Season 33

Playwright Residencies

Downstage Left residencies are designed to help playwrights take a project from the conceptual stage all the way to a production-ready script. Playwrights work closely with one of our ensemble directors and members of the literary team to design a process tailored to the particular needs of their project. We not currently taking applications for the Residency.  Please check back early in 2015.  The deadline will be in April.  Email questions and submissions to

Season 32 Residencies

The Comparables
by Laura Schellhardt

Three women vie for power in the cut-throat world of high-end real estate. Bette runs her own female-dominated agency. Monica is her loyal second-in-command. Iris is the savvy new hire. When Bette’s reputation falls under attack, the future of the agency is at stake. Who, if anyone, will survive the ordeal, and to what lengths will they go to ensure success?  A dark comedy that begs the question: for women in the competitive world — is there more than one way to do business?

This residency will be led by guest director Devon De Mayo.

The Firestorm
by Meridith Friedman

Patrick, a candidate for governor of Ohio, and his wife Gaby are a perfect political couple, but there’s one small problem: he’s white and she’s black. When a racially charged incident from Patrick’s past breaks out, Gaby’s skin color is thrust to the forefront of the campaign. Charged with defending her husband against accusations of racism, Gaby begins to wonder who her husband really is–and whether their marriage was ever what she thought it was.

This residency will be led by ensemble director Drew Martin.

The Playwrights

Meridith Friedman was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She received her BA from Connecticut College, and her MFA in Writing for the Stage & Screen from Northwestern University. Her plays have been read, developed, and workshopped at The Kennedy Center, Curious Theatre Company, the NNPN National New Play Showcase, New Repertory Theatre, The Lark, The Greenhouse Theatre Center, Actor’s Express, Kitchen Dog Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, and Interlochen Center for the Arts. She was the NNPN Playwright-in-Residence at Curious Theatre Company for their 2010-2011 season, and is currently a 2012-2013 Dramatist Guild Fellow. She has taught playwriting and screenwriting at Northwestern University, Kenyon College, Curious Theatre Company, and Interlochen Center for the Arts. She was the literary associate at Page 73 Productions, and the Artistic Programs Manager at The Civilians.

Laura Schellhardt’s original works include The Comparables, Upright Grand, Air Guitar High, Auctioning The Ainsleys, The Apothecary’s Daughter, How To Remove Blood From a Carpet, The K of D, Courting Vampires and Shapeshifter.  Adaptations include The Phantom Tollbooth The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, The Outfit, and Creole Folktales. She is also the author of Screenwriting for Dummies.   Her work has been produced at TheatreWorks in Palo Alto, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Trinity Repertory Company, The Magic Theatre, Wooly Mammoth Theatre, Boston Court Theatre, ACT Seattle, Northlight Theatre, and The Exchange Theatre, among others. Laura is a recipient of the TCG National Playwriting Residency, the Jerome Fellowship, ACT’s New Play Award, the Best New Play Award from the NYC Fringe, The AATE Distinguished Play Award, and a Dramatist Guild Playwriting Fellowship.  She has participated in the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, The Ojai Playwrights Conference, SoHo Rep. Writer/Director Lab, the Women Playwrights Festival at SRT, The Kennedy Center New Voices/New Visions Festival, The Bonderman Symposium, and the O’Neill National Playwright’s Festival.   Laura received her MFA in playwriting from Brown University where she studied under Paula Vogel.   She currently heads the undergraduate playwriting program at Northwestern University

Previous Residencies:

2012/13: The Liar Paradox by Kristin Idaszak
The Abacus by Bilal Dardai
2011/12: Warped by Barbara Lhota
Witches Vanish by Claudia Barnett
2010/11: Blessed Assurance: The Story of Boston Corbett, Slayer of Booth by Randall Colburn
2009/10: The Face of a Ruined Woman (later Impenetrable) by Mia McCullough
2008: Here Where It’s Safe by M.E.H. Lewis