Four new writers have joined TimeLine Theatre Company's Playwrights Collective, the company’s new play incubator. Dolores Díaz, Kristin Idaszak, Osiris Khepera, and David Rhee are now in residence with the Chicago theatre company through January 2022.
A diverse group of artists are selected by TimeLine’s Company Members to participate in the Playwrights Collective, under the leadership of Literary Manager Ben Thiem. The group meets regularly, and playwrights choose their own projects that fit TimeLine's mission of presenting stories inspired by history that connect with today’s social and political issues.
Together, the group reads and hears scenes from work under development, asks questions, discusses challenges, and shares progress with peers. TimeLine provides support throughout the process, including readings, and any works developed with the Playwrights Collective may be considered for future development and production at TimeLine Theatre.
"I am thrilled to continue the work of TimeLine's successful Playwrights Collective initiative with this incredibly talented group of playwrights in our new cohort,” Thiem said in a statement. “Dolores, Kristin, Osiris, and David each bring a unique voice and style to the table. We’ve already started our work together, and I can't wait to support them over these two years as they each work on writing a new play that fits TimeLine's mission.”
“Even as our live programming has had to cease during the COVID-19 pandemic, TimeLine’s commitment to these playwrights and the nurturing of new plays continues unabated,” added Artistic Director PJ Powers. “Under Ben’s leadership, the Playwrights Collective provides an opportunity to support these Chicago-based writers as they create new scripts that help us understand present-day issues and experiences through the lens of the past.”
Díaz is a Chicago-based Latina playwright originally from the border city of Laredo, Texas. Most recently, she served as playwright-in-residence for Shattered Globe Theatre’s 2020 Protégé Program, as a guest artist at Texas Tech’s WildWind Performance Lab, and writer for Sones de México’s 25th Anniversary Showcase at Millennium Park.
Idaszak is a two-time Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow and the former Shank Playwriting Fellow at the Goodman Theatre. Idaszak has received commissions from the Goodman, EST/the Sloan Foundation, Cleveland Play House, and St. Louis Shakespeare Festival.
Khepera is a Chicago-bred Black Queer playwright, poet, actor, teaching artist, and activist. Named as one of six inaugural Russ Tutterow Playwrighting Fellows at Chicago Dramatists Theatre, most recently his plays have appeared in the Circle Up! Reading Series with Jackalope Theatre Company and the Chicago Inclusion Project, National Black Theatre’s I Am Soul Reading series, the Chicago Theatre Marathon Festival, the MOJOAA Reclamation Festival, and with Greatworks Children’s Theatre Company.
Rhee began his career as an actor after graduating from New York’s Circle in the Square Musical Theatre program, subsequently appearing on Broadway in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Rhee returned to school and earned his MFA degree in Dramatic Writing at Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, where he worked with Oskar Eustis at the Public Theater, Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks, Lucas Hnath, Eduardo Machado, and Kristoffer Diaz.
These four playwrights are the third group to be in residence as part of TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective.