Experience a weekend of new works by women playwrights June 5-6, 2021

Denver, CO, May 7, 2021-  Plays In Progress is a unique program fostering new works by women playwrights.  Over 300 plays were submitted from across the country.  The Plays In Progress Series is designed to give playwrights and audiences an opportunity to interact with work as it is being created. This year we highlight five playwrights.  Their work will be presented as virtual table reads.  Athena Project’s annual Plays In Progress Series returns June 5th and 6th as a series of virtual table readings and panels featuring incredible playwrights, directors, dramaturgs, and actors from across the country. The PIP Series seeks to uplift the voices of women* artists while enriching patrons’ understanding of the new play development process. 

Patrons are able to select from two ticketing options. A Series Pass grants ticket holders access to all readings, talkbacks, and the Submitting to PIP Q & A conversation. A Backstage Pass grants ticket holders access to the full PIP Series like never before, admitting patrons to all readings and talkbacks, both the Submitting to PIP Q & A conversation and the How Industry Insiders Read a Play Panel, a future Athena Project Read & Rant event featuring one of the Series plays, attendance at an open rehearsal, and some special behind-the-scenes surprises. 

Full schedule is available on Athena Project’s website: https://athenaprojectarts.org/pip/ 

All events will be held virtually via Zoom Webinar. The Series Pass is available to the General Public for $15. The Backstage Pass is available to the General Public for $25. Entertainers and theatre artists who have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic can buy the Backstage Pass at a discounted industry rate of “pay what you can!”

Since Plays In Progress Series’ inception, we have introduced 7 World Premieres and workshopped over 50 plays. Five have gone on to be fully produced by other theatres across the U.S.

Short biographies and play summaries: 

The Newlywed Game by Alyssa Haddad

THE PLAYWRIGHT: Alyssa Haddad is a Brooklyn-based, award-winning playwright of Lebanese and Italian descent. Her plays have been presented at the Capital Repertory Theatre, Centenary Stage Company, The Secret Theatre, Theater for the New City, Kraine Theatre, and The Midtown International Theatre Festival where she was the recipient of the Playwright’s Award. She was a 2019-2020 Artist-In-Residence at Art House Productions INKubator Play Lab. She holds a BA in History and Writing from The College of Saint Rose and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. More at alyssahaddad.com and NPX.

THE PLAY:  In The Newlywed Game, a young interracial couple hosts their traditional families for Thanksgiving and drops the bomb that they are engaged, begging the question how do you create a future with someone from an entirely different past?


Like a House of Cards by Eva Grace

THE PLAYWRIGHT: Originally from Dallas, Texas, Eva Grace is currently pursuing a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Northern Colorado. Eva became interested in writing for theatre in high school, which is when she decided to pursue a career in dramatic writing. Focusing on queer and women’s issues in writing, Eva hopes to find footing in television and theatre after graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 2023. Eva is also a member of her college’s Improv theatre troupe, CHAOS. Website: works-by-eva-grace.webnode.com/

THE PLAY: Like a House of Cards is a full-length play following two annexed siblings, Jordan and Jude, as they must rekindle their relationship in order to care for their sick mother, Wendy, who has only a year left to live. This dramatic comedy deals with addiction, sexuality and a pirate musical as the two young siblings struggle to work together to rebuild their home, their lives are as fragile as a house of cards.  


Woman Wahala by Nikkita Duke

THE PLAYWRIGHT:  Nikkita Duke is a multiple award-winning Nigerian writer with a UK Law Degree and an MFA in Screen/Stage Writing from Northwestern University. Presently, she is a recipient of the BAFTA Newcomer Program.

She is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild of America and her writing has been acclaimed internationally across continents from Africa to Europe to North America through writing competitions such as Austin Film Festival, StoryPros International Screenplay Contest, Evanston Literary Festival, Wild Claw Theatre’s Deathscribe Festival, and the list goes on. Her grant-winning, co-written TV pilot ‘U.S. Aliens’ is streaming on the esteemed platform, Open Television.

