Meet our Ames Playwrights!

It’s only been a couple days since our Ithaca and Sedona semi-finalist readings (which went beautifully!) and we’re already kicking it into high gear in Ames, Iowa where our amazing partner producer, Charissa Menefee (an awesome playwright, director, and dramaturg in her own right) is producing our fourth semi-finalist reading at Iowa State University!  Wahoo!

Charissa participated in our first Onstage Project festival as a playwright, and I couldn’t be happier that she’s joined our team as a producer!

Let’s meet these fabulous playwrights whose work is being featured this week 🙂

Jaisey BatesJaisey Bates seeks to create stories that transcend cultural lines and speak at their heart to what it means to be human. She started writing for the stage while attending Circle in the Square and performing in NYC theaters. She hopes to engage audiences in nontraditional story experiences which help remind us of how much we share in common, underneath our’social skins’. Jaisey writes and performs her work with her multicultural, nomadic (a.k.a.’homeless’) theater company, The Peoplehood ( LA and NYC performance venues for her words have included the Agüeybaná Book Store, Art/Works, Eclectic, Lounge, Naked Angels, Native Voices at the Autry, Open Fist, Performance Loft, Playwrights’ Center Stage, Studio/Stage, Unknown and Victory theaters. PS. Jaisey and her words think you rock. Thank you. For rocking. Carry on.

Mary ParisoeMary S. Parisoe has been a Network Playwright at Chicago Dramatists since 2009. Her short one-act, Evil Amy’s Second Chance was done by Twenty Percent Chicago as part of their one-act festival in 2009, was a finalist in Potluck Productions (Kansas City, MO) in 2010, was done as a radio play by Frequency Theatre in England in 2013. Another short one-act won the Washington Arts Club (D.C) One-Act Competition in 2011. That play, The Last Vagabond, is in the process of being developed into a full-length play. When she’s not writing plays, she teaches high school French in Lake Forest, IL. She has an M.A in English from De Paul University in Chicago and an M.A in French Literature from University of Illinois.

Amy Schleunes HeadshotAmy Schleunes is a writer, performer, and teacher based in Nicaragua. Her plays have been developed at the Great Plains Theater Conference and the Iowa New Play Festival, and her fiction and essays appear in Fourth Genre, The Missouri Review, Seneca Review, and other literary journals. She recently received fellowships from The MacDowell Colony and the Kenyon Playwrights Conference, and is hard at work on her first novel and a few new plays.


Beth KanderBETH KANDER is a creative artist with one foot in the South and the other in the Midwest. Selected playwriting honors and awards: Downstage Left Playwright Residency, Stage Left—Chicago, 2014-2015; Charles M. Getchell New Play Award, SETC (2012); Eudora Welty New Play Awards (2013, 2010, 2008); Theatre Oxford Audience Award (2012); Mississippi Theatre Association New Play Award (2009). Kander has scripts represented by Steele Spring Stage Rights and Chicago Dramaworks. In addition to playwriting, Kander authors 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, and has studied at Second City Training Center and New Stage Theatre. She lives with her husband and a small collection of rescue pets, some of them famous.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARhea MacCallum is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and script consultant, whose plays have been produced across the United States and six continents. She was honored to participate in the Lincoln Center Directors Lab and was named a finalist by the Actors Theatre of Louisville for the Heideman Award for her play, YESTERDAY ONCE MORE. Her work has been included in collections published by Junket Publishing, JAC Publishing and She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, ICWP and a Lifetime Member of the ALAP. Rhea earned her BA from USC and her MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School.

playwright jenJen Huszcza is a playwright currently based in Los Angeles.  Three of Jen’s plays (Rinse, POP, and Flowers) were performed in Little Black Dress INK’s first three festivals. Her short play, It Has to End in Tears, was produced by Greenlight Productions in Santa Monica in March 2015. Four of her plays have been presented as staged readings in the Monday Night Living Room Series at The Blank Theatre in Hollywood.  She wrote and acted in Gunfighter Nation’s collectively written piece, LA History Project: Pio Pico, Sam Yorty, and the Secret Procession of Los Angeles, presented at the Lost Studio in 2010.  She has guest-blogged for the Los Angeles Female Playwrights Initiative. BFA in Dramatic Writing and MFA in Musical Theatre Writing both from NYU. *Jen’s play Flowers was a 2014 ONSTAGE Project finalist for Planting the Seed and has two semi-finalist pieces in this year’s fest!”

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