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2022 Semi-Finalists

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Krystle N. Adams
"See No Color"

ABOUT THE PLAY: A black family new to the suburbs of New Jersey must navigate boundaries and new friendships after a neighbor and her daughter cross the line.


ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Krystle was the 2020-21 artist-in-residence at the Abingdon Theatre Company. In 2021, Krystle’s ten minute play "Ten Minutes Before I Do" was accepted into the Zoom Festival’s Mating Rituals at the Planet Connections Theater Festivity.


She was invited to present a portion of her play The Father Chronicles for a reading at the Cherry Lane Theater and on April 25th, the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL) will also be presenting The Father Chronicles.


Krystle is an active participant in Suzan Lori Parks’ "Watch Me Work" and considers Suzan Lori Parks her mentor. Krystle is a member playwright in the Playwright/ Directing Unit at the Actors Studio.

Nicole Anderson Cobb
"Black Canaries"

ABOUT THE PLAY:“Black Canaries” examines 21st century American schooling through the eyes of Black parents negotiating White school environments in a Mid-Western college town.



Nicole Anderson Cobb @Nicole.a.cobb1 is a creative (writer for stage and screen), researcher and advocate who examines American institutions (often in crisis) and how people of color have navigated these spaces historically and contemporarily.


Using the lens of examining institutions at an inflexion point, Anderson Cobb has written on such moments within institutions as varied as: college campuses, funeral homes, the non-denominational church, museum cultures, early 20th century arts collectives in Charleston, South Carolina, African American sororities, gun violence in America cities and police community relations.


For the Spring 2022 Allerton Residency, Anderson Cobb is collaborating with Latrelle Bright,, UIUC teaching professor and theater maker to examine the historical and contemporary relationships between Allerton Park & Research Center and BIPOC communities in Central Illinois.

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Keila Cordova

"Lighting Come"​

ABOUT THE PLAY: When a beloved son dies, a family tries to recreate themselves into the ideal family image they always aspired to be, but never actually were.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Keila Cordova is an award winning artist whose works seeks to create language out of the interrelationship of our speaking bodies, examining the hidden discourse in our physicality to understand our human story. Keila’s performance works include KITH, As Pretty Does, Volcano My Love, Agnes Falling, Janet 2.0. Awards include the 2018 Story Changers Award for Outstanding Leadership and for Empowering Women in the Arts in Philadelphia from the Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival; the Directors Lab West, Saltonstall Art Colony and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Keila is a graduate of UC, Berkeley. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing at the New School for Social Research. She lives in Philadelphia.

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Sonhara Eastman

ABOUT THE PLAY: A stay-at-home mom constantly runs on empty but is determined to rule the world.


ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Sonhara Eastman is a playwright/screenwriter with an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch. Her plays are known for illuminating cultural experiences and include Pearl, The Club, and Emmett + Trayvon + Suns of God. Sonhara’s plays have been workshopped at La MaMa, Theatrical Outfit, True Colors Theatre, and more. She was a finalist for the National Playwright’s Center Many Voices Fellowship and a semi-finalist for the Made in New York Writer’s Room Program and the WeScreenplay Diverse Voices Competition. She has most recently written and produced her highly talked about Web Series, Black Girls Guide to Fertility, through her own production company. With several awards to boot, her series is creating much-needed conversation about infertility while speaking to her voice as a writer.

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Keenya J. Jackson - keenya j. headshot (3) (1).jpg

Keenya J. Jackson
“BOTANICALS or Giving it to God”

ABOUT THE PLAY: An elderly man prefers to not interact with neighbors . He is left to deal with the outcome of the way that he handles conflict.


ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Keenya J. Jackson is an emerging Philadelphia playwright and author. She is a co-founder of Jouska PlayWorks at Simpatico Theatre in Philadelphia. She is also a member of The Foundry, A Playwrights Lab at PlayPenn in Philadelphia. Her play America’s Favorite Feminist was commissioned and read by Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival (PWTF). Her short play God Bless Them, was also performed by PWTF. Her play Botanicals or Giving it to God, was the recipient of PlayPenn’s professional public reading.

Keenya also has a passion for Young Adult literature, which has led to her completing her first YA novel Much Ado About Something, co-authored with Sarah Hyson.

A proud graduate of Arcadia University, when Keenya isn’t writing, she enjoys being a part of the theater community. She currently sits on the Board of Governors at the Players Club of Swarthmore.

Louis Johnson
“I'm Not Myself”

ABOUT THE PLAY: A former civil rights icon, his missing wife, and a detective who won't take no for an answer. This won't end well....


ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT:  In February ’18, Louis was selected to be a Fellow at the Tennessee Playwright’s Studio in Nashville, Tn. In November ’18, his play “NEC Compuncti: (No Remorse)” had a staged reading in the Tennessee Playwright’s Studio’s Fall Festival of Plays at the Darkhorse Theatre in Nashville, Tn. In May/June ’19, he directed his one-act play, “A Bullet for Jenny King” in Act One Theatre Company’s One Act Wednesdays at the Darkhorse Theatre in Nashville, Tn. In January ’20, his play, “Makin’ Bond” had its’ first staged reading in The Fade-to-Black Reading Series in Houston, Tx. In January ’20, his play, “Makin’ Bond” was produced in The Secret Theatre Company’s One-Act Play Festival in Long Island City, NY. In February ’20, he directed his play, “Oh, the LIES we’ve told” in Act One Theatre Company’s One-Act Play Festival at the Darkhorse Theatre in Nashville, Tn. Louis was a 2020 Finalist for the 2020-2021 Maison Baldwin Writer-in-Residence Program presented by Les Amis de la Maison Baldwin. In July ’20, “Mother/Daughter Reunion” was produced in the Virtual Cabaret presented by The Barbershop Theatre of Nashville, Tn. In March ’21, “Makin’ Bond” was featured in the Obsidian Theatre Festival (Virtual) produced by Ghostlight Productions of Detroit, Mi. In April/May ’21, “Makin’ Bond” was in the “1Night/6 Plays” Play Festival presented by the 5280 Artist Coop of Aurora, Co. In May/June ’21, “Frenemies” premiered in the BIPOC Playwright’s Festival (Virtual) produced by the Perceptions Theatre Co. of Chicago, Ill. In June ’21, “The Voice Inside My Head” was included in “8:46: A Fresh Perspective” a collection of monologues by Black Playwrights” published by New World Theatre Publishing. Louis is a proud member of ESPA/Einhorn School of Performing Arts @ Primary Stages Theatre Company.

Check Louis out on #newplayexchange

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Naomi Lorrain

ABOUT THE PLAY: Nia’s parents disagree with how she and her new partner, Theresa, want to raise Nia’s five year old son.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Naomi Lorrain is a NYC based writer/actor. Her play, how to roll a blunt, was selected for the 2022 Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Rep and was a 2021 Finalist for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Her screenplay, My Better Half was a 2021 2nd Rounder for Comedy Feature Screenplay at the Austin Film Festival as well as a quarterfinalist for the WeScreenplay: Diverse Voices Competition. Her play, The Lost Ones was commissioned by NYU Graduate Acting for the Class of 2023. A Trojan Woman’s Tale and The Big O, both Greek adaptations, were also commissioned by NYU and produced at Villa la Pietra in Florence, Italy, where Naomi was the Playwright-in-Residence. Yale: B.A.; NYU: MFA.

Lori Adrien Roper
“Sheridan Avenue”

ABOUT THE PLAY: In the afterglow of Clybourne Park, Sheridan Avenue follows the Lilys, an ambitious family of color striving to thwart the throes of American life today.


ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Lori Roper is an award winning writer and educator whose work illuminates the plight of the marginalized. Her work has been commissioned by the National Black Theatre, the August Wilson African American Cultural Center, the Newark Museum, Newark Symphony Hall, The Baron Arts Center and New Jersey City University. She has received residencies at Gallery Aferro, Vermont Studio Center and the Kenyon Playwrights Conference. Most recently, Lori has served as a fellow at the Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing and as a Visiting Artist in Residence at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

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Nicole Santora
"The Last Fresh Start" 

 ABOUT THE PLAY: A mother who abandons her daughter to pursue her artistic dreams overseas, struggles as an undocumented nanny.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Nicole Santora is an actress and writer with screen credits including multiple independent films and television shows such as Hulu’s Shrill and NBC’s Grimm. While this is Nicole’s first time writing a dramatic play for the stage, she has written short films, satire featured on The Belladonna Comedy, and sketch comedy featured at Seattle’s SketchFest.

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Indiia C. Wilmott
“How I Got Here” 

ABOUT THE PLAY: Scenes from a woman's journey to motherhood and the choices and events that nearly broke her.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHT: Indiia is an actor, director and teaching artist. She is currently a voice actor/on-camera host for e-learning company, Edgenuity. Her favorite theatre credits include; Dance Nation (San Francisco Playhouse), Bootycandy (Black Artists Contemporary Cultural Experience), Zenith (San Francisco Playhouse), and Lucia Berlin: Stories (Word for Word/Z Space). She has taught at American Conservatory Theater, California Shakespeare Theatre and Ecole Jeannine Manuel in Paris. For the 2020 election Indiia wrote and directed voting PSAs for the Texas Civil Rights Project. Indiia is the 2021 recipient of the B. Iden Payne award for dramaturgy. Indiia is currently working on a play based on her journey to motherhood.

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