Virginia Playwrights Initiative

Revelations by Ryan Wender
The Tragedy of John Wilkes Booth by Chris Gavaler
Therapy, The Musical by Phyllis Koch-Sheras
Red,White,Blue & Black by Peter Gunter
The Viennese Patient by Mark Edmundson
The Wild Duck by Henrik Ibsen, adaptation by Doug Grissom
Gabriel by Peter Coy
Blackout by William Howard Rough
All is Always Now by Robert Wray
Slow Instructions by Roy Robbins
Nobody’s Wife by Cindy Dlugolecki
The Grove at Illium by Jane Ann Crum

Jane Ann Crum (The Grove at Illium) lives and works in NYC where her play No Stallions in Manhattan was read at The Cherry Lane Theatre in 2007. The Grove at Illium was read at the Lark Play Development Company in March, 2007 and was a finalist for the 2006 Lark Playwright’s Week. An earlier draft entitled Wives’ Tales was a semi-finalist in the 2005 PlayLabs Festival in Minneapolis, MN.

Cindy Dlugolecki (Nobody’s Wife) is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and has written eight plays that have been performed in various venues around Pennsylvania since 1996. An earlier incarnation of Nobody’s Wife, a one-woman show, Violet Oakley Unveiled, (originally funded in part by a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts), was produced at Little Theatre of Mechanicsburg, PA, in January 2009.

Chris Gavaler (The Tragedy of John Wilkes Booth) completed an MFA at the University of Virginia, and now teaches at Washington and Lee University. He won Best Playwright award in the 2008 Pittsburgh New Works Festival for the third year in a row for his one-act play Man Woman/Hombre Mujer. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette hailed that play as the best by far, with “a clever exploration of language and how much – or how little – we need it.”

Playwright & poet Roy Robbins (Slow Instructions) now lives in central Virginia, but as a young man, he lived in Bolivia, and he has studied in both New York and Charlottesville. He won the Deep South Prize for Lyrical Poetry and the Highlands Festival Prize. His plays have been performed as parts of festivals in Rhode Island and London. Recently, two plays have been given workshop readings at Live Arts Theatre in Charlottesville.

William Howard Rough (Blackout) is a freelance actor, stage director and playwright. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and co-founder of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. Other plays include On the Last Night Before Christmas; Ladybird, Ladybird; and Right There I Lost It. With LaVahn Hoh, he is the coauthor of Step Right Up! The Adventure of Circus in America. An early draft of Blackout was a finalist in the NETC John Gassner one-act play competition. It was further developed with the support of Shenanarts, Inc. and the Shenandoah International Playwrights’ Retreat, Verona, VA, & the Live Art Playwrights’ Lab, Charlottesville, VA.

Playwrights participating in the VPSI Summer Conference, 2010:

Brent Cirves (The Valley of Argos)
Brent Cirves is a published writer and has had a number of plays produced, most recently his adaptation of THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, written with Mike Johnson, and EXILES FROM THE SUN, a family drama.USHER appeared at the Washington D.C. Fringe Festival last summer where it won the prize for “Best Musical Play.” USHER and EXILES both went on to the New York International Fringe Festival,appearing in repertory at the Connelly Theatre in Manhattan. Cirves is the first author to have had two full-length plays produced in the same summer at the NYC Fringe. He is also the chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Woodberry Forest School where he teaches and directs three shows per year.

Peter Coy (The first warm day of spring)
Peter Coy lives in Faber, VA. His career in the theatre includes work as a director, a producer, a playwright, and a stage manager. Since 1987 he has written several one-acts, two screenplays, and 25 full-length plays and adaptations.

Clinton A. Johnston (A Christmas Carol)
Playwright Clinton A. Johnston, a member of the theater faculty at Mary Baldwin College, holds an MFA in Directing from UVA, and has more than a decade of experience acting and directing in local theaters. Recent directorial credits include Othello at Four County Players, and Macbeth, Ph.D. for Mary Baldwin. His play, Am I Black Enough, Yet? was co-produced by the Hamner Theater and Charter Theater, and was performed in Nellysford, Roanoke, Charlottesville & Washington, D.C. in March 2008.

John Lawson ( Commedia Profana)
Playwright John Lawson was born and raised in Richmond. He teaches rhetoric and writing at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.

Aurora Mateos with translator Rick Hite (La Fornarina)
Aurora Mateos is a Spanish playwright. She is considered one of the emerging voices in recent studies and compilations of modern Spanish Theatre, such as Estreno in the US, the University Autónoma de México, and Asociación de Autores de Teatro (Spanish Dramatist Guild). Her plays are already receiving stage readings and productions all over the country. She holds several awards, including the Martin Recuerda for the play Suicide of an Angel, which received a workshop production at the Hamner Theater in 2007. She has been finalist in the most important awards in Spain (like the Calderón, Sevilla, Enrique Llovet…). More information is available at:

Translator Rick Hite has acted and directed in community, university, and professional theater for over fifty years. He has also worked in film and television. Among his favorite roles he would include Shakespeare’s King Lear, Prospero, Touchstone, Mercutio, and Orlando, Moliere’s Alceste, Chekhov’s Vershinin, Brecht’s Peachum, Pinter’s Deeley, and Albee’s George. His longest run was as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof. He also writes and translates plays and poetry (from Spanish). He was Professor of Theater for 30 years at Virginia Wesleyan College and holds degrees from Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, and Michigan State University.

Robert Wray (Ocean View Odyssey)
Charlottesville playwright Robert Wray is a graduate of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and has had plays produced all over the country. He has won the Marc A. Klein Playwriting Award, and was a Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival and a Heideman Award finalist. In March, 2010, his play All Is Always Now (which was developed, in part, at VPSI ) was staged as part of the Hamner Theater’s 5th season.

