“The WP Theater Lab is the single most empowering experience I have had as an emerging writer. It is wisely organized, it cultivates cross-pollination among a brilliant group of theater-makers and with WP’s track record of producing past lab writers on their stages, they are showing not telling that they are excited by our work and ready to help launch it into the world.” -Kristen Palmer, Playwright
Founded in 1994, the Playwrights Lab helps members to develop new work in a productive environment. In addition to the full-Lab meetings, Lab Playwrights meet monthly to hear their work read aloud and receive feedback.
Donetta Lavinia Grays
raised in Columbia, South Carolina - is a Brooklyn based actor and playwright. Plays include LAST NIGHT AND THE NIGHT BEFORE (2015 National New Play Network New Play Showcase. 2015 Todd McNerney National Playwriting Contest Winner. 2014 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Semifinalist), THE REVIEW OR HOW TO EAT YOUR OPPOSITION (2013 Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference Finalist) THE NEW NORMAL, THE COWBOY IS DYING and THE B FACTOR. And the short story PEACHES WITH KING. She is a member of the Actors Studio Playwright/Directors Unit, is a Civilians R&D Group and terraNova Collective Groundbreakers Playwright group alum and is the inaugural recipient of the Doric Wilson Independent Playwright Award. Her work has been either produced, developed or read by The Labyrinth Theater Company, New York Theater Workshop, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Portland Stage Company, Pure Theatre Company, [the claque], Naked Angels, Classical Theater of Harlem, Slant Theater Project, terraNova Collective, TOSOS, and Coyote REP. Acting credits: Broadway: IN THE NEXT ROOM OR THE VIBRATOR PLAY and WELL. Notable NY performance credits: O, EARTH (The Foundry Theatre) MEN ON BOATS (Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb), SHIPWRECKED! (Primary Stages), IN THE FOOTPRINT and BE THE DEATH OF ME with The Civilians as an Associate Artist. Regionally she is a 2-time Connecticut Critics Circle Award recipient and Helen Hayes Award nominee. Regional credits: American Conservatory Theater, Portland Stage Company, Westport Country Playhouse, Arena Stage, Hartford Theaterworks, Centerstage, The Huntington Theatre, Barrington Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival and The Los Angeles Women’s Shakespeare Company. Film/TV credits include BOOK OF HENRY, WILD CANARIES, THE ENGLISH TEACHER, THE WRESTLER, BLUE BLOODS, THE BLACKLIST, all LAW & ORDERS, MERCY, RUBICON, THE SOPRANOS and A GIFTED MAN. Proud member of The Actors Center Workshop Company, SAG-AFTRA, AEA and The Dramatist Guild of America. www.donnettagrays.com
MJ Kaufman is a playwright and devised theater artist working in New York and Philadelphia. Their work has been seen at the Huntington Theatre, New York Theater Workshop, the New Museum, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Page73, Colt Coeur, Yale School of Drama, Lark Play Development Center, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Aurora Theater, Crowded Fire, Fresh Ink Theatre, New Harmony Project and performed in Russian in Moscow.
MJ has received awards and commissions from the Program for Women in Theater, the Playwrights Foundation, the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, Young Playwrights Inc., and the Huntington Theatre, where they are also a playwriting fellow. MJ received the 2013 ASCAP Cole Porter Prize in Playwriting, the 2013 Global Age Project Prize, and the 2010 Jane Chambers Prize in Feminist Theatre.
MJ is currently a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers’ Group and a core playwright at InterAct Theatre. Originally from Portland, Oregon, MJ attended Wesleyan University and recently received an MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama. MJ has taught playwriting at Wesleyan University, SUNY Purchase College, the University of the Arts and as a teaching fellow at Yale College. More at mjkaufman.com.
Sylvia Khoury grew up in Westchester, NY, but didn’t speak English until she was five. Her mother is French (by way of Algeria and Tunisia) and her father is Lebanese (by way of Turkey). Her plays include Against the Hillside (2016 Eugene O’Neill Theater Conference, 2016 Kilroys’ List, 2015 Roundabout Underground Workshop, 2015 NNPN National Showcase of New Plays) and Selling Kabul (2016 Bloodworks Reading, Youngblood). She is a member of the 2016-2018 Women’s Project Playwright’s Lab, EST/Youngblood and is a Dramatists’ Guild Fellow. Her plays have been developed at The Kennedy Center, The New School for Drama, Columbia University, and Naked Angels. Semi-Finalist: Jerome Fellowship at the Lark. Sylvia completed her undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern Studies at Columbia University (2012) and received an MFA in Playwriting at the New School for Drama (2015). She lives in New York City, where she is a second-year medical student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Contact: Kate Navin at Gersh. www.sylviakhoury.com
Zoe Sarnak graduated from Harvard University where she received an Ann Radcliffe Trust award. Works include: Mixtape (Silent Street Productions 2012), A Lasting Impression (Pace New Musicals 2012, Off-Broadway 2012, Winner 2013 NJ Playwright's contest), The Years Between (Musical Theatre Factory 2014 workshop, March 2016 T-fellowship workshop), Landed with Emily Kaczmarek (2015 New York Film Academy commission). Zoe is the winner of the 2015 Davenport Songwriting contest, NY Stage & Film’s Founders Award finalist, Fred Ebb Award finalist, as well as residencies at Goodspeed Writers Colony, Williamstown Theatre Festival, NYTW, and Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. Her music has been featured at The Lilly Awards, Women of Note (NYMF), Prospect Theater Company, Cutting Edge Composers and more. Zoe is one half of the indie folk/pop band, she, featured in #sheSESSIONS recorded live from The End Studios.
New/upcoming projects include: Secret Soldiers (with Marsha Norman), Transport Group's 20th Century Commission (with Michele Lowe) and Teddy & Max (with Brian Crawley).
Leah Nanako Winkler
Leah Nanako Winkler is from Kamakura, Japan and Lexington, Kentucky. Her plays include KENTUCKY (2015 Kilroys List, Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Nominee, World Premiere 2016 w/ Ensemble Studio Theatre, Page 73, RADIO DRAMA NETWORK, Upcoming West Coast Premiere at East West Players) DEATH FOR SYDNEY BLACK (terraNova Collective, Thinking Cap Theatre in Ft. Lauderdale, FL), The Internet (
Everywhere Theatre Group/Incubator Arts Project), HAPPY DANCE DANCE PRINCESS SHOW (The Brick), Double Suicide At Ueno Park!!! (35th Marathon of One-Act Plays at Ensemble Studio Theatre), and more. Her work has been developed by Playwrights Horizons/Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, New York Theatre Workshop, The Bushwick Starr, The Flea Theatre, Primary Stages, Artists at Play and more. She was a 2013 artist in residence with the New Group/ Urban Arts Initiative, an alumnus of Terra Nova Collective’s Groundbreakers Playwright Group and Youngblood at the Ensemble Studio Theatre. Her collections of short plays, NAGORIYUKI & Other Short Plays and The Lowest Form Of Writing are available on amazon. Other publications include Nanjing University’s Stage and Screen Reviews (China, December 2014 edition), Smith and Krauss, and Sam French where she was a winner of the 2015 Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival. She is an affiliated artist at New Georges and member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Wcan Writers Group at Primary Stages. www.leahwinkler.org
Time Warner Foundation, Inc. provides leadership support of Lab artists and new play development at WP Theater.