The Playwrights' Unit is a group of experienced, accomplished playwrights from the Cleveland area who receive creative and administrative support from Cleveland Play House. The Unit meets regularly with members of the CPH artistic staff, where they read their works-in-progress and provide each other with feedback. Many of the plays developed in the Playwrights' Unit have been produced by Cleveland Play House, other Cleveland area theatres, and across the United States. Admission into the Playwrights' Unit is by invitation.
Eric Coble was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and raised on the Navajo and Ute reservations in New Mexico and Colorado.
His play The Velocity of Autumn premiered on Broadway at the Booth Theatre in April of 2014 starring Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella and directed by Molly Smith. Other scripts include Bright Ideas, The Dead Guy, My Barking Dog, A Girl’s Guide to Coffee and The Giver; they have been produced Off-Broadway, in all fifty states of the U.S. and on several continents, including productions at Manhattan Class Company, The Kennedy Center, Playwrights Horizons, Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, Arena Stage, New York and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, Alliance Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, Asolo Repertory, Indiana Repertory, Coterie Theatre, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Stages Repertory, Geva Theatre and The Contemporary American Theatre Festival.
Awards include the AATE Distinguished Play Award for Best Adaptation, an Emmy nomination, the Chorpenning Playwriting Award for Body of Work, the AT&T Onstage Award, National Theatre Conference Playwriting Award, an NEA Playwright in Residence Grant, a TCG Extended Collaboration Grant, the Cleveland Arts Prize, two Cuyahoga Arts and Culture Fellowships and four Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Grants.
Mike Geither’s plays and solo performances have been staged in San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, New York and London. He is a four-time Ohio Arts Council fellow and has served as a resident artist at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito and as Playwright-in-Residence at Cleveland Public Theatre.
Recent works include Tear It Off, Convergence Continuum, 2015; Loki and Lucy, Tailspinner Children’s Theatre, 2014; The Obtaining Gigantick Dimensions, Zuppa Theatre, 2013; The Tinderbox, Tailspinner, 2013; And Treat the Distant Peoples With Kindness, University of Ottawa, 2012; Shah Mat, Ottawa Dance Directive, 2011; and Circe/Landfall, Canada Dance Festival, 2010.
He is an Associate Professor at Cleveland State University and Program Director for the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (NEOMFA).
David Hansen is a playwright living in Cleveland Heights.
Recent works include Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Double Heart (The Courtship of Beatrice and Benedick) presented at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival and Winsor McCay's Adventures In Slumberland. Other works include And Then You Die (How I Ran a Marathon in 26.2 Years), The Vampyres and his award-winning solo performance on stillbirth, I Hate This (a play without the baby) which he has performed in New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Louisville, Cleveland, Akron and Columbus, OH and a seven-date tour of Great Britain.
David is the Education Outreach Associate for Great Lakes Theater and a member of the Cleveland Play House Playwrights’ Unit and the Dramatists Guild of America. David was a 2010 Creative Workforce Fellow, a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture generously funded by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. http://davidhansen.org
Margaret Lynch's monologue, “Turning Away,” is in Michael Bigelow Dixon’s anthology Breaking from Realism (2013). She collaborated with composer Daniel Bernard Roumain on the songbook Gilgamesh on the Crooked River for a “Creative Campus” project at Cuyahoga Community College (2010-12). With Daniel Bernard Roumain as composer, she wrote the libretto for The Order of An Empty Place, a Passover reflection.
She has been a member of the Playwrights' Unit of Cleveland Play House since 1996. Her plays Crossroads Dancing (Dobama Theatre, 2000) and The Heart Rising (Stagedoor Manor, 2005) received full productions. Readings of eight full-length plays have been presented by or at Cleveland Public Theatre, Dobama Theatre, Cleveland Play House and 78th Street Studios. She has written commissioned plays for Great Lakes Theater Outreach Tour, Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre and Cleveland Play House’s 90th anniversary. She wrote and directed more than twenty scripts for training purposes and produced independent theater projects as director of Pathway Productions from 1994-2008. She received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in 2005. From 1984-2003, she served as dramaturg for Great Lakes Theater and now serves as Executive Director of the Irish American Archives Society.
Michael Oatman is a Cleveland-born playwright and the newest talent to emerge from the legendary Karamu Theater in Cleveland, Ohio.
With a style that has been described as a hybrid mixture of Langston Hughes and David Mamet, Oatman's briskly paced narrative is peppered with imaginative language that has become his hallmark. His distinctive voice firmly places him among the newest generation of emerging playwrights.
Oatman earned an English Degree from Cleveland State University in 2004 and completed his MFA in Theater from the Northeastern Ohio Master of Fine Arts Consortium (Cleveland State, Akron University, Youngstown University and Kent State) in 2008.
In 2011, Oatman won the Cleveland Arts Prize. In a few years, he has amassed an impressive body of work and a list of productions and readings. His playwriting credits include The War Against Tupac Shakur, staged readings of Indelible and In Man, Karamu Theater; The Rainy Season, The Church; Lost Prospect, 2006 Ingenuity Festival; Not a Uterus In Sight, Oglephish and Indelible, Factory Theater; and a staged reading of The Chittlin' Thief, Stella Adler Conservatory in New York and African American Playwright Exchange in Washington D.C. He has also directed the staged reading Hip Hop for Eva at Karamu Theater and Billy's House of Pancakes and The Way of the Dance at Cleveland State University, as well as numerous youth productions.
Eric Schmiedl is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and a graduate of Kent State University and the University of Hawai’i.
His plays have been produced by theaters including Denver Center Theatre Company, Cleveland Play House, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Public Theatre, Lantern Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, New Stages Theatre, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Karamu House, Adventure Stage Chicago, Signal Ensemble Theatre, Great Lakes Theater Company and BackStage Theatre in Chicago.
His adaptation of Kent Haruf’s acclaimed novel Benediction is scheduled for production at the Denver Center Theatre Company in the 2014/2015 season; his play Huck Finn opened Lantern Theatre's 2014 season.
He is currently working on his fourth commission for the Denver Center Theatre Company as well as a new original play with his wife, Nigerian storyteller Adaora Nzelibe Schmiedl, developed through PlayhouseSquare’s innovative Launch program with the generous support of Cleveland Public Theatre. Set in the summer of 1977 this play simultaneously explores the life changing events of a 10-year-old boy from Cleveland, Ohio and a 10-year-old girl from a village in West Africa.
Eric also recently had the great pleasure of celebrating his love of Cleveland and the Cleveland Browns with a remounting of The Kardiac Kid, a one-man journey into the remarkable 1980 Kardiac Kids Browns team produced by Cleveland Public Theatre and presented at Playhouse Square. In May, 2015 he will direct Horton Foote’s Pulitzer Prize winning play The Young Man From Atlanta for the Beck Center in Cleveland.
Eric is the recipient of a 2012 Creative Workforce Fellowship, an Aurand Harris Fellowship, two Edgerton Awards and a Sloan Foundation Commission. Eric is on the faculty of the low-residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky.
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