic, he spent several seasons as the Literary Manager at Manhattan Theatre Club. Christian has also dramaturged over fifty premieres of new American and British plays on, off and off-off Broadway. He currently runs the MFA Dramaturgy program at Columbia University, and holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MFA from Columbia.


Marisa Smith Marisa Smith

Marisa Smith is the owner and publisher (with her husband Eric Kraus) of Smith and Kraus Publishers in Hanover, New Hampshire. Smith and Kraus has over 500 theatre books in print and publishes 35 new theatre titles annually.  Marisa is also a playwright; her plays have been produced at Yellow Taxi Productions, Parish Players, the Boston Theatre Marathon and Women’s Theatre Project, among others.