New Voices Emerging Playwrights Retreat

We are launching our 30th anniversary season this June 2–5 with the return of the New Voices Emerging Playwrights Retreat. Hailing from Ashland, Portland, Rainier, and Banks, this year’s retreat cohort features Oregon playwrights Mikki Gillette, Lindsay Partain, Lorenz Qatava, Leslie Slape, and Ken Yoshikawa.

New Voices 2022 Playwrights Graphic With Logo

The 2021 inaugural retreat brought playwrights from around the country together virtually, for a week of mentorship and collaboration. This year, the retreat centers emerging Oregon playwrights, who will converge in Ashland to connect and recharge in the beautiful Rogue Valley. New Voices playwrights will have opportunities to develop their creative work, meet with industry professionals, and draw inspiration from being in community with fellow artists.

Award-winning Oregon playwright E.M. Lewis will serve as host playwright throughout the retreat. Lewis is well-known to ANPF audiences. Her play Song of Extinction was a winner in 2008, and she served as Fall Festival host playwright for eight years.

ANPF Artistic Director Jackie Apodaca was eager to bring the New Voices Retreat back for its second year:

“ANPF is committed not only to the recognition and development of new plays, but to supporting playwrights themselves. Our retreat gives us the chance to uplift a talented group of up-and-coming writers, while providing time and resources to support the evolution of their work. I’m excited to focus on Oregon artists this year. My hope is that we can jumpstart regional collaborations that may benefit our community for years to come.”

Meet the Playwrights

Mikki Gillette

Mikki Gillette

Mikki Gillette (she/her) is a trans woman playwright, whose work depicts the trans experience in all its juicy, dramatic richness. Her play The Queers enjoyed a sold-out run at Fuse Theatre Ensemble this spring. Mikki’s work has been produced or developed at Artists Repertory Theatre, Transformation Theatre, the OUTwright Theatre Festival, Profile Theatre and Post5 Theatre.
Lindsay Partain

Lindsay Partain

Lindsay Partain (she/her) is an internationally published and produced Oregon playwright and member of the Dramatists Guild. She holds a BA in Theatre from Pacific University and is a resident artist of Theatre Viscera. Most recently, her 10-minute play Cookie Cutter Christmas was selected as a top-10 finalist for VetRep Theatre’s playwriting competition.
Lorenz Qatava

Lorenz Qatava

Lorenz Qatava (he/him) is a poet, playwright, novelist, and journalist based in Palm Springs and Ashland. He is the author of a gay romance novel set during the Almeda wildfire, a volume of recent poetry and short stories, and two stage plays. His writing career began after he retired from 30 years working for the federal government in international affairs, social marketing, and public health.
leslie slape

Leslie Slape

Leslie Slape (she/her) is the author of The Harder Courage, a historical tragedy play that was a 2018 ANPF finalist and also appears on ANPF’s Play4Keeps podcast. She also wrote the short play Envy that was performed during the pandemic at the “Feelings Festival” in Portland. Before becoming a playwright, she was an award-winning crime reporter for a daily newspaper.
Ken Yoshikawa

Ken Yoshikawa

Ken Yoshikawa (he/him) is a playwright, actor, and poet from Portland, OR. His 5-act play Through Bonavia, or The Simple Truth has been workshopped at Artists Repertory Theatre. His solo show The Art of Flyswatting was selected for the Pan Asian Rep’s NuWorks 2019 in NYC, and his first book of poems, Monster Colored Glasses, was published by Lightship Press.

You can click on the mini profiles below to read Q&A's with the playwrights!

E.M. Lewis

The retreat's Host Playwright E.M. Lewis (she/her) is an award-winning playwright, teacher, and opera librettist. Her work has been produced around the world, and is published by Samuel French. Plays include Dorothy’s Dictionary (upcoming production at Butterfly Effect Theater in Colorado and world premiere production at Theatre Lab in Florida); How the Light Gets In (upcoming at 1st Stage in Virginia); True Story (upcoming at Artists Rep); Song of Extinction (upcoming at Twilight Theater); Magellanica (a finalist for the Angus Bowmer Award, audio version available from Artists Rep); Apple Season (which had a National New Play Network rolling world premiere at New Jersey Rep, Riverside Theater, and Moving Arts); The Gun Show (Edinburgh Fringe); and more. Awards include the Steinberg Award and Primus Prize from the American Theater Critics Association; the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle; a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University; a playwriting fellowship from New Jersey State Arts Commission; the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama; and the Edgerton Award. Lewis is currently the Mellon Playwright-in-Residence at Artists Repertory Theater in Portland. She is a proud member of LineStorm Playwrights and the Dramatists Guild, and lives on her family’s farm in Oregon, where she is working on several new plays and her first musical.

Previous New Voices Playwrights

Learn about our New Voices Retreat 2021 cohort below!

Ashland New Plays Festival New Voices Emerging Playwrights

Emerging playwrights Kathryn de la Rosa, Ty Greenwood, Heesun Hwang, Jasmine Sharma, and Carlos-Zenen Trujillo are the inaugural cohort of ANPF's New Voices Retreat 2021. The virtual retreat, running August 1-7, 2021, allowed the artists to fully engage with the writing process. They were paired with established theatre professionals as mentors who assisted with the development of a script in progress, and special guest artists met with them to share their experiences and insight.

Mentors for the week included: comedy writer and playwright Sarah Cho; playwright and TV writer Inda Craig-Galván; theatre director, adapter, and activist Lavina Jadhwani; Senior Cultural Strategist and Dramaturg for Play On Shakespeare Amrita Ramanan; and, Artist Repertory Theatre’s Director of New Play Development and Dramaturgy Luan Schooler.

The guest artists included: Octavio Solis, nationally renowned playwright and ANPF associate artist; Oregon Shakespeare Festival Literary Manager Paul Adolphsen; Dana Lynn Formby, playwright and faculty member at Chicago Dramatists; actor, director, and cofounder of UNIVERSES Steven Sapp; and ANPF Host Playwright Beth Kander, a Chicago-based playwright and author.

The playwrights also received a $500 stipend and returned to ANPF for a live virtual conversation during the 2021 Fall Festival. The retreat was funded in part by a grant from the Kinsman Foundation.

"These young playwrights are passionate, generous, and original artists poised to make big waves in the future of theatre,” says ANPF Artistic Director Jackie Apodaca. “We are thrilled to be able to support them as they develop new works for the stage."

Click below to read each playwright's Q&A playwright profile to learn more about them and their work. 

New Voices Artists