Emory University Selects First Recipient of Innovative Fellowship in Playwriting

Photo by Brian McConkey

May 20, 2014

ATLANTA ¿ Emory University's Department of Theater Studies and Creative Writing Program are delighted to announce that Edith Freni has been selected as the 2014-2016 Fellow in Playwriting.

This two-year fellowship is among the first of its kind, and is one of only a few existing university creative writing fellowships dedicated to supporting the work of playwrights. Developed as part of Theater Emory's commitment to creating new work, the fellowship provides a budding playwright, and his or her students, with opportunities to break new ground in dramatic writing.

"If you want to make theater that is transformative, you need to create an atmosphere that is open to experimentation and artistic risk-taking," says Janice Akers, Artistic Director of Theater Emory. "Artists need to know that their ideas are welcome and that they can pursue aspirations they might not be allowed to pursue in other circumstances."

Freni, a native of New York City, received her BFA and MFA in Dramatic Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Her work has been produced, developed and read at institutions including New York Theatre Workshop, LAByrinth Theatre Company, The Public Theatre, Williamstown Theater Festival and Ensemble Studio Theater, among many others. In 2013-2014, Freni was a Mellon Foundation Commissioned Playwright at the Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago. During Emory¿s 2014 Brave New Works festival, Freni presented selections from two new works "A Work of Pure Fiction" and "Total Power Exchange," a nominee for the 2014 L. Arnold Weissberger Award, both directed by Donald McManus.

As Emory's first Playwriting Fellow, Freni will work closely with the Playwriting Center of Theater Emory and contribute a new play to Brave New Works, their biennial festival. She will also teach three courses, including a playwriting workshop, dramatic literature course, and an additional course suited to the fellow's particular strengths and interests.

"I'm really looking forward to working with students who have committed themselves to a focus in playwriting," Freni says. "The idea of teaching three classes a year sounded very appealing to me because it would allow for ample time to focus on my own work and really devote myself to course prep and mentoring of student playwrights, something I've become very passionate over the last four years."

The Fellowship in Playwriting will commence August 2014 and conclude May 2016.

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The Playwriting Center of Theater Emory

Theater Emory (an Equity company) highly values the creation of new work as vital research in theater and, through its Playwriting Center, seeks to support those endeavors in our faculty, students, and both emerging and established professional playwrights.  Concurrently, we are committed to engaging our students and faculty with professional playwrights, directors, actors and dramaturgs in the development process of new plays.