We’re proud to announce the 2022 Blue Ink Award to The Reapers on Woodbrook Avenue by Mardee Bennett. Featured finalists include Gina Femia (Staff Retreat), Rachel Lynett (White People By the Lake), Matthew Paul Olmos (a home what howls (or the house what was ravine)), Deborah Yarchun (Preservation).

We’re honored to celebrate and amplify these works. Our free online library is internationally accessible, allowing the public an opportunity to read 5 incredible scripts,” notes Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside.


“What happened to that nice boy Tamar was seeing? That little, brown-skinded boy?”

SYNOPSIS: Spanning decades, this heartrending play explores the complex relationship between three generations of women: Loretta Reaper, a middle-aged Black woman, her grown, spitfire daughter, Nell, and her starry-eyed granddaughter Tamar. Raised in the church, all three ladies cut a mean cloth while taking us on a riveting journey through time, exhuming long-buried family secrets, and creating gospel fire in the process. 

HOW TO WATCH THE READING & READ THE SCRIPT: Information about the August reading TBD. To read the script, contact Amy Wagner, A3 Artists Agency, amy.wagner@a3artistsagency.com

MARDEE BENNETT is a playwright, screenwriter, and actor based in New York. With a sharp ear for dialogue, Mardee’s work explores the collective triumphs of Black people in America. His eight-character comedy Cane was a 2021 Blue Ink Award Finalist. The Reapers on Woodbrook Avenue was a finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference and the Seven Devils Playwrights Conference. Other full-length titles include Loretta, The Nerve, In the Ramble, and A Pleasant Place to Be. His work has been developed at Center Stage, Signature Theatre, and Gloucester Stage Company. National Black Theatre will hold a workshop of his new play Sylvia Fair in Spring 2022.A proud Baltimore hometown boy, he trained at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Mardee is represented by A3 Artists Agency.


“…let’s just say she is very into us going on this hike, like it’s going to happen whether it stops raining or not, like, it’s going to happen even if the ground turns into lava and the sky starts raining acid, we are going on this hike you have no idea”

SYNOPSIS: A non-profit organization called Our Youth, inc. is away for their annual Staff Retreat!  They’re in a retreat house in the woods to bond, develop and grow.  But how much bonding can really happen when there’s a scandal that could threaten this organization – especially since nobody seems to want to talk about it?  Staff Retreat is a critique and reflection of our toxic non-profit cultures.

HOW TO READ THE SCRIPT: Contact Skyler Gray at Gersh Agency to request a perusal copy, sgray@gersh.com

GINA FEMIA‘s work has been seen/developed at MCC Theater, Playwrights Horizons, EST, Page 73, New Georges, CTG, Theater of NOTE, Panndora Productions, among others. Selected honors include The Kilroys List, Leah Ryan Prize, Doric Wilson Award, the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award and the Neukom Award in Playwriting. Gina’s work has been nominated for a Drama League Award (my pierced ears with AFO’s Solo Shorts) as well as a New York Innovative Theater Award. Gina is a current Core Writer with the Playwrights Center, and an Alum of EST Youngblood, Page73’s Interstate 73, Pipeline Theatre’s PlayLab, New Georges’ Audrey Residency, the Ingram New Play Lab at Nashville Rep and Parsnip Ship’s Radio Roots Writer’s Group. Gina’s a New Georges Affiliated Artist and has received residencies with Page73, Powerhouse, NTI at the O’Neill, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and Fresh Ground Pepper. MFA, Sarah Lawrence College (Lipkin Prize in Playwriting).


“We’ve been dating for 5 years and your mother still can’t say my name.”

SYNOPSIS: In a metatheatrical play, Saida agrees to go to her partner, Erin’s home for a funeral despite knowing that Erin’s family is very “woke” and not at all as racist-free as they claim. As the two fight about what it means to be an interracial couple with problematic families, the play explores the various tropes found in the many, many, many white people by the lake plays.

HOW TO READ THIS SCRIPT: Download PDF | Open in browser.

RACHEL LYNETT (she/they) is a queer Afro-Latine playwright, producer, and teaching artist. Their plays have been featured at  San Diego Rep, Magic Theatre, Mirrorbox Theatre, Laboratory Theatre of Florida, Barrington Stage Company, Theatre Lab, Theatre Prometheus, Florida Studio Theatre, Laughing Pig Theatre Company, Capital Repertory Theatre, Teatro Espejo, the Kennedy Center Page to Stage festival, Theatresquared, Equity Library Theatre, Chicago, Talk Back Theatre, American Stage Theatre Company, Indiana University at Bloomington, Edgewood College, and Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. Their plays  Last Night and HE DID IT made the 2020 Kilroy’s List.  Rachel Lynett is also the 2021 recipient of the Yale Drama Prize for their play, Apologies to Lorraine Hansberry (You Too August Wilson), and the  2021 recipient of the National Latinx Playwriting award for their play, Black Mexican.


“My body…it don’t even remember what not bein’scared feels like.”

SYNOPSIS: After The Vargas Family is displaced from their home, the parents try to live off the land, but the fear of the outside is like a never ending nightmare. Meanwhile, their daughter attempts to fight their fight legally, against the gears of progress.

HOW TO READ THIS SCRIPT: Download PDF | Open in browser.

MATTHEW PAUL OLMOS is a Mexican-American playwright who focuses his work on the creation of space for marginalized and underrepresented communities. While his work is always personal, it is aimed at reaching across socio’political boundaries, and illuminating a potential hope for future generations.

He is a three-time Sundance Institute Fellowship/Residency recipient, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival Commissioned Playwright, New Dramatists Resident Playwright, Center Theatre Group LA Playwright Workshop Writer, Geffen Playhouse Writers Room Playwright, Oregon Shakespeare Festival Black Swan Lab Playwright, inaugural Primary Stages Creative Development Grantee, Princess Grace Awardee in Playwriting, Arizona Theatre Company National Latino Playwriting Awardee, Ojai Playwrights Conference Foundry Project playwright, Repertorio Español Miranda Family Nuestra Voces Playwriting Awardee, Cherry Lane Mentor Project playwright as chosen by Taylor Mac, and La MaMa e.t.c.’s Ellen Stewart Emerging Playwright Awardee as selected by Sam Shepard.

He spent two years as a Mabou Mines/SUITE Resident Artist being mentored by Ruth Maleczech and is a former New York Theatre Workshop’s Emerging Artist Fellow, Baryshnikov Arts Center Artist in Residence, Dramatists Guild Fellow, Humanitas Play LA Workshop Playwright, Primary Stages’ Dorothy Strelsin New American Writer, Brooklyn Arts Exchange Resident Artist, INTAR H.P.R.L Playwright, Rising Circle Collective Playwright, terraNOVA Collective’s Groundbreakers Playwright; he is also an Echo Theater Company Resident Playwright, a proud Kilroys nominator, and an Ensemble Studio Theater lifetime member.

His work has been presented both nationally and internationally, taught in university, and is published by Concord Theatricals (Samuel French) and NoPassport Press.

He is currently developing a play inspired by Samantha Power’s “The Education of An Idealist” for Geffen Playhouse’s Writers Room and All For One Theatre’s Solo Collective; he is also developing a new play inspired by Mendez vs. Westminster for Primary Stages and Ingram Arts. He developed a feature with Andrew Lauren Productions and is currently developing a screenplay inspired by his play That Drive Thru Monterey. www.matthewpaulolmos.com.


“I know he founded this library. This town, who hasn’t heard of him?”

SYNOPSIS: In a small town, in an archival library, there’s a vault. Inside the vault, there’s a box. Stella, Lydia’s dying grandmother, has convinced her that inside the box is a buried family secret that could alter their lives. But the founder of the library funded it under the stipulation that the box never be opened. Lydia and Stella need vindication. Stan, the library’s archivist, needs to protect the library and the founder’s integrity at all costs. Lydia isn’t going away. And Stan isn’t backing down. Preservation is a three-character dark comedic drama that explores what happens when protecting the dead comes at the cost of the living.

HOW TO READ THE SCRIPT: Download PDF | Open in browser.