Earl Hamner Playwrights Conference, 2007

A Shadow of Honor by Peter Coy
Love and Whiskey by Allyson Currin
Miraculus by Joel Jones
Gap by Carol Lashof
The Angel's Suicide by Aurora Mateos, translation by Rick Hite
Solstice by JJ Neelley
A Discourse of Folly by Stephen Sossaman
This Perfect World by Chris Stezin
Farewell by John Walch

Earl Hamner Playwrights Conference, 2006

Peter Coy (Faber, VA) A Necessary Madness
Mark Edmundson (Batesville, VA) The War Monologues
Clinton Johnston (Charlottesville, VA) Am I Black Enough Yet?
Joel Jones (NY, NY) Floating Girl
Kathryn Stolzenbach (Charlottesville) Drunk Like Water
Richard Washer (Washington,DC) Quartet
Robert Wray (Charlottesville, VA) The Portable Henry Hobbs
Tom Ziegler (Roanoke, VA) Father Frances


Peter Coy (A Shadow of Honor, A Necessary Madness, Gabriel) lives in Faber, VA. His career in the theatre includes work as a director, a producer, a playwright, and a stage manager. Since 1987 he has written several one-acts, two screenplays, and 25 full-length plays and adaptations. His play, A House In The Country, produced by Charter Theatre, won the 2000 Helen Hayes Award for the Outstanding New Play produced in Washington, DC. His most recent play, A Shadow of Honor, was commissioned by the Wintergreen Performing Arts Festival and sold out its entire run there.

Allyson Currin (Love and Whiskey) is an award-winning playwright currently residing in Washington, DC. She is the author of nearly a dozen plays, several of which have been honored by the Helen Hayes Awards and the Mary Goldwater Award from Theatre Lobby of Washington, DC. She has also been singled out for numerous honors from the Washington Theatre Festival of New Plays. She is on the Theatre/Dance and English department faculty at The George Washington University.

Joel Jones (Miraculus, Floating Girl) is from the Charlottesville area and began writing plays with Offstage Theater in 1992. He currently lives in New York City.

Carol S. Lashof (Gap) is Professor of English at St Mary’s College of California, where she has taught a variety of courses including 19th-20th century British Literature, Playwriting, Shakespeare, and Restoration and 18th Century Comedy. She holds a Ph.D. in Modern Thought and Literature from Stanford University, and has received Playwriting awards from the National Arts Club of New York and the Jane Chambers Competition. She is just finishing a sabbatical year, working with British composer James McCarthy on a new opera about the metaphor of America as a ‘Melting Pot’.

Aurora Mateos (The Angel's Suicide ) of Paris, France, works at the UN (Paris) as an attorney of Sea Law. Her artistic mentors include renowned dramatists Fermín Cabal, Ernesto Caballero, Ignacio del Moral and Alan Ayckbourn. She has served as Editor of two magazines (Acento Andaluz and alagavariaciones) and Director of the literature section of the Círculo de Bellas Artes of Málaga. She received the “Martin Recuerda Award” in 2006 for the Angel´s Suicide and the 2006 “Teatro Exprés Award” with Algunas notas sobre la anormalidad. Her published work includes a book of poetry, “El perfume de Babel” (Unicaja publisher, 2002) and several plays El amigo de medianoche (La Avispa Publisher, 2003), and Agua (La Avispa Publisher, 2003 and Universidad Autónoma de México, 2006).

Julius Neelley (Solstice) of Lake Monticello, VA is a free-lance journalist, screenwriter & playwright based near Charlottesville, VA. He studied photography/filmmaking at R.J.S.D., playwriting at Brandeis University and screenwriting at UCLA Graduate Film School. He has been a documentary film editor for National Geographic, ABC- Television, video producer/director for Montgomery Community TV and Laughing Eagle Productions in Winchester, Va. His screenplay based on Malcolm Lowry’s novel Under The Volcano was one of three finalists chosen by producers and director John Huston.

Stephen Sossaman (A Discourse of Folly) is a poet and playwright who lived in Charlottesville until 2008. His play Dostoevsky and Rykova, was produced at Play On! Theatre in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Saved, in Overnight Sensations at Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke. He is the author of Writing Your First Play, served as facilitator of the Playwrights Lab at LiveArts Theatre in Charlottesville, and taught in Hollins University’s new MFA in playwriting program. When he retired early from college teaching, Westfield State College in Massachusetts created the annual “Stephen Sossaman Prize” for creative writing students.

Chris Stezin (This Perfect World) of Washington D.C. has twice been nominated for the Helen Hayes/Charles MacArthur Award for outstanding new play. He is a founding member of D.C.’s Charter Theatre, where he helps to guide the theater in its mission of developing and producing vital new experiences for D.C. audiences.

John Walch (Farewell) of Brooklyn, NY is the recipient of many awards for his plays, including a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays award for The Dinosaur Within and the Marc Klein Playwriting Award for Jesting with Edged Tools. He was also awarded the James Michener Fellowship from the Michener Center for Writers at University of Texas (where he earned his MFA in Playwriting; the 2003 Osborn Award from the American Theatre Critics Association, recognizing an emerging American playwright; and the Charlotte Woolard Award from the Kennedy Center, recognizing a promising new voice in the American theatre. He served as artistic director of Austin Script Works and has taught playwriting at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Iowa.

Robert Wray (All is Always Now and The Portable Henry Hobbs) is a graduate of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop and has had plays produced all over the country. He’s won the Marc A. Klein Playwriting Award, and was a Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival and Heideman Award finalist.