2021-2022 INKubator Playwriting Program Cohort

2021-2022 INKubator Playwriting Program Cohort

Art House Productions is proud to announce the 2021-2022 cohort of its INKubator Program. INKubator is a year-long generative process for a select group of 6 playwrights in residence at Art House Productions. This year's playwrights are Jake Brasch, Nay Harris, Justice Hehir, Riley Elton McCarthy, Christian Mendonça, and Melissa Toomey.

Playwrights will meet on a monthly basis alongside program director Alex Tobey to share new work, receive feedback, and develop a first draft of a new play. Meetings will begin virtually, but are expected to transition to in-person when it’s safe to do so. In the spring, each writer will team up with a director and actors to present a public reading in May as a part of the 4th Annual INKubator New Play Festival. Audiences who attend the festival will also have the opportunity to participate in conversations with the writers, directors, and actors following each performance.

In addition to monthly meetings, INKubator playwrights will receive free admission to performances, mixers, and other events at Art House Productions. Playwrights will also have the ability to schedule time in both the theatre and classroom for any meetings, rehearsals, and readings as needed for free. 

This year, over 100 submissions were received, more than double than the previous year.  Submissions were evaluated through a process coordinated by INKubator Program Director, Alex Tobey, in partnership with INKubator alumni playwrights Alyssa Haddad and SMJ, and Art House Productions’ Meredith Burns and Courtney Little. 

The following finalists were also honored in this year’s submission process: Jacqueline Bircher, Cris Eli Blak, Larissa Marten, Genevieve Simon, and Gage Tarlton. 

Meredith Burns, Executive Artistic Director of Art House Productions, says, “We’re thrilled to welcome this year’s INKubator cohort to the Art House family. INKubator is a longtime program at Art House that has grown tremendously in the last four years under the leadership of Alex Tobey. We’re so honored by and proud of the work that’s been created in INKubator already, and this year’s cohort has pitched some incredible plays to begin writing. We’re looking forward to supporting these fabulous artists throughout the next 9 months and beyond.”

2021-2022 INKubator Writers 

Jake Brasch (he/they) is a Brooklyn-based fancy-free queer Jewish clown from Colorado who writes for the stage and screen. Proud member of Ensemble Studio Theatre’s Youngblood, The Farm Theater’s Development Workshop, and The LAByrinth 2020 Intensive Ensemble. They have worked at The New Ohio, The Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Farm Theater, Letter of Marque, Eden Theatre Company, The LAByrinth Theatre Company, The Tank, Dixon Place, Curious Theatre Company, Austin Peay University, Pellissippi State, DSA at the Edinburgh Fringe, The 14th St Y, Planet Connections, and NYU-Tisch. He is currently under commission from the EST/Sloan Project and The Farm Theater’s College Collaboration Project. Jake has written music and lyrics for several films, plays, and podcasts. Jake has long spent their weekends working as a birthday party clown throughout the tri-state area and is currently developing Clowntown, a series based on his clowning travails. Full-length plays include Our Tempest (The Farm Theater, Pellissippi State, Austin Peay), The Reservoir (Ensemble Studio Theatre), stacey (Ensemble Studio Theatre), Salutations, I’m Creative Dave (Alchemical), Wall! (DSA at the Edinburgh Fringe), and Greenland. BFA: NYU-Tisch, Experimental Theatre Wing/New Studio on Broadway. www.jakebrasch.com @jakebrasch

Nay Harris is a graduate from Bard College at Simon's Rock (major: African American Studies and Theater for Social Change- a self constructed major combining Sociology and Theater). They're also a National Theater Institute and Advanced Playwriting alum of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center as well as an aspiring Professional Dominatrix. They've long been a poet and now playwright, lyricist and librettist. One of their main goals as a writer is to further alleviate stigmas and stereotypes regarding mental illness in the Black community and to raise awareness and create more access to mental health resources, especially for Black and other LGBTQ+ youth of color as well as increasing media representation of Black Queer and Nonbinary love and joy. They are also an advocate for the safety of sex workers, specifically within the BDSM community and are currently writing a musical (Club Leather Queen) about Professional Dominatrices who are Queer and of Color. They completed a Playwriting 102 course at the New York Theatre Workshop with instructor and renowned playwright Kate Moira Ryan. Among their works are Wounded Skyes, Glitter Bracelets, Take a Number and Wait, When I Grow Up I Wanna Be…, and All the Conversations You Wished You Had, But Never Did and The Role. Nay is Miranda Family Fellow, has recently completed Black Girl Theatre Magic's Musical Theater Anatomy course and is currently attending NYU's Graduate Musical Theater Writing Program as a wordsperson. @Candymansbabyspawn

Justice Hehir is a playwright whose work explores sexuality, feminism, and the formation and rupture of human bonds. She is a member of Youngblood at EST, a New Georges affiliated artist, and the recipient of a 2021 Individual Artist Fellowship from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. She is currently commissioned by George Street Playhouse, an alumna of the 2020 Clubbed Thumb Early Career Writers Group, and a member of Colt Coeur. Other recent projects include true believer, published this year by Table Work Press, and freeplay, a play about a women-owned dildo company under development through an EST/Sloan Project commission. She graduated from Hunter College in 2018 with an MFA in Playwriting (under the tutelage of Annie Baker and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins) and from Rutgers University in 2016 with a BA in Women’s and Gender Studies and English. www.justicehehir.com @justice_hehir

Christian Mendonça is a first-generation Portuguese-American playwright. He received his B.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from New York University, where his bilingual (Portuguese and English) thesis play, American Quality, went on to win runner-up for the Goldberg Play Prize in 2018. In 2020, it would go on to become a semi-finalist in Southwest Theater Productions' "You Should be Writing Play Competition (Male Lead)." That same year, it was also the recipient of a partial scholarship to the 2020 Disquiet International Literary Program in Lisbon (canceled due to the pandemic). Come Flores, his second play, was invited to the Dennis and Victoria Ross Foundation’s Round Table Reading Series. Filomene, his third play, was a semifinalist for Landing Theater Company's "New American Voices Festival" in 2020. He was raised in Newark, NJ, and now straddles the Hudson River. @christianluismendonca  @CL_Mendonca

Riley Elton McCarthy (they/them) is a playwright, performer, producer, screenwriter, and nonbinary jack of all trades residing in New York City. Residencies include CPH HOTMeat, Elephant Room Productions EERS, Scawwy Howwow Theatre Works-in-Progress, and The Bechdel Group Readings Series. They are a member of the 2021-22 Art House Productions’ INKubator Playwriting Group. Their work has subsequently been staged at The Tank, CPH Queer Theatre Festival, Bøssehuset, Folketeatret, Kulturhuset Indre By, House of International Theatre, Student Theatre at Marymount, Marymount Manhattan College, and The Hudson Guild Theater. Their writing includes the full-lengths The Lesbian Play, Ivories, and Southern Bedfellows, and one-acts (it’s the) industry, baby, or the death of a supernova, and a peach grows in brooklyn. They are a proud member of The Dramatists Guild. BA: Marymount Manhattan College. www.rileymmccarthy.com @rileyeltonmccarthy

Melissa Toomey is an adventurer, performing artist, and playwright. After wandering the West for a number of years, she is currently based in NJ/NYC. She has worked with Luna Stage Company, The Writers Theatre of New Jersey, Premiere Stages, Arizona Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre Center, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, The Pearl Theatre Company, The Barrow Group, Southwest Shakespeare Company, New Jersey Play Lab, Flagstaff Shakespeare Festival, among other companies as a theatre artist. She creates outdoor theatre whenever possible, most recently with her group, leave no trace theatre (www.leavenotracetheatre.org). Her supernatural play, the devil smokes American Spirits: a play in ten cigarettes, will be developed at The Tank, Fall 2021. She was once a full time traveller. She once lived at the Grand Canyon. BFA: SUNY Purchase. Melissa is a neurodivergent artist. www.melissatoomey.com 

Art House Productions is generously supported by The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, SILVERMAN, The Princeton Foundation, The New Jersey Theatre Alliance, The Hudson County Office of Cultural Affairs, and the Alliance of Resident Theatres / New York.