Playwrights: M-O

MAGGIE OLLERENSHAW is a well known television and stage actress. She is a regular character, MAVIS in the television situation comedy STILL OPEN ALL HOURS, and the third series will go out at the end of the year. As a writer her credits include SINCERELY YOURS, a musical play about Vera Lynn which toured the UK and abroad, THE GHOST CHILD and CUCKOO IN JUNE, both adaptations for BBC radio, LOST LADS, part of the ten tiny plays about football project for Monkeywood Theatre at the Lowry and CLOSURE for the Sixty by Sixty event at the Stephen Joseph theatre in Scarborough.

Mahasin D. Shamsid-Deen, B.S., MPA is assistant Director of Islamic Writers Alliance an international organization for aspiring writers, Artistic Director of Thaqafah Islamiyyah and a member of a number of national and international playwriting groups. Her play “One God” was filmed, translated into Spanish and Malay and presented in special audience to the late King Fahd of Saudi Arabia. Her plays have been viewed by audiences in Europe, the Middle East and America, including the Acts of Faith Festival in Richmond, Virginia. She is also a published author and poet both in print and online with poetry included in seven different anthologies.

Maia Villa I’m a senior at Bennington College studying Drama and Public History, with a focus on plays concerning Otherness. I’m an actress, director, and emerging playwright. I’m involved with the Drama club (Drama Collective), Queer* club (Gender and Sexuality Minority Alliance), and Racial Diversity club (Kalopsia: Check All That Apply) on my campus. My performance credits include Vinegar Tom by Caryl Churchill (as Susan) and Machinal by Sophie Treadwell (as Helen). I’ve interned at numerous non-profit theaters, including CASA 0101 in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, CA.

Mandy Carpenter I have arrived at ‘professional’ writing late in my life but I have been on the path towards it since I could read and write. After being told several times by different people (overcoming the doubt!) that I was able to write, I took the plunge. I have written short films and a TV series pilot, The C.U. Crew. And I am writing my first novel, The Ghost Righter.  Lest They Forget is my first play and currently in pre-production. I am also an avid blogger with frankyarns.blogspot.co.uk. And am in the process of starting themiddleages.com, an observational blog.

Margarita Reiz, Licencia en Dirección de Escena y Dramaturgia, realiza Doctorado en Humanidades. Trabaja como redactora jefe de Primer Acto y como profesora de la ESAD de Torrelodones y de la de Valladolid. Sus textos y trabajos teóricos han sido editados, traducidos o premiados. Fundadora de la Compañía Marías Guerreras estrena textos en, Tras las tocas, Dímelo hilando o Piezas de bolsillo; dirige y escribe, Todo irá bien, El día de la culpa, y la obra de Teatro Familiar, Aprendiendo a vivir. Para La Mala Compañía dirige la obra de Laila Ripol, Atra bilis, y para Teatro de Maleta Escribió y dirigió, Naturalmente malos.

MARIA PIA PAGANI actually is Adjunct Professor of Theatrical Literature, Art of Directing and Theatre Discipline at University of Pavia, Italy. Degree cum laude in Foreign Languages and Literature, PhD in Modern Philology. She is author of many scientific essays – in Italian, English, Russian – about Eastern Europe Theatre, Russian émigré theatre, the fortunes of Italian theatre in Russia, the art of Eleonora Duse, Italian and Slavic echo in Marilyn Monroe’s art. She is the Italian translator of the doctor-writer and playwright Mikhail Berman-Tsikinovsky. Member of the Italian Pen Club, she received several prizes for her scientific research and translations.

Marilyn Clarke, b. 1942, is a native Oklahoman who graduated from Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, on 1964. She received her Master of Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1968. She had a 47 year career in social services, first in Child Welfare, then in Medical and Psychiatric Hospital work. Since retiring in 2013, she has pursued her interests in theater, gardening, Jungian dream groups, and community organizing around issues of racial justice.She has a long standing interest in all things Shakespearean and firmly believes that Edward de Vere is the actual author of the Canon.

Marina Castiñeira Ezquerra a playwright from Madrid, PhD in Philosophy, having worked in cultural centres and published many articles and books. Member of Marías Guerreras, a Spanish Performing Arts Women’s Association.

