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Announcing the 10th Annual PoNY Fellow

Lark News
Jen Silverman

New York, NY- The Lark and Playwrights of New York (PoNY) are proud to announce Jen Silverman, author of The Moors (world premiere, Yale Repertory Theatre) will be the recipient of the 2016-17 PoNY Fellowship, which provides over $100,000 in comprehensive career support. Silverman will receive year-long housing in the PoNY apartment, located in the heart of Manhattan’s theater district, three years of health insurance, a living stipend, and the artistic support of The Lark, including participation in the Rita Goldberg Playwrights' Workshop, led by Arthur Kopit and colleagues such as David Henry Hwang, Tina Howe, Lynn Nottage, José Rivera, and Doug Wright.

Silverman was chosen from a very talented group of writers who were nominated by artistic leaders and graduate playwriting programs from across the country.  She is the tenth playwright to be awarded this fellowship.

“Jen is a bold artist and theatrical risk-taker, which makes her the perfect PoNY Fellow for its 10th anniversary season,” said Sandi Goff Farkas, founder of the PoNY Fellowship.  “I am so excited to see what she will create with the tremendous resource and support the PoNY provides.”

Founded in 2007 by Farkas and The Lark, the unprecedented PoNY Fellowship revolutionized how a new generation of playwrights was supported, by shifting emphasis to the life of the artist, and helped catapult a shift in the theater industry by encouraging other major donor and theater organizations to deepen their support to promising playwrights. The Fellowship continues to be the only of its kind, offering a full range of personal and professional benefits and aiming to launch playwrights into sustainable careers.

The PoNY Fellowship is a critical component in The Lark’s acclaimed portfolio of fellowships aimed at addressing inequity in the field, and sustaining the lives of playwrights at various career levels.

Fellowships with a focus on equity, access and inclusion include The Van Lier New Voices Fellowship, The Middle East America Fellowship, and The Shakespeare’s Sister Fellowship.  These initiatives are built on the belief that targeted support to playwrights from historically underrepresented backgrounds is essential to creating a national theater that represents the vibrancy of our collective cultural voices.

In addition to The PoNY Fellowship, the life-sustaining fellowships at The Lark include the Jerome New York Fellowship (supported in part by the Jerome Foundation) which supports an emerging playwright with a distinctive voice to build a body of work; the Launching New Plays Into The Repertoire (“LNP”) Fellowship (supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation) which brings national recognition to a rising playwright by securing four or more productions of a play by that writer; and the Mid-Career Fellowship which gives an experienced playwright the chance to set aside teaching and other jobs to explore fresh ideas and renew artistic purpose. These fellowships are designed to allow excellent writers to give their artistic endeavors priority, so they may focus their time on the use of storytelling to illuminate the most important issues of our time.

“Committing to a life in the arts so often feels tenuous and constantly just-shy of impossible,” said Silverman. “The PoNY Fellowship is a staggering gift not only of resources, but also of the psychological freedom and artistic audacity that comes with those resources. It dares to ask: what might artists create, when they aren't constrained by financial fears? I couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity to explore this question over the next year, with the generous support of Sandi Goff Farkas and The Lark.”

Silverman joins The Lark/PoNY family of Fellows which includes Carson Kreitzer (NEA Art Works Award for Behind The Eye), Samuel D. Hunter (MacArthur Fellow, 2013 Drama Desk Award for The Whale), Katori Hall (Olivier Best New Play Award for The Mountaintop), Tommy Smith (The Wife), A. Rey Pamatmat (Edith Can Shoot Things And Hit Them), Dominique Morisseau (Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History for Detroit ‘67), Kimber Lee (brownsville song (b-side for tray)), Eric Dufault (Year of the Rooster) and the current fellow, Martyna Majok (Ironbound). Over the last nine years, these PoNY Fellows have written a total of 37 new plays while residing in the apartment, resulting in 68 productions in 37 cities around the world.

“A decade of PoNY fellowships has proven the enormous impact of financial freedom, even for a short while, on the creativity and careers of the gifted playwrights in this program,” said John Clinton Eisner, co-founder and Artistic Director of The Lark. “Jen is the tenth in a long line of fierce PoNY playwrights whose uncompromising visions and idiosyncratic voices engage new and diverse audiences through an evolving theater repertoire.”


Jen Silverman’s work has been produced in New York by Clubbed Thumb (Phoebe in Winter) and the Playwrights Realm (Crane Story), and at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville (The Roommate, Humana 2015; Wondrous Strange, Humana 2016), Yale Rep (The Moors), and at InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia (The Dangerous House of Pretty Mbane, Barrymore Award, Steinberg Award finalist). She has productions upcoming at Woolly Mammoth (Collective Rage: A Play in Five Boops) and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (All the Roads Home), and development upcoming at South Coast Rep’s Pacific Playwrights Festival (Wink), and Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep (My Father The Speeding Bullet: Nincest).

She is a member of New Dramatists, a Core Writer at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, and has developed work with the Cherry Lane Mentor Project, the O’Neill, Playpenn, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Williamstown, New York Theatre Workshop, Portland Center Stage, Boston Court Theatre in LA, Youngblood/ EST, and the Royal Court in London among other places. She’s a two-time MacDowell fellow, recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, a Leah Ryan Fellowship/ Lilly Award, the Inge Center’s Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, the Helen Merrill Fund Award for emerging playwrights, and the Yale Drama Series Award for Still.  Education: Brown, Iowa Playwrights Workshop, Juilliard.

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Playwrights of New York (PoNY) is committed to ensuring the creation of vibrant and diverse new American plays in the center of the theater world by providing promising playwrights with world-class artistic and financial support to help them build sustainable careers.

Founded in 2007 by Farkas and The Lark, the unprecedented PoNY Fellowship helped catapult a shift in the theater industry by encouraging other major donor and theater organizations to deepen their support of the next generation of playwrights and by offering a full range of personal and professional benefits for artists.

After their fellowship year, PoNY playwrights are launched into sustainable careers with continuing support from the PoNY 2.0 program, which provides deeper and ongoing support to its playwrights through partnerships with American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University, Labyrinth Theater Company, and the Bush Theatre in London; access to opportunity and travel funds; Financial Bootcamp training; and a Rooted in NYC grant if the playwright elects to continue residency in New York City. 

For more information about Playwrights of New York, please visit: