Shakespeare Festival St Louis - In the Park

The Confluence Regional Writers Project will be produced by Shakespeare Festival St. Louis starting in our 2019 season. Our goal is to further foster a regional culture of playwriting by providing support and inspiration to emerging playwrights in St. Louis and its radiating regions through a Playwriting Fellowship, an Emerging Playwrights Cohort, and new plays commissioned and developed by the Festival.

Staged Readings | November 20-23, 2019

At the Kranzberg Arts Center

Staged readings of four new Festival commissioned plays.

Schedule and ticket information coming soon.


And Certain Women
Written by Shualee Cook
Yohannah. Shoshannah. Blink, and you’ll miss their names, but they’re there. Listed among those traveling with Jesus through Galilee in the Gospel of Luke, “and certain women… who provided for Him out of their resources.” In the background of all his teachings and miracles, YoYoh and Shosh are there with their more famous compatriot Mags – running crowd control, scouting for good sermon locations, picking up after a particularly messy Passover dinner, and all the while wondering where the meteoric rise of this prophet they’ve grown to love is going, and what say, if any, they get to have in where it ends up.

Tidy: A Play About Mass Extinction
Written by Kristin Idaszak
Joy recently read a self-help book about how to be happy. Actually, it’s about how to tidy. As she prepares her house for a party, Joy excavates her own personal history, and the history of the planet. But her memory is faulty, and she discovers troubling gaps in her narrative. A series of clues embedded in the geological site of her own home lead her closer to an answer she might not want to find. Tidy: a play about mass extinction examines the holes in our lives that we try to fill through consumption, and how we decide what to keep and what to leave behind. Who and what will survive the sixth mass extinction? And will it spark joy?

The Story Blinks
Written By Carter M. Lewis
A relatively irresponsible re-contextualization of H.G. Well’s The Country of the Blind.In final moments of The Country of the Blind, the central character of Nunez abandons love, walks off into the mountains, and dies. In present-day where people and literature are feeling woke and reinvented, Nunez is no longer willing to be the accommodating character of bygone years. Each night, he annoys his fellow characters into action and demands a chance to change his fate. This fiercely funny and provocative journey asks the question, can any of us really change, or are we eternally doomed to carry on in the same manner that we’ve already lived?

Suffer the Children
Written by Mariah L. Richardson
The school is on lock-down and surrounded by SWAT police. What does it all mean? Will Lupe be deported to Mexico? Is there an armed gunman running loose in the halls? What information is Stanley withholding? A follow-up play of Delilah’s Wish, this dramatic piece looks at the topical issues of race, white supremacy, gun violence, and immigration. Suffer the Children approaches these issues from real fears that children and many others in our society face, today.

Now accepting submissions for the

Second Annual Confluence Regional Writers Project Emerging Playwrights Cohort

Apply Here. 

2019 Emerging Playwrights Cohort

The Emerging Playwrights Cohort is a group of emerging playwrights who meet monthly for day-long workshops and writing sessions in St. Louis. Each playwright commits to producing a new full-length work. Each playwright will be assigned a director, a dramaturg, and actors to work with on a public reading of the play during the Festival season.

Shualee Cook

My name is Shualee Cook, and I write things. I write things as a way of asking questions. I write things to figure out what I think about some of the world’s proposed answers. I write to see my own experience more objectively, and better understand the experiences of others. I write for the theatre, specifically, because I can’t think of many things better than providing a channel for other creative people to funnel their skills and talents into, and I’m committed to being part of a community of artists discussing subjects through a piece rather than a solitary voice proclaiming something.

Some of the amazing theatre communities I had the chance to work in the last few months include Chicago’s About Face Theatre where “Sunset Artists of the American West” was included in their Out Front Reading Series, and National Queer Theatre in New York where my latest play “Cercle Hermaphroditos” was the second script presented in the Queer Village Reading Series. I was a Resident playwright with Tesseract Theatre here in St. Louis this year, where they staged a reading of my play “Earworm” in September and will be mounting a workshop production next May. And I was also the spring/summer resident at Stage Left Theatre in Chicago, which culminated in the first reading of “Cercle Hermaphroditos” in June. Other plays of mine that have received productions or readings include “Tempest in a Teapot” (R-S Theatrics, 2016 Idle Muse Athena Festival), “An Invitation Out” (Mustard Seed Theatre, 2017 Benchmark Theatre Fever Dream Festival), “Osgood Rex” (Saint Lou Fringe), “The Geography of Nowhere” (Mustard Seed Theatre), and “Music of the Goddess” (SATE’s Aphra Behn Emerging Artists Showcase). I was also a finalist for the 2016 David Calicchio Prize, the 2016 Jane Chambers Award, the 2015 and 2016 Goodman Theatre Playwrights Unit, and was this year’s Honorable Mention Playwright for the Annual Parity Commission.

