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 33 Residencies

The Bottle Tree
by Beth Kander

Years after a tragic school shooting, the small town of Maple, Mississippi, is still traumatized– no one more so than Alley, the sister of the shooter.  Young love, old guilt, laughter, and lingering scars all keep the girl, the town, and Alley’s “bottle tree” on the verge of shattering. 

The development process for Heartland will be led by Stage Left Artistic Associate Amy Szerlong and Literary Associate Annaliese McSweeney.  

by Gabriel Jason Dean

In 1981, Dr. Harold Banks helped the U.S. develop textbooks for Afghan children. The books were filled with coercive propaganda meant to stimulate resistance against the invading U.S.S.R. and they helped lay the psychological foundation for the modern day Taliban. During the scorching summer of 2020, one of those Afghans—a former jihadist—shows up to fix the aging Dr. Banks’ broken air conditioner.

The development process for Heartland will be led by guest director Elly Green. 

Beth Kander is a writer, performer and consultant with one foot in the South and the other in the Midwest. Selected playwriting awards: Charles M. Getchell New Play Award (2012); Eudora Welty New Play Awards (2013, 2010, 2008); Theatre Oxford 10 Minute Plays Audience Award (2012); Mississippi Theatre Association New Play Award (2009). Kander was named Best Writer by the Jackson Free Press three times. She has scripts represented by Steele Spring Stage Rights and Chicago Dramaworks. In addition to playwriting, Kander has authored several works of fiction, including the novel Was and the children’s book Glubbery Gray: The Knight-Eating Beast (Pelican Publishing). She holds degrees from Brandeis University and the University of Michigan. She lives with her husband and a small collection of rescue pets.

Gabriel Jason Dean is a Brooklyn based playwright/screenwriter. His play Javaaneh (In Bloom) was a finalist for the Laurents / Hatcher Award, received the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Prize, and was Runner-Up for the Princess Grace Award. His play for children, The Transition of Doodle Pequeño received the 2013 American Alliance for Theatre & Education Distinguished Play Award, the 2011 New England Theatre Conference Aurand Harris Award and was selected for the 2012 Kennedy Center New Visions / New Voices Conference, Theatre for Young Audiences Award and was Runner-Up for the Harold & Mimi Steinberg National Playwriting Award. He is the recipient of the Essential Theatre New Play Prize and Austin’s 2013 B. Iden Payne Award for “Best Original Script” and “Best Comedy” for Qualities of Starlight, and his play, Pigskin, won the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival. Other awards include the James A. Michener Playwriting Fellowship, Dramatist’s Guild Fellowship, the Sallie B. Goodman / McCarter Theatre Fellowship and the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. His scripts are published through Samuel French, Dramatic Publishing and Playscripts. Gabriel is a Core Writer at The Playwrights’ Center and a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop.

Previous Residencies:

2013/14: The Comparables by Laura Schellhardt
The Firestorm by Meridith Friedman
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