Marj O’Neill-Butler, a member of the Dramatists Guild and the International Center for Women Playwrights, is a produced playwright of TRUE BLUE, eight Theatre for Children scripts, short plays FLIGHT FRIGHT, SPARTAN WOMAN, AT THE BUS STOP, LIFE IMITATES ART, LEAVING HOME, WHAT IF?, SCAVENGER HUNT, MISSED CONNECTIONS, ELF YOURSELF, CHAIRS, ONE LESS and a reader’s theatre script THE WOMEN OF THE BEAT GENERATION. Marj was commissioned this year to write a new full-length play: DESPERATION. Her short play MISSED CONNECTIONS was published in 2013 The Best Ten-Minute Plays by Smith and Kraus. She has studied playwriting with Leslie Ayvazian, Carlos Murillo and Christian Parker and attended the Kennedy Center Playwriting Intensive in DC in 2010 and 2011. She is proud member of Equity and SAG-AFTRA.

Mary Sue Price  Journalist turned playwright turned daytime television writer turned playwright.

Melissa Nussbaum Freeman  is a performing artist/playwright with a high tolerance for risk and zero tolerance for injustice which lately gets her out on the street more often than at her desk. This is her third year submitting work to 365.

Melissa Ritz  I’m a New York City-based actress, and have always felt as though I’ve been called by the theater. Growing up as an “Army brat” in Oklahoma, Washington, Alabama, Virginia, New York, and Germany, I was drawn to entertaining others when I began staging puppet shows for neighborhood children. I continued my interest in theater at the Frankfurt Playhouse in Germany, where I attended high school. In an odd twist, I enlisted in the United States Air Force after graduation. I worked in a hospital laboratory, (analyzing body fluids!) and toured as a vocalist with Air Force Entertainment’s elite performance show, Tops in Blue. After I received an honorable discharge, I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, where I earned a BA in Dance and an MFA in Theatre Performance, both at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

 I recently premiered my one-woman show, Journey of a Bombshell: The Ina Ray Hutton Story, at the United Solo Theater Festival in NYC, where I sold out all 4 of my performances, and was recognized as the “Best Emerging Actress For 2014”. When I’m not busy with Ina, you can find me sweating it out in Bikram yoga, where I teach and practice.

Melody Cooper‘s play, SWEET MERCY, won the SheWrites Festival and was developed by LaMama Theater and NY Stage & Film (MSU’s 2012 Global Culture Play Award; Ford Foundation travel grant to Rwanda to develop the play). Commissioned by Vital Theatre to write book of the musical SHOW WAY, which ran for three months in NYC (2013 Off Broadway Alliance Award nomination). TRUTH BE TOLD, produced by E.S.T.’s Going to the River Festival, with work by Ruby Dee and Lynn Nottage. Melody is a 2014 Semifinalist for A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Shakespeare’s Sister Fellowship. Melody’s screenplay, MONSTROUS, is a top 3 Finalist for 2014 Slamdance Competition. Other film/TV awards include: Winner – Woodshole Film Festival, top 10% Nicholl Competition, Austin Film Festival 2nd Rounder, Finalist – Creative World Award. Represented by Abrams Artists (Ron Gwiazda/Amy Wagner)

Merridawn Duckler writes and lives in Portland, Oregon. Her verse play “The Relatives” was in the Emerging Female Playwright Festival of the Manhattan Shakespeare Project. “Fresh Hell” was in the Playwrights Forum Festival in Spokane, Washington and “The Restore” at Blackfish Gallery. Staged readings include “Tongue In Groove” Seattle Repertory, “Origin Story” Shout House, Portland, Oregon, “Firebird” SWAN Festival, Oregon Contemporary Theatre, Eugene, Oregon, “Married To It” Playwrights Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Fellowships: Yaddo, Last Frontier Theater Conference in Valdez, Alaska, Southampton Theater Conference (with Annie Baker) Norman Mailer Center (with Paul Carter Harrison) and Southampton Poetry Conference (with Billy Collins)