Kristin Idaszak

Kristin Idaszak is a Chicago-based playwright, dramaturg, and performance maker, and the Artistic Director of Cloudgate Theatre. Her play “Second Skin” received the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award. Her play “Another Jungle” (Relentless Award Honorable Mention) received its world premiere with Cloudgate Theatre and The Syndicate in April 2018. Her work has also been developed through residencies at the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Stage Left Theatre, and the Qualcomm Institute at Calit2 in San Diego. Kristin has co-created collaborative original work that has been seen at the WoW Festival at La Jolla Playhouse and the Blurred Borders Festival, an international showcase of contemporary dance theatre. She has been nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work and has received two honorable mentions on the Kilroys’ List. She was the 2015 Kennedy Center Fellow at the Sundance Theatre Lab. She has received two Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowships. Kristin has received commissions from EST/the Sloan Foundation and Cleveland Playhouse. She was the Shank Playwright in Residence at the Goodman Theatre where she dramaturged “The Wolves” and was a member of the 2017-2018 Goodman Playwrights Unit. Kristin is also a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists and an adjunct faculty member at The Theatre School at DePaul University. Previously, Kristin served as Associate Artistic Director/Literary Manager of Caffeine Theatre and Associate Artistic Director of Collaboraction. MFA: University of California, San Diego. BFA: The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Mariah L. Richardson

Mariah L. Richardson is a St. Louis native and received her BA in Communications from the University of New Mexico and an MFA from Smith College in Playwriting. Mariah began her acting career while in New Mexico. Afterwards, she returned to St. Louis and did two seasons with the St. Louis Black Repertory and three seasons with Metro Theater Company. Her HBO/New Writers Project solo performance show, “all that” has toured throughout the country. Her play, “Sistahs Indeed!” was a main stage production at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park in 2008. In 2007, Metro Theater Company commissioned her to write “Delilah’s Wish” which won
a Kevin Kline Award in 2011 and was published by Dramatic Publishing. Gitana Productions commissioned “Soy Yo! An Afro-Latina Suite” in 2013 which premiered at the Kranzberg and remounted at the Missouri History Museum in 2014. Her last play, “Idris Elba is James Bond,” premiered in March 2017 at St. Louis Community College. She was commissioned by the University of Missouri St. Louis to adapt “Alice in Wonderland,” which was produced there in the fall of 2018. She served as the Playwriting Fellow at the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis 2017-2018, in which capacity she helped to rewrite the remounted “Blow Winds!” for the Shakespeare Festival St. Louis’ Shakespeare in the Streets program.



January 2019–Confluence Kick-Off Retreat for Playwriting Fellow and Cohort
February – November 2019–Monthly meetings with Playwriting Fellow and Cohort
October/November 2019–Rehearsals with actors/directors
November 2019–Staged readings of finished plays



Confluence Project Director

Nancy Bell 

Nancy Bell is the author of the past five Shakespeare in the Streets adaptations, two of which received St. Louis Theatre Circle Awards for Outstanding New Play. Nancy was also recognized in 2017 with the St. Louis Visionary Award.  She is the author of VENUS, finalist for the Next Generation New Play Prize, 2012, and co-author of PRESENT TENSE, winner of the LaBute Playwriting Festival, 2013. Her new play for youth, THE RUNAWAY CUPCAKE, was produced by OnSite Theatre Company. Nancy is Assistant Professor of Theatre at Saint Louis University, where she directs and teaches acting.

Inaugural Confluence Fellow

Carter M. Lewis

Carter Lewis teaches Introduction to Playwriting, Advanced Playwriting and Dramaturgy at Washington University in St. Louis. Prior to that, he was Resident Dramaturg & Playwright-in-Residence for The Geva Theatre Center in New York.  Carter was also co-founder and Resident Playwright for Upstart Stage in Berkeley, California. He is the winner of several national playwriting awards including: The Julie Harris – Playwriting Award, The State Theatre – Best New American Play, The Cincinnati Playhouse Rosenthal New Play Prize (’96 & 2001), New Dramatist Arnold Weissberger Playwriting Award, Playwright’s Center Jerome Residency, The Kevin Kline Award for Best New Play of 2009 and he is a two time nominee for the American Theatre Critics Award. For his play, While We Were Bowling, Carter was the recipient of an NEA/TCG Residency Grant for Playwriting, and The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation Award for Best New American Play.


The Confluence Regional Writers Project is generously funded by Sondra & Dorsey Ellis.