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Development Fund Grantees 2020 

ICWP is pleased to announce that nine grants have been awarded to Black Indigenous and People of Colour recipients who are our members. Of these awards, six recipients will be holding a scripted reading of new work and three will be pursuing opportunities to learn more about the art of playwriting. ICWP is proud to support our talented and change-making artists whose important stories are part of our past, present and future.

Wuraoluwa Ayodele - Nigeria

Wuraoluwa Ayodele is a Lawyer, Women Rights Activist and playwright. She has five years of experience in the non-profit and community development sector, skilled in Civic Engagement and law practice. She uses her playwriting to engage local communities on Gender equality, gender justice, ending racism and protecting women and girls from violence.

Her plays include The Stone Woman, Deception and several others. She strongly identifies as a feminist with her focus on gender equality and women rights as well as the protection and rehabilitation of women and girls facing Gender-Based Violence (GBV). Wuraoluwa is the founder/Program director of Women Safe House Sustenance Initiative, where she provides Shelter, Healthcare and Legal Aid services to female vicims of all forms Violence across Nigeria. Wuraoluwa is driven by her passion for eliminating Gender Based Violence and providing support for female rape survivors as well as other women and girls facing all forms of violence in Nigeria.


Mayura Baweja - India

Mayura Baweja is a performer, director and writer engaged in theatre and film making for over two decades. Based in Bangalore, India, since 2015, she has lived and worked in the US, Singapore and other parts of India. She holds a Masters in Theatre Studies from the National University of Singapore.

Experimental, collaborative, devised theatre work with inspiring women directors nudged her into writing for performance. She wrote and performed her first play, Eight Days, at The Substation’s Chiaroscuro Festival (2007) in Singapore. A solo performance, it explores the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother within the greater political events of The Partition. Over the same year, she wrote and directed The Picnic, which was shortlisted for the Short and Sweet Festival(2007) in Singapore.

A staged reading of her full length play Paper Thin, supported by TheatreWorks Writers Lab, took place in July 2015 in Singapore. An excerpt from a more recent play, Pruning, was part of the offerings in Voices from Isolation, hosted by ICWP in July, 2020. Committed to the inclusion of multiple and alternative voices in the performance space, she feels strongly about issues relating to gender and the portrayal of women.

She has taught theatre and performance to undergraduate and graduate students at the National University of Singapore, Azim Premji University, Bangalore and Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore.

Her favourite performances include Trojan Women (Warwick Arts Centre) Blood Wedding (Provincetown Playhouse, NYU), Little Pitfall and Journey Theatre (Immigrants Theatre Project, NY) Eight Days (The Substation, Singapore), Algorithms (Indian Ensemble, Bangalore) and Chippi the Chipkali ( AHA Rangashankara). Her directorial work includes Bayen, Rehearsed Readings by Theatrekeeling (RS Connect, 2020) Tara (Drama Centre Blackbox, National Library, Singapore, 2015), The Picnic (Short and Sweet, Singapore, 2007) and Hello (Sprouts Theatre, 2006).

Driven by her own experience of writing in isolation during the pandemic she started The Writers’ Table, an online space for writing for performance, a nurturing community space for new writers.

Mayura recently founded Theatrekeeling to embark on more theatrical adventures.


Eve Crusto - USA

Eve Crusto is a playwright and screenwriter on a mission to bring untold stories to life. She holds a BA in African American Studies from Mount Holyoke College, a Louisiana Teacher Certification through Teach For America, and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she was a recipient of the Rita and Burton Goldberg Award for Excellence in Screenwriting. Her screenplays have received honors from the Chicago International Film Festival, the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Film Festival, and NYU's Fusion Film Festival.

Her plays have been performed in Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Colorado, and New York including Theatre for the New City, La Mama E.T.C., Theatre Row, and The Producer’s Club. Eve was a script assistant for Nickelodeon's Emmy-nominated literacy show WALLYKAZAM! She is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Screenwriting Competition Finalist, a recipient of the Theatre Masters National MFA Playwrights Award, and a featured TV writer of Tisch’s OTHER Showcase of Under-heard Voices and of WeForShe's 2019 WriteHer List. Eve currently lives in Los Angeles, but New Orleans lives in her.


Adrienne Dawes - USA

Adrienne Dawes is an Afro-Latina playwright, producer, and teaching artist originally from Austin, TX. Her plays include Teen Dad, Am I White, Hairy & Sherri, and more. She received her bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College and studied sketch and improv with the Second City in Chicago, IL.

Adrienne is the recent recipient of a 2020 MAPFund grant for her play “Casta.” She has been an Alice Judson Hayes Fellow (Ragdale Foundation), a selected playwright in the 2018 Fornés Playwriting Workshop, and an artist-in-residence with Crosstown Arts and PlySpace. Her work is published by Vintage Books, Playscripts, Heartland Plays, Heuer Publishing, and Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.

Her full-length plays have been produced by Salvage Vanguard Theater (Austin, TX), Sacred Fools (Los Angeles, CA), and American Theatre Company (Tulsa, OK). Adrienne’s plays have been developed with the Fire This Time Festival, Stages, B Street Theatre, North Carolina Black Repertory, Teatro Milagro, National Black Theatre, English Theatre Berlin, and Live Girls! Theater. Adrienne is a member of the Dramatists Guild (Ambassador for the NW Arkansas region), ScriptWorks, and a company member of Salvage Vanguard Theater.