Michael Aman’s POZ opened the 2014 season for Island City Stage in Fort Lauderdale.  It was nominated for Best New Work for the 2015 Carbonell Awards and was originally commissioned by [Your Name Here] A Queer Theatre Company.  The Unbleached American won best play for the African American Playwrights’ Exchange (AAPEX) in 2012 and had its premiere at The Stoneham Theatre in Massachusetts in April, 2014. The play was presented at The Kennedy Center as part of the Page to Stage Festival in 2014.  He co-wrote the book for The Piper (with Grammy winning songwriter Marcus Hummon), which premiered at the Actor’s Bridge Ensemble in Nashville, 2010.  He co-wrote the book and lyrics for The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde (2005 NYMF).  He also co-wrote the book for Let Me Sing! A Musical Evolution (George Street Playhouse; Charlotte Repertory Theatre).  Feeding the Bear will open in June 2016 at Island City Stage.  He is currently working on Frida, a musical about Frida Kahlo (with Olivier Award nominee composer Dana P. Rowe), which was developed through Amas Musicals in New York City. Michael has a Ph.D. in Theatre History and Masters degree in Dramaturgy and is married to director Michael Bush.  He is represented by Barbara Hogenson of the Barbara Hogenson Agency.

Michael Angel Johnson  plays have been produced in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Cleveland, Amherst, New Haven, and other places across the U. S. The Price of Solitude was a finalist in the National Ten-Minute Play Contest at Actors Theatre of Louisville. The Apartment earned Michael angel the honor of special participant at the O’Neill Theatre Centre. Her screenplays: Seasons-semi-finalist in The Chesterfield Film/Writer’s Project, The Letters-semi-finalist Writemovies.com, The Tower- Honorable Mention Los Angeles Film and Script Festival, and Wild Fires- finalist at the Hollywood Black Film Festival. Her stories and essays: “The African American Woman Who Shaped the Future of Art” (On The Issues Magazine), “The Echo” (Persimmon Tree), “ and A Basket of Biscuits” (On The Issues Magazine).  Michael angel has worked with the 52nd Street Project as a director, writer, and dramaturge. She is a member of The League of Professional Theatre Woman and a member of New York Women in Film & Television. She is an Associate Professor at New York University and the Fashion Institute of Technology (New York) where she developed and teaches their AFRICAN-AMERICAN LITERATURE course.  She is a graduate of The Yale School of Drama in Playwrighting.

Michael Tooher  Full length works include The Tree of the MethodistsHangmanIcelandThe Waiting RoomPudding,The Undertow and the award winning The Perfect Sameness of Our Days. His 10 minute plays have been performed all over the country. Future productions include his comedy The King Comes Here Tonight which will be produced as part of King of Crows IV in 2016. Michael is a founding member of Crowbait Club and its notorious Theatre Death Match. He lives in Portland, Maine with one wife, one son and three outrageously spoiled cats.

Michelle A. Patrick graduated from Barnard College in New York, Endured 3 of a possible 5 years at Harvard University as the only doctoral student in the class of 1976, Department of American Studies (aka History of American Civilization). Wrote for “Sounds of The City,” a black-themed radio soap sponsored by Quaker Oats (1974-75). Spent 19 years writing daytime soaps for ABC (“All My Children,” “General Hospital). Winner of 4 Daytime Emmy Awards and two Writers Guild Awards. Contributor to “Unheard Voices,” the theatrical component of The American Slavery Project. Author of the soon-to-be published novella, “DRESSING FOR SUCCESS, 1968.”

Monica Bauer is currently a Writing Fellow at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut. She was the 2005 Teaching Fellow in the Graduate Playwriting Program at Boston University, where she received an MA in playwriting. Awards include 2012 Emerging Playwright Award from Urban Stages, as well as awards for outstanding script from the Midtown International Theater Festival, and Theater Arts Guild. Heideman Award finalist for “Answering” (published by Heuer). Full length plays produced Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, regionally in Denver, Boston, Providence, Omaha, Detroit, and internationally at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Brighton (England) Fringe Festival. Her full length play about race, “My Occasion of Sin,” was part of the 2014 season of the Detroit Rep.

Monique N. Simpson moved to northern Ecuador to teach English at the country’s new technology university, Yachay. She is helping young Ecuadorian writers hone their writing and critical thinking skills. When she is not working, Ms. Simpson is exploring local cafes while writing her autobiography, My Five-Year-Break-From-Life: Traveling, Teaching and Typing my way through a Quarter Life Crisis.

