2013 Playwrights


Melisa Annis

Keep Calm and Carry On

Born in Wales, Melisa has been a resident of NYC since 2006. She started her “stage-life” as an actress touring with the National Theater of Wales and appearing as a re-occurring character on Welsh language soap Pobol y Cwm. Since discovering her passion for writing plays, it has quickly taken over from acting and Melisa is now completing an MFA in playwriting at Fordham University in partnership with Primary Stages. In 2011, she was the proud recipient of the Rockwell Scholarship at The Einhorn School of Performing Arts which allowed her to continue working with her mentors and teachers Winter Miller, Julian Shepard and Tessa LeNeve. Her play Pit was produced by Long View Theater at Theater for The New City (’13) and her play Keep Calm and Carry On was developed as part of the ESPA Drills Reading Series at 59E59 produced by Primary Stages. Melisa is also working on a collection of short stories and a web series.

Jessica Bedford


Jessica Bedford is a Philadelphia based playwright, actor and teacher. Her solo play Pretty was the 2010 recipient of 1812 Productions’ Jilline Ringle residency and was performed in the Open Stage Flying Solo Festival (Harrisburg, PA). Her play Blessed Are was produced in 2012 at Passage Theatre (Trenton, NJ) under the direction of Adam Immerwahr. Jessica was a finalist for the 2012 NY Stage and Film Founders’ Award recognizing emerging playwrights. She currently serves as Associate Artistic Director at Montgomery Theater. DeSales University, B.A. Villanova University, M.A.

Hal Borden

A Position of Relative Importance

Hal Borden earned a master’s degree in screenwriting from the UCLA School of Theater, Film & Television, where he won the Hal Kanter Comedy Writing Award. A Position of Relative Importance is his first stage play. The proud father of two dachshunds, Hal writes and practices trademark law in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Elias Diamond

The Park Bench Hero

Elias (Eli) Diamond is a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon University’s Dramaturgy program. The reading of his play, The Park Bench Hero, will be his first professional reading since the Pittsburgh City Theatre’s Young Playwright’s Festival in 2009, when his one-act play Sense and Senselessness was performed in a staged reading. He has written and performed in several productions at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama’s Playground Festival, including A Trial (2010) and This Play is a Prayer (2011). He is also a poet and has recently finished his first collection of poetry, Past Lives (Lost and Found 2008-2013). He is also honored to be a part of this year’s Newvember Festival.

Kristen Palmer

Westward Mutations

Kristen Plamer’s plays include Once Upon A Bride There Was a Forest, The Stray Dog, The Melting Point, Local Story, The Heart in Your Chest, Departures, and Gloucester Point. They have been produced and presented in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, and elsewhere. She has been a Women’s Project Lab Member collaborating on the off-Broadway production We Play For The Gods, a Jerome Fellow at the Playwrights Center, New Georges associate artist, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab Member, and a company member of Printer’s Devil Theatre in Seattle. She is a graduate of Bretton Hall College in Yorkshire, England and holds an MFA from Hunter College where she studied with Tina Howe and Mark Bly and won both the Zarkower and Goldberg Prizes. She is currently the Artistic Director of Oddfellows Playhouse Youth Theatre.

Shannon Reed

Drag the Past

Shannon Reed’s plays have been produced or read in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, Boston and Denver. Her night of one-acts, Words of Snap, Crackle, and Um…: Short Plays by Shannon Reed, won the 2010 NJACT Award for Best Original Production when presented at Circle Players in New Jersey. Shannon holds a BFA in Theatre from Otterbein University and an MA in Educational Theatre from NYU. She is currently working on her MFA in Fiction at the University of Pittsburgh, where she also teaches. Shannon is proud to be a theatre teaching artist in for City Theatre and Gateway to the Arts in Pittsburgh and will present her academic research at the Shakespeare 450 Conference in Paris next spring. Shannon is a member of the Playwrights Center, the MLA, the Penguin Totem Collective, and a former faculty member at Brooklyn Theatre Arts High School. All of that, and yet she still has trouble remembering how to spell “cemetery” correctly.

Seamus Scanlon

The Long Wet Grass

Seamus Scanlon is a librarian at the Centre for Worker Education (City College) and a writer from Galway who is interested in the bleakness of the Irish psyche as if it really needed any more analysis. Recent achievements include fellowships at MacDowell and the Center for Fiction, and Resident artist at the cell not to mention making it into the Galway Advertiser and the Connacht Tribune! His first play Dancing at Lunacy was staged at the cell in New York in March 2012. His collection of short stories As Close As You’ll Ever Be was published in Sep 2012. The first story in the collection “The Long Wet Grass” which won the Fish Publishing One Page Story competition in 2011 was adapted as a play with the same name.

Aaron Weissman

Brutal Selfish Rattlesnake

Aaron Weissman makes theater in Chicago. His plays include Counterfeiters (Dog & Pony Theater Co., developed at the Orchard Project); Jim and John (Jackalope Theatre); Down & Derby (The New Colony); Stimulated! (in collaboration with Les Enfants Terribles, New York Fringe Festival 2011); and Sprocket (Northlight Theatre). Aaron is also the creator of the live action detective serial “Egg & Alfie: Detectives at Large”, and a co-founder of the experimental arts collective the dilettantes. He is also a lighting designer, performer, and musician.

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