DEBORAH YARCHUN’s plays have been produced and/or developed at Amphibian Stage Productions, The Blank Theatre, Capital Rep, Centenary Stage Company, The Civilians’ R&D Group, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Great Plains Theater Conference, Jewish Ensemble Theatre, Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, the Minnesota Fringe, the Philadelphia Fringe, The Playwrights’ Center, Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, The New Harmony Project, Northern Stage, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival, Theatre Squared’s Arkansas New Play Festival, Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater by Young Playwrights Inc., the William Inge Center for the Arts, and Williams Street Rep. Deborah’s honors include two Jerome Fellowships at The Playwrights’ Center, a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellowship, an EST/Sloan Commission, Dartmouth’s 2020 Neukom Literary Arts Award for Playwriting, The Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, the Kernodle New Play Award, the 2020 Maxim Mazumdar New Play Award, the Richard Maibaum Playwriting Award, and Women in the Arts & Media Coalition’s Collaboration Award. Her play Great White was an Honorable Mention for the Relentless Award and her play Atlas, The Lonely Gibbon was a finalist for the 2021 National Playwrights Conference. Deborah is a 2021-2024 Core Writer at the Playwrights’ Center and a New Georges Affiliated Artist. She earned her MFA at the University of Iowa where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow.

Other Blue Ink Award winners

Finalists: Paris Crayton III (Only Some of God’s Children or Mississippi Magnolias), Raul Garza (Arbolito), Emma Gibson (If nobody does remarkable things), Shannon TL Kearns (Body + Blood), Matthew Libby (Tomorrow and Tomorrow), Kyle J. McCloskey (Edge of Town), Tania Richard (The America Situation), Nia Akilah Robinson (“WP” Means “White People”), chandra thomas (…of Champions), Sarah Tuft (ABIGAIL), Ken Urban (The Moderate), P.C. Verrone (The Pretendians), Jessica Wu (Good Mourning)

Semi-finalists: Lucas Baisch (404 Not Found), Leah Roth Barsanti (The Almost Emperor of the Unofficial Deestrick of Lake Michigan), Cris Eli Blak (Sons of Liberty), Brysen Boyd (Closing Costs on 6101 Nyanza Park Drive APT D6 Flushing, NY 11351), Xavier Clark (supper), Erin Considine (Artists & Vandals), Shualee Cook (Cercle Hermaphroditos), Andrew Lee Creech (Last Drive to Dodge), Pauline David-Sax (Cotton’s Tale), Angela J. Davis (AGATHE), Alexandra Espinoza (All My Mothers Dream in Spanish), Mouncey Ferguson (Three-Day Hold), Linda Maria Girón (amémonos // let us love each other), Keiko Green (Sharon), Amina Henry (Interstate), M.J. Kang (Pretender), Gloria Majule (Culture Shock), Nick Malakhow (A Picture of Two Boys), Thaddeus McCants (No Different Than Cotton or Cobalt), Karissa Murrell Myers (Blood of My Mother’s), Felicia Oduh (Mercy), Tira Palmquist (The Body’s Midnight), Ankita Raturi (The Elephant is Very Like), Kira Rockwell (Oh, to Be Pure Again), Marcus Scott (Tumbleweed), SEVAN (Gorgonae), Christopher G. Smith (The Violin Maker), Phillip Christian Smith (Walking While Black), Ellis Stump (Once on Rumspringa), Caridad Svich (Clara Thomas Bailey), Caity-Shea Violette (Rx Machina), Laura Zlatos (The Blue Whale)

All 50 playwrights of the 2022 Blue Ink Awards

About the Blue Ink Award for playwriting

The nationally-renowned Blue Ink Award was created in 2010 to support new work. Since inception, we’ve named 12 Award winners, 112 finalists, and 171 semi-finalists. Nearly $10,000 in cash and prizes will be distributed to playwrights in 2022.

Each year American Blues Theater accepts worldwide submissions of original, unpublished full-length plays. The winning play will be selected by Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside and the theater’s Ensemble. The 2022 winning playwright receives a monetary prize of $2,500. Cash prizes are awarded to finalists and semi-finalists too.  All proceeds of the administrative fee are distributed for playwrights’ cash prizes.

Submissions for the 2023 Blue Ink Playwriting Award open July 1, 2022. All submissions must be received by American Blues Theater by August 31, 2022 at 11:59pm. Playwrights may only submit one (1) manuscript each year for consideration.

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