The Creators of Active Listening At New Dramatists

Active Listening is a New Dramatists podcast series that invites the resident playwrights to experiment with story, intimacy, and immediacy through sound experiences. This initiative was borne of the questions that became urgent as our pandemic lockdowns began. What are creative alternatives to gathering together in rooms? What might a play for the ear sound like? 

Each episode is written, recorded, and produced by a different resident playwright. Visit New Dramatists for a more detailed history of how Active Listening came to be, as well as a list of everyone who made this ambitious undertaking possible.

Kirk Wood Bromley

Kirk Wood Bromley, aka “Shakespeare on mushrooms” (LA Weekly), has been creating verse plays in NYC since 1990. In that time, he has written around 25 of them, and they have been produced by Aaron Beall (Nada), FoolsFury (SF), Bad Epitaph (Cleveland), Sacred Fools (LA), Wesleyan, Kenyon, Mizzou, Inverse Theater (of which he is Artistic Director), and more. More about him, his theater company (Inverse), and his band (The Good Hard) can be found at

Mashuq Mushtaq Deen

Mashuq Mushtaq Deen is an award-winning resident playwright at New Dramatists, a core writer at the Playwrights Center, and winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Draw The Circle (productions: PlayMakers Rep, Mosaic Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre; published: Dramatists Play Service). His other full-length plays include Flood (covid-canceled production at Kansas City Rep), The Empty Place (NYU/New Dramatists Joint Commission), The Betterment Society (upcoming publication), The Shaking Earth (covid-postponed production, National Queer Theater), and Tank & Horse (world premiere at the Berkshire Fringe Festival).

Matthew Freeman

Matthew Freeman is a Brooklyn-based writer and director. His plays have been seen on stages throughout New York City by way of The Brick, Access Theater, 4th Street Theater, HERE Arts Center, The Metropolitan Playhouse, The New Ohio, 80WSE Gallery, House of Yes, Dixon Place and at the Incubator Arts Project at St. Mark’s Church. His audio pieces have been heard on Atlanta Fringe Radio and at the HearNow Audio Festival in Kansas City. His plays and monologues have been published by Samuel French, NYTE, Applause, Smith & Kraus, and Playscripts. Plays include The Language, Bluebeard, That Which Isn't, and When is a Clock. He is a current resident at New Dramatists and a MacDowell Colony Fellow. Freeman is a graduate of Emerson College.

Mary Elizabeth Hamilton

Mary Elizabeth Hamilton was a Lila Acheson Wallace Fellow at The Juilliard School and a Jerome New York Fellow at The Lark. She has participated in The O’Neill Theater Conference, Youngblood, I-73, New Georges’ The Jam, and Play Penn. Mary holds her MFA in playwriting from The University of Iowa. Her play 16 Winters won the American Shakespeare Center’s New Contemporaries Award in 2018. She was a member of Ars Nova Playgroup and is a resident playwright at New Dramatists. Mary lives in Brooklyn with her daughter.  

C. Julian Jiménez

C. Julian Jiménezis a queer Dominican and Puerto Rican playwright. MFA: The Actors Studio Drama School. Awards: 2009 Public Theater EWG Fellowship, 2015 Queens Arts Council Grant, and a resident of New Dramatists. Plays include, Animals Commit Suicide, Bruise & Thorn, and Locusts Have No King.

MJ Kaufman

MJ Kaufman is a playwright and television writer from Portland, OR. Their work has been seen at the Public Theater, WP Theater, Huntington Theatre, New York Theater Workshop, the New Museum, NAATCO, Clubbed Thumb, Playwrights Realm, Colt Coeur, Yale School of Drama, Lark Play Development Center and InterAct Theater, among others. Their work has also been performed in Russian in Moscow and in Australia. MJ is currently a resident playwright at New Dramatists and alum of Wesleyan University and Yale School of Drama. MJ curated the 2016 and 2017 seasons of Trans Theater Fest at The Brick and, along with Kit Yan, founded Trans Lab Fellowship, a program to support emerging transgender theater artists. They were recently a staff writer on seasons 1 and 2 of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina on Netflix. Find out about upcoming shows by joining MJ’s mailing list at:

Matthew Paul Olmos

A three-time Sundance Fellowship/Residency recipient. Affiliations: Center Theatre Group, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Humana Festival, New Dramatists, INTAR, New York Theatre Workshop, Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Princess Grace Awardee, La MaMa’s Ellen Stewart Award (selected by Sam Shepard). Mentored by Taylor Mac & Ruth Maleczech; Kilroys nominator.

Ariel Stess

Ariel Stess is a Chicago based playwright and director originally from Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her plays have been produced and/or developed at Playwrights Horizons, The Bushwick Starr, New Georges, Clubbed Thumb, Mabou Mines, and The Playwrights’ Center. She is a 2018-21 Core Writer of the Playwrights’ Center, a member of New Dramatists, and a New Georges Affiliated Artist. Her plays include Tranquil, Kara & Emma & Barbara & Miranda, The World My Mama Raised (Clubbed Thumb), Heartbreak (The Bushwick Starr, co-produced by New Georges, Time Out NY Critics’ Pick), and I’m Pretty Fucked Up (Clubbed Thumb, Five Stars, Time Out NY). Ariel received her BA from Bard College and her MFA from Brooklyn College where she studied under Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney. Her writing has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail and Culturebot. She has taught at NYU, Brooklyn College, BMCC, and SUNY Purchase. She teaches playwriting and screenwriting in the Radio/TV/Film Department at Northwestern University.

Aurin Squire

Aurin Squire is an award-winning playwright, reporter, and multimedia artist. In the 2018-2019 season, Squire had six productions in Chicago, North Carolina, Seattle, Dallas, and Miami, including world premieres of Fire Season and Confessions of a Cocaine Cowboy (which he co-authored with documentary filmmaker Billy Corben). His political satire Obama-ology was workshopped at the Juilliard New Play Festival before becoming a sold-out hit at Finborough Theatre in London. In TV, Squire has been a writer for the CBS political satire BrainDead, and the NBC family drama This is Us. He is a producer/writer for the CBS show The Good Fight as well as the supernatural drama Evil. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School, New School University, and Northwestern University.

Melisa Tien

Melisa Tien is a playwright, lyricist, librettist, and producer.  She is the author of the plays Best Life, The Boyd Show, Yellow Card Red Card, and Familium Vulgare, co-author of the music-theater works Swell and Mary, and co-producer of the audio series ACTIVE LISTENING. A New Dramatists resident playwright, Melisa is a recipient of a grant from the NYC Women’s Fund for Media, Music, and Theatre, a commissionee of the Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan Project, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Playwriting/Screenwriting. She teaches experimental theatrical writing at Sarah Lawrence College. BA