The McKnight National Residency and Commission has announced the writers that will participate in the 2018-19 cohort at the Playwrights’ Center. Among them is Idris Goodwin, the recipient of the 2018-19 McKnight National Residency and Commission; May Lee-Yang and Tori Sampson, the 2018-19 McKnight fellows in Playwriting.
“To have the longtime support of a visionary partner like the McKnight Foundation is both unique and extraordinary,” says Jeremy B. Cohen, producing artistic director at the Playwrights’ Center. “To have it align with nurturing three such brilliant playwrights reinforces the great new vision of theater in our country—a country that needs these voices now more than ever.”
Idris Goodwin is an award-winning playwright, director, orator, and educator who was a Playwrights’ Center Core Writer from 2013–2016. His play “The Way The Mountain Moved,” commissioned with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s American Revolutions Series and co-developed by the Center, will see its world premiere this summer.
“Ever since I first set foot into the Playwrights’ Center over 15 years ago, I knew it’s where I belonged,” Goodwin says. “I leap at all opportunities to be within the walls of that building. This is the right play and the right time and now I have the right circumstances to spark its creation.”
For Tori Sampson and May Lee-Yang, the McKnight fellowship simply gives them the opportunity to continue writing and exploring. Sampson, a 2017-18 Jerome Fellow, says, “This fellowship means that I have another year of being a full-time playwright ahead of me!” She is currently working on commissions for Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Atlantic Theater Company.
Lee-Yang, who was part of the Playwrights’ Center’s Many Voices program in 2002-03 and 2008-09, is a writer, performer, and teaching artist. Her plays include “Confessions of a Lazy Hmong Woman” and “The Korean Drama Addict’s Guide to Losing Your Virginity,” which premieres July 27 at Theater Mu in St. Paul. “I’m excited about this fellowship because it will give me the luxury of time and resources to experiment, research and bring life to projects that don’t yet have a home,” she says.
These three are among the 35–40 fellows and core writers who work out of Minneapolis’ Playwrights’ Center each year. In addition to its residents, the Center supports 2,000 writers all over the world and co-develops around 70 new plays every year.