Mora V. Harris is a playwright and screenwriter based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her full-length comedy, Space Girl, was named a finalist in the 2016/17 Alliance/Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition. Her one act, Boxed In, was a National Finalist for the John Cauble Award for Outstanding Short Play in 2016. Her ten-minute play, What You Don’t Know, was a finalist in the 10×10 in the Triangle competition, won The Puzzle Theater Festival’s Audience Favorite Award, and has been produced in several theaters across the United States.  In 2016 she received a $10,000 award in the Alfred P. Sloan Script Competition for her screenplay, Egghead Genius. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and Theater from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University where she studied with Rob Handel.   www.moravharris.com

N. G. McClernan’s work has been performed in NY, NJ, PA, CO and Japan. Her play JULIA & BUDDY won “Outstanding Production of a Full-length Play” in the 2014 Midtown International Theater Festival. Her BLESSINGS OF THE SUN GOD was directed by Obie-winning director Oliver Butler and she has directed her own plays as well. She founded and runs NYCPlaywrights and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Nancy Gall-Clayton was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at Sewanee Writers Conference and a Visiting Artist at Ohio State University. More than 60 of her plays have been on stages in the U.S., Australia, Canada, and Denmark. She is published by Dramatic Publishing, Smith & Kraus, Motes Books, and others. Nancy is a member of the International Centre for Women Playwrights and the Kentucky Representative to the Dramatists Guild.

Nancy Cooper Frank’s  plays include “Anna and the Blackbird” (Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series, 2015) and “Daniil Kharms: A Life in One Act and Several Dozen Eggs” (Virago Theatre Co.’s New Play Series; 2014 Great Plain Theatre Conference).  Two of her plays have made the final line-up in Female Playwrights ONStage Project (2015 “The Announcement”: 2016 “In the Loop”.) Her work has been performed in various places from the Arundel Theatre Fest in the UK to the Philadelphia Fringe to the San Francisco Fringe. Literary advisor for 3Girls Theatre Company, a Dramatists Guild member, and former professor of Russian literature.

NANCY WEST is an actor and playwright based in Eugene, Oregon, whose plays have appeared at the world’s largest short play festival, Short + Sweet Sydney in Australia (The Dissolution Mask, 2015), the Northwest Ten Festival of Ten-minute Plays (The Dissolution Mask, 2013, Bible Jeopardy, 2014, Dancing out of Reach, 2017), and Winter Shorts at Lane Community College (Some Assembly Required, 2015). Nancy directed a reading of Mother/Tongue by Connie Bennett from 365 Women a Year for 2015 SWAN Day. Nancy has a theatre degree from the University of Oregon, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Nancy Hopps With her initial submission, “La Lucha Sin Fin”, Nancy’s delighted to be an official part of the 365 Project’s inspiring and herstorical undertaking. In 2016, her 10-minute play, “Mind Your Own Abyssness” was produced at LCC’s Winter Shorts Festival. She also directed a staged reading of an Oregon 365 playwright’s piece for SWAN Day (Support Women Artists Now.) In March/April 2017, her play “End of the Rope” will be produced at Oregon Contemporary Theatre’s NW10 Festival.  Also a healing/performing artist, Nancy celebrates Love as the greatest healing force, and the arts as powerful purveyors of entertainment, education, and enlightenment.

Naomi Elster has a PhD in breast cancer. She has trained medical and science students in biology and scientific techniques at universities, taught creative writing at a psychiatric facility, and taught English as a foreign language. She writes fiction, nonfiction, and scripts, and has been widely published, including by The Establishment, The Guardian and Lazy Bee Scripts.

Natalie Osborne  is a writer, theatre-maker and activist. She is an alumna of Bennington College, where she studied drama and anthropology. She’s also a member of the Dramatist Guild of America. Theatre@First produced her ten-minute play “My Monster and Me,” this summer as part of their Fractured Fairytales Festival. She has had play readings at Casa de Beverley, Upstart Theatre, and The Classic Theatre of Harlem. Two of her non-fiction articles have been published in HowlRound. She’s very excited to be a part of 365 Women a Year for a second year!

Olga Humphrey Plays include “Nasty Bits,” a period political satire workshopped by New Georges and Lynx Ensemble Theater; “Death to the Book Club” (premiere at Alfred University); “Veronika Vavoom, Volcanologist,” produced by Boston Theater Works; and “F-Stop,” produced by New Directions Theater in NY and at Sacramento’s B-Street Theater. The WGA, East presented an excerpt from her screenplay “Mama’s Boy” at the JCC, and she has also written for children’s television. Her new play “Magnificent Hubba Hubba” is about the rivalry between two old-time women wrestlers as their biggest fan, a 16-year-old boy, seeks to reunite the mortal enemies for a rematch.

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