top of page

MEET THE PLAYWRIGHTS | Short New Play Festival 2023

Red Bull Theater's 13th annual SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL will premiere live and in-person at Theater 555, NYC, on Monday, June 26, 2023. It will be simulcast online. The recording of the performance will available for on-demand streaming until Sunday, July 2 at 11:59 PM ET. Get full details here.

About Arden of Faversham | Tanya Pollard


Peter Gray (Forbidding Love) considers himself, as a playwright, an equal cross of Oscar Wilde, Henry David Thoreau, and the entire cast of The Muppets. His work has been recognized by institutions such as the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Yaddo, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and d’arts et de reves. As a MacDowell Fellow, Peter is creating a series of modern day closet dramas designed to be read aloud at home. His play Salem: Post-Mortem was begun in residence at Monson Arts then broadcast virtually with the Muse Collective in October 2020 to raise money for the Audre Lorde Project. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Peter’s projects and studies have taken him all over the world. With performer Joana Knezevic, he has created a bubble gum fantasia of body positivity, I Am Not Your Barbie, which premiered in Belgrade last May. He recently completed a Fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude in Stuttgart, Germany and is a member of The Orchard Project's Audio Lab this summer.

Delaney Kelly (One Moment Please) is an emerging writer and playwright from Cleveland, OH, currently based in New Haven, CT. Previous works include The Size of a Fist, which premiered at the Oberlin College New Works Festival and was Runner-Up for the 2020 KCACTF National Undergraduate Playwriting Award, and Before the Flood, which received a staged reading at the Kraine Theater in 2022. Their fiction has appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine, Glass Mountain, and Blood & Bourbon, among others. BA: Oberlin College, 2020.

Rachel Leopold (Of Love of God of Love) writes and works in education technology in Brooklyn. Her 10-minute play The Son was selected and read as part of the Red Bull Theater’s 7th Annual Short New Play Festival in 2017. Her full-length plays include Dog People and Shiva, which was selected for the 2014 Great Plains Theatre Conference PlayLabs series. She has a BA in literature from Columbia University.

Craig Lucas (The Western Canon) wrote the plays Blue Window, Change Agent, The Dying Gaul, God’s Heart, I Was Most Alive With You, The Lying Lesson, Missing Persons, Reckless, Prayer for My Enemy, Ode to Joy, Prelude to a Kiss, The Singing Forest, Small Tragedy, Stranger; the books for the musicals Amélie, An American in Paris, The Light in the Piazza, Marry Me A Little, Three Postcards; the screenplays for Blue Window, Longtime Companion, Prelude to a Kiss, Reckless, The Dying Gaul, Secret Lives of Dentists; the opera libretti for Orpheus in Love and Two Boys; and the ballet libretto for Christopher Wheeldon’s Cinderella. He directed the world premieres of The Light in the Piazza, I Was Most Alive With You, Ode to Joy, Change Agent & This Thing of Darkness (co-authored with David Schulner) as well as Harry Kondoleon’s plays Saved or Destroyed & Play Yourself & the movies "The Dying Gaul" & "Birds of America". He received the Excellence in Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, Drama Desk, Obie, L.A. Drama Critics, Laura Pels/PEN Mid-career, LAMBDA Literary, Hull-Warriner, Sundance Audience, Flora Roberts, Madge Evans-Sidney Kingsley & the Steinberg/ACTA Best Play & the Hermitage Greenfield Prize among many other awards and honors.

Maggie Lou Rader (Conferring by the Parlor Fire) (she/her/hers) is an award-winning playwright, member of the Dramatist’s Guild and AEA Actor. She tells epic stories of epic women. Her work has been published and seen regionally, Off-Broadway, and on Tony Award winning stages. She obtained degrees from William Jewell College in Kansas City and the Birmingham School of Acting in the UK and has called Cincinnati home for nearly 10 years. She has been the winner of The Theater J Patty Abramson Jewish Play Prize and the Notre Dame College New Play festival and was selected for Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Words Cubed Program. She has also been a finalist for the Henley Rose Playwrighting Award for Women, Central Florida Community Arts TYA New Play and Musical Festival, a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Garry Marshall Theatre New Works Festival, Dayton Playhouse’s Future Fest, and UP Theater's Renewal Reading Series. She has had the privilege of having her work developed at DePaul University, Inkwell Theatre, Skeleton Rep, and the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Her plays have been seen at Know Theatre of Cincinnati, InBocca Performance, Commonwealth Theatre Center, The Marsh, Eclectic Full Contact Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare, Urban Stages, Theatre Pro Rata, and colleges from coast to coast. She’s also been published with Smith and Kraus and Madwomen in the Attic.

Heather Raffo (The Coronation) is a singular and outstanding voice in the American theater whose work has been championed by the New Yorker as “an example of how art can remake the world”. Having helped forge a new genre of Arab American theater, she’s spent her career writing and embodying stories of Iraq: from the lives and dreams of Iraqi women in her seminal work 9 Parts of Desire (2003), to the suicidal ideation of an Iraq war veteran in the opera Fallujah (2012), to the restless longings of an Iraqi refugee architect, in Noura (2018). A multi award-winning writer and actor, she’s toured nationally and internationally: from The Kennedy Center to The Aspen Ideas Festival and from London’s House of Commons to the U.S. Islamic World Forum. Her newly released anthology (2021), Heather Raffo’s Iraq Plays: The Things That Can’t Be Said, brings together two decades of her most groundbreaking contributions to the American theater and speaks to the bravery required to be at the forefront of a movement. Raffo’s most current work seeks to expand across genres: In March 2023, a film of 9 Parts of Desire is set to be released on PBS to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Iraq War, and her latest, The Migration Play Cycle: A New Theatrical Platform, her most ambitious theatrical imagining in scale and scope, situates themes around migration and the global economy and aims to be the first ever-evolving, multi-locational, theatrical platform. Being raised in the Midwest and the daughter of an Iraqi immigrant, Raffo has committed her artistic practice to working across all kinds of borders: on mainstages and in rural communities; with the military and in the Middle East; in swing states and in refugee facilities, as she helps to shape cultural and national conversations in the decades since 9/11.

Jaqui Shiel (Taboo is the Thing) is an actor, singer and writer. Born and raised in South Africa to Irish parents- she trained as an actor in S.Africa at TUT School of Drama and in the UK at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts. After a varied theatre career in London playing roles in, amongst other things, The Libertine, Rainshark, Mary Zimmerman's The Arabian Nights, Playboy of the Western World, and A Month in the Country. Jaqui moved to NYC where she has also been seen in Elektra at the Baryshnikov Arts Centre and in industry readings for new plays including Craig Lucas's play Change Agent as Jackie Kennedy.

Frank Winters (The Whole Entire Life of Iphigenia) (he/them) is a writer, director, and actor based out of New York. He is the co-artistic director of Catastrophe Playlist, LLC and was a founding member of The Strangemen Theatre Company. His plays have been workshopped and produced Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, at The Wild Project, The Flea, 59E59 Theaters, independently at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and in colleges and high schools across the country. He was recipient of the Clifford Odets New Play Commission and Marquette University's first-ever new play commission; selections from his work have been featured in multiple editions of Lawrence Harbison’s The Best Women’s Stage Monologues. He has served as a guest educator or adjunct professor at New York University, Manhattanville College, Catawba College, and the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Purchase College. His work has been published by Broadway Play Publishing. He received a BFA in Acting from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at SUNY Purchase. He can be found online at


Red Bull Theater's 13th annual SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL will premiere live and in-person at Theater 555, NYC, on Monday, June 26, 2023. It will be simulcast online. The recording of the performance will available for on-demand streaming until Sunday, July 2 at 11:59 PM ET. Get full details here.


bottom of page