Playwrights Realm Names Four 2012-2013 Fellowship Recipients

by Jacob Coakley


The Playwrights Realm Fellowship helps four early-career playwrights take a script from draft to production-ready state.
The Playwrights Realm Fellowship helps four early-career playwrights take a script from draft to production-ready state.

The Playwrights Realm has named Chad Beckim, Theresa Giacopasi, Don Nguyen and Mfoniso Udofia as members of its 2012-2013 Writing Fellows program. The early-career playwrights will receive help over the course of nine months to take a script from draft form into a production-ready state. More than 200 playwrights applied to the program which offers development support, a $2,500 stipend, an internal reading with actors, a final reading of their play for a public audience as part of The Playwrights Realm's INK’D Festival in May.

Playwrights Realm Announces 2012 - 2013 Writing Fellowships
Chad Beckim, Theresa Giacopasi, Don Nguyen & Mfoniso Udofia Are Newest Playwriting Class

NEW YORK – The Playwrights Realm <>, under the leadership of Artistic Director Katherine Kovner and Producing Director Renee Blinkwolt, has selected four early-career playwrights, Mfoniso Udofia, Theresa Giacopasi, Don Nguyen, and Chad Beckim, for its 2012-2013 Writing Fellows program.

The Writing Fellows program lies at the very heart of what The Playwrights Realm does – helping writers write.

Each year, four early-career playwrights are selected to join The Playwrights Realm to work on a new play over the course of nine months, taking that play from draft form to a production-ready state.

"Each of this year's writing fellows brings a unique and theatrical perspective to his or her writing,” said Ms. Kovner, Artistic Director of The Playwrights Realm.  “Chad, Don, Mfoniso and Theresa all come to the Fellowship from different backgrounds and are bringing very different styles to the group.  They have already started to bond and are taking full advantage of all the resources of the Realm.  I’m excited to see where the year takes us.”

In addition to creative and professional development support, over the course of the year-long Fellowship the selected playwrights receive a $2,500 stipend, an internal reading with actors, a final reading of their play for a public audience as part of The Playwrights Realm's INK’D Festival in May, and use of The Playwrights Realm office for printing, writing, meetings and more.

The 2012 - 2013 Writing Fellows drew over 200 applications from early career playwrights, more than the company has seen in its five-year history.  Applicants’ plays are read by playwrights, producers, and directors across the country.  Finalists’ plays go through several rounds of readings and the finalists themselves are interviewed by Realm staff.  Fellows are chosen based on their demonstration of intellectual curiosity, desire for a rigorous developmental process, and, of course, the promise of their voice and vision.

Past Writing Fellows include Mia Chung (You For Me For You), J.C. Lee (The Inexplicable Disappearance of Hector Villaraigosa), Nastaran Ahmadi (Exile), Bekah Brunstetter (Hey Brother), Christopher Oscar Peña (Icarus Burns), Stefanie Zadravec (The Electric Baby), Amy Herzog (After the Revolution), and Ethan Lipton, whose Red-Handed Otter was produced by The Playwrights Realm at the Cherry Lane Theater earlier this fall and received critical acclaim.  A complete list of past Writing Fellows can be found at

Previous Playwrights Realm full productions include last season's Crane Story by Jen Silverman (2011), Gonzalo Rodriguez Risco's Dramatis Personae (2010), Christopher Wall's Dreams of the Washer King (2010), Anna Ziegler's Dov and Ali (2009) and Anton Dudley's Substitution (2008).

The 2012 – 2013 Fellows

Chad Beckim is a New York-based playwright.  His New York plays include.…a matter of choice, `nami, The Main(e) Play, and Afte (all with Partial Comfort Productions); Lights Rise on Grace (Outstanding Play, 2007 NY Int’l. Fringe Festival; Finalist for the Princess Grace Award); and That Men Do (The Lark Playwrights’ Week; Naked Angels “Out Loud” Series). He has also authored a number of shorts and one-acts, including The Coach, (Partial Comfort Production’s “TEN”); The Fluffer and Marvel Super Hero Squad (Ars Nova), Tha Bess Shit, Alexander Pays a Visit, Blac(c)ident, and Last First Kiss, which was adapted into a Columbia Grad film in July, 2008. Chad holds an MFA in Playwriting from Mac Wellman’s Brooklyn College's Program, and in July of 2007 was named one of “50 Playwrights to Watch” by the Dramatists Guild.  His work has been published by Samuel French, Playscripts, Smith & Krauss, and in the Plays and Playwrights 200 collection by NYTE.  He is a former member of Ars Nova’s “Play Group.”  Mr. Beckim is a co-Founder and co-Artistic Director of Partial Comfort Productions.

Theresa Giacopasi graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts with a BFA in Dramatic Writing.  Her play Subterranean received a reading at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, and was presented at NYU in conjunction with the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust.  Fresh Ground Pepper will present her play We Never Did as part of the Playground Festival at the Soho Rep Walker Space in December 2012. Her plays have been seen at Theater Building Chicago, Universal Theatre, Emerging Artists Theatre, and the Union Hall Drama Club. She lives in Brooklyn and works, by day, as a book publicist.

Don Nguyen’s plays have been developed or produced at The Public Theater, New York Stage and Film, Naked Angels, The Civilians, Ojai Playwrights Conference, the 52nd Street Project, 2G, Ma-Yi, The Living Newspaper, Naked Radio (upcoming), and The Shelterbelt Theatre.  Mr. Nguyen is the recipient of New York Stage and Film's Founders Award for his play The Man From Saigon.  He has also been nominated for the L. Arnold Weissberger Award, been a finalist for the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference and the Bay Area Playwrights Festival.  He is a member of the New York Public Theater’s Inaugural Emerging Writers Group, The Civilians Inaugural R & D Group, Ma-Yi Writers Lab and is the co-founder of Mission to (dit)Mars, a theater arts collective in Queens.

Mfoniso Udofia is a New York-based storyteller, actor, slam-poet and teaching artist. She attended Wellesley College for Political Science and obtained her MFA in Acting from San Francisco's award winning American Conservatory Theater.  During this stay in the Bay Area, Ms. Udofia pioneered a youth initiative, The Nia Project, which provided artistic outlets for youth residing in Bayview/Huntspoint. Some of Ms. Udofia's plays include The Grove, Sojourners, runboyrun, and Lilyvine and Sherman: A Black Comedy. She has been a semifinalist for the Eugene O'Neill National Playwright's Conference and the Page 73 Playwright's Development Programs.  She is also one of the 2012 New Black Fest Writing Fellows.