Hortense Gerardo - USA

Dr. Hortense Gerardo is a playwright, filmmaker, and anthropologist, and serves as the Director of the Anthropology, Performance, and Technology (APT) program at the University of California, San Diego. Her works have been performed nationally and internationally, including:LaMama Experimental Theatre (MODEL BEHAVIOR, THE LAST GLANCE), the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston (BRAND OF THE FREE, CLONE OF THE BRAVE, RANDOM THOUGHTS ON CONTEMPLATING THE POSSIBILITY OF LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT WHILE VIEWING ART), the International Performance Art Festival (SCRUB), the Venice Biennale (VIDEO WALKING VENICE), the Nuit Blanche Festival in Toronto (SHADOW|PROOF HOUSE, GLASS HEART SOLOS, CRAFTING HIGH ART) and The Fence International Playwright Network (RAZE THE BAR).

Hortense is a Heideman Award Finalist for her play, IN THE WAKE OF THE HORSEMEN about the genocide in Darfur. Her screenplay FOURHAND was produced as a feature-length award winning film, as was her movement-based performance work, INFINITE CORRIDOR. Hortense was awarded the Leighton Artist Residency at Banff (2014, 2018), and has received artist grants from the International Center for Women Playwrights (ICWP), the Berwick Fund for the Humanities, the Packard Foundation, the Anderson-Rogers Foundation, the Boston Foundation, the Bob Jolly Foundation, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

She was a Company One Theatre Playlab Unit Playwright, a New World Theatre Masterclass Playwright Fellow, and an ICA Dance Fellow. She was the Artist-in-Residence at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) where she created the audience-interactive, site-informed play, THE MEDFIELD ANTHOLOGY, and the award-winning documentary films, THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC: A MOTHER’S RECKONING and SMALL STEPS: DANCES OF RESILIENCE.

Dr. Gerardo served as the New England Regional Representative for the Dramatists Guild of America, is a co-founder of the Asian American Playwright Collective (AAPC) and currently serves on the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) Council and on the Board of Directors of the Woods Hole Film Festival leading the Screenwriting Competition. Dr. Gerardo received a B.A. in Biology, an M.A. in Anthropology, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology and Performing Arts from Boston University.

For more information go to: www.hortensegerardo.com and follow her on Twitter: @hfgerardo


Tavi Juárez - USA

Tavi ("tay-vee") Juárez is an award-winning queer Chicana playwright and performer based in New York City.

She was raised in the Deep South and attended the Alabama School of Fine Arts specializing in Theatre studies. After high school, she graduated summa cum laude as a McNair Scholar with a B.F.A. in Theatre from the University of Montevallo. Following graduation, she moved to New York City to attend the Circle in the Square Theatre School and begin her professional career.

She is a proud member of Actor's Equity, the International Centre for Women Playwrights, and the Dramatists Guild. Additionally, she provides her perspective as a POPSUGAR Contributor to the Latina Voices Program.

Her theatrical work has been produced as readings at the Dixon Place Theatre, Theatre for the New City, WOW Cafe Theatre, and the Village Playwrights in New York City. Most recently, her short play "The United States of Huevos" won BEST PLAY in the Fifth Avenue Theatre of New York Virtual Fall 2020 Play Festival!

Her work is generally experimental, sometimes sexy, and usually funny. Her biggest goals in life include shooting a web-series based on her play "Different", founding a queer Latinx theatre company, and finishing her play about Mesoamerican culture that will put Mel Gibson’s “Apocalypto” film to shame. She looks forward to using this grant to attend a playwriting course.


Mia Raye Smith - USA

Mia is an international award-winning writer and solo performer. Mia was born in Detroit, Michigan, with an African American, Creole and Acadian heritage from Louisiana. She spent her teenage years growing up in Queens, NY. It was there that she developed her characters from multicultural backgrounds. Mia studied acting at William Esper Studio.

Her first solo play, “I Am Hope,” was developed in Emmy Award-winning writer Matt Hoverman’s Go-Solo Workshop. “I Am Hope” was a critic pick in Now Toronto. “Smith Seamlessly Plays 19 characters, including herself, her grandparents, her therapist and classmates. Her character work is masterful.” Mia has toured in Theatre festivals and many College Campuses. Mia received a grant from the New York City department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council to write, perform and produce her second solo play. Mia has continued her circle of artistic service by performing virtually at Appalachian State University!


Melisa Tien - USA

Melisa Tien is a playwright, lyricist, librettist, and producer.  She is the author of the plays BEST LIFE, THE BOYD SHOW, YELLOW CARD RED CARD, and FAMILIUM VULGARE, co-author of the music-theater works SWELL and MARY, and co-producer of the audio series ACTIVE LISTENING.

A New Dramatists resident playwright, Melisa is a recipient of a grant from the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music, and Theatre, a commissionee of the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan Project, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Playwriting/Screenwriting. She teaches experimental theatrical writing at Sarah Lawrence College. BA, UCLA; MFA, Columbia University. www.melisatien.com


Rahmat Zakari-Ismail - Nigeria

My name is Rahmat Zakari-Ismail. I was born in August, 1976. I am a mother of four and a graduate of Mass Communication with special interest in Writing.

I am an indigene of Benue State, North Central, Nigeria.

I am member of the Abuja Writers" Forum; a group of Nigerian creative minds that meet on weekly basis to critique works written by members. During one of our monthly Writers challenge, my short play "I thought, I know her" came second. 

My interest in writing dates back to my days in Secondary School and have continued to this day. Writing for me is my real soul and everyday, I look forward to having my feet established in the world of art.

ICWP looks forward to sharing news about the activities of the grantees in the months ahead which may include

  • scripted readings
  • reflection articles
  • photos
  • zoom rooms and more. 

We are proud to support our members in their playwriting development and committed to equity and inclusion and forefronting the talents of our Black Indigenous and People of Colour membership.

Join us in cheering each other on in our endeavors to elevate women's voices in playwriting. 

Share this page on Social Media and check out the IMPACTS page

The International Centre for Women Playwrights is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women playwrights around the world.    

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