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The Lark Announces Plays Selected for Playwrights’ Week 2019

Lark News
Headshots of five playwrights in a row. From left to right, Diane Exavier, Shayan Lofti, Omar Velez Melendez, Jaymes Sanchez, and Ren Dara Santiago.

The Lark is thrilled to announce five plays and playwrights have been chosen through its Open Access program for this season’s Playwrights’ Week festival, which will take place November 4-8, 2019. This year’s plays were selected from a record-breaking 1,320 submissions, and the lineup will be: Bernarda's Daughters by Diane Exavier, Park-e Laleh by Shayan Lotfi, We Built Our Homes Near Kingdoms of Animals and Magic by Omar Vélez Meléndez, The Cucuy Will Find You by Jaymes Sanchez, and Something in the Balete Tree by Ren Dara Santiago.

These playwrights will participate in a week-long retreat culminating in a festival of public readings, designed to provide support for plays in various stages of development, by writers at a range of places in their careers. This support includes building a peer-based community among the writers and their collaborators, which The Lark helps to foster by selecting a group of plays in conversation with one another, that collectively reflect a range of vital perspectives on our world.

"These five plays are undeniably of this moment and I am thrilled for them soon to be in conversation with each other and the greater Lark community,” said Andrea Hiebler, Director of Scouting & Submissions at The Lark. “From a heightened exploration of a family of Black women confronting questions of legacy and inheritance while battling aggressive Brooklyn gentrification, to a magical underworld journey of revenge and rebellion of a child survivor against the oppressive regime carrying out extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, this cohort deftly marries the personal and political in most thrilling theatrical fashion."

Now in its 26th year, Playwrights’ Week has garnered a history of being a festival of discovery, having supported such influential plays as Detroit ‘67 by Dominque Morisseau, The Thanksgiving Play by Larissa FastHorse, and Against the Hillside by Sylvia Khoury, before they went on to full productions. Its open submissions policy is designed to promote the discovery of new and unheard voices by The Lark, our audiences, and the theater field at large, and its developmental process is designed to foster a sense of discovery for writers and their creative teams.

“My script not only grew, but so did my humanity and love for the theater,” said Franky D. Gonzalez (Even Flowers Bloom in Hell, Sometimes), a Playwrights’ Week 2018 participant. “To be surrounded by such a diversity of stories and range of genres with the playwrights and the community at The Lark has allowed me to find new avenues to explore my own work.”

To promote an equitable selection process, each play is read with all of the writer’s identifying information removed, by a committee of readers from across the country. Submissions are evaluated using a multi-step process that reviews the script’s strength of voice, uniqueness of perspective, and emotional impact, as well an artistic statement outlining the playwright’s goals for the week.

Playwrights’ Week 2019 will kick off with The Lark’s annual Meet the Writers event, sponsored by Dramatists Play Service, Inc., featuring a panel discussion with the writers, and excerpts from each of the plays, read by the playwrights themselves. The panel will be moderated by Andrea and Krista Williams (Roundtable and Casting Director, The Lark), and will be streamed via Facebook Live.

Playwrights' Week is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and Axe-Houghton Foundation.

Click here for more details about the plays, a full schedule, and ticketing information!


Founded by The Dramatists Guild and a number of prominent theater agents, Dramatists Play Service, Inc. (DPS) was created to foster national opportunities for playwrights by publishing affordable editions of their plays and handling the performance rights to these works. DPS has since grown steadily to become one of the premier play-licensing and theatrical publishing agencies in the world. Offering an extensive list of titles that includes many of the most significant plays of the past century, DPS preserves the rich history of drama.   It works with thousands of theaters to ensure the future vitality of the theater. It is committed to providing a home for established writers and to nurturing new playwrights of exceptional promise.