THE PLAY:  Woman Wahala is a comedy-drama play that follows Minika, a 28-year-old Nigerian-American woman, who decides that she doesn’t want children. Her biggest challenge is effectively communicating this decision to Aniema, her loving yet over-involved Nigerian mother. The play explores the ideas of a ‘successful child’ and a ‘successful mother’ and the clashes and calmness that occur when some traditions and stigmas do not cross over generations.


KNEAD LOVE by Camille Darby

THE PLAYWRIGHT: Camille Darby is an award-winning playwright born in Jamaica, and raised in the Bronx. Her work explores myriad black cultural experiences through the lens of multi-layered characters who are designed to deeply and intimately illustrate our human connection. Camille attended Sarah Lawrence College, then went on to earn an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU. Her plays have been developed at various fellowships including Dramatists Guild, New York Stage & Film (Queen Nanny); The Fire This Time Festival (Lords Resistance), National Black Theatre (FREE); Opera Front Compagnietheater in Amsterdam (Die Zauberflöte:The Magic Flute Revisited), and Liberation Theatre Company.

THE PLAY: Knead Love Nina—a genius and Columbia University Biology major dropout—is close to figuring out how to escape life as she knows it on Earth. On a fateful Saturday, Nina has reached her final day of reckoning inside her late mother’s abandoned bakery in the Bronx. But she is interrupted by a friend from the past who thinks Nina’s plan is just a fancy scientific suicide. Knead Love follows Nina’s attempt to exist in another realm, and her old friend, Marcus who tries to convince her that her plan won’t work. Better yet, he won’t let it. While Nina pushes Marcus to see past his own limitations, he tries to ground her in a reality that even he struggles to accept. As the two collide, they discover that they both need/knead each other more than they ever imagined.

WHAT Plays In Progress Series
COST Passes available on a sliding scale of pay what you can to $25

For more information on schedule and to purchase tickets see https://athenaprojectarts.org/pip/


SCHEDULE: Saturday, June 5

  • 12:00-1:00 pm MST: How Industry Insiders Read a Play (panel) – PIP Literary Manager Bethany Wood leads a conversation with a director, dramaturg, and actor from the Series about how they approach a script. 
  • 2:00 pm MST: WOMAN WAHALA by Nikkita Duke (Los Angeles, CA). Talkback to follow. 
  • 7:00 pm MST: KNEAD LOVE by Camille Darby (Brooklyn, NY). Talkback to follow.

Sunday, June 6

  • 11:30 am MST – Open Rehearsal – In this Backstage Pass exclusive event, audiences will become a fly on the wall in a PIP rehearsal room and discover how creative teams come together to make a new play reading work.
  • 2:00 pm MST: LIKE A HOUSE OF CARDS by Eva Grace  (Greeley, CO). Talkback to follow.
  • 5:00-5:30 pm Submitting to PIP Q&A (panel) – PIP Literary Manager Bethany Wood offers advice and answers questions for playwrights hoping to submit their own scripts to future PIP Series. 
  • 7:00 pm MST: THE NEWLYWED GAME by Alyssa Haddad (Brooklyn, NY). Talkback to follow.


About Athena Project:  Athena Project is a professional group of artists dedicated to supporting and expanding women’s artistic contributions to the Denver stage and the wider community.  Athena creates a world where women’s voices are powerfully expressed and recognized for artistic merit in the community.  Athena Project’s mission is to empower women and strengthen the Denver community through developing and showcasing women and girls’ artistic contributions, while inviting new audiences into the creative process.  Each year, Athena Project produces a Plays In Progress Series featuring voices of women playwrights on stage in the earliest stages of development, Pop-Up Performances showcasing comedy, visual art, fashion, music, and dance, and Girls Create, a summer intensive highlighting various art forms in a week-long camp culminating in a final performance shared with friends, family, and the public.  This program empowers girls to lead and affect change in themselves and others through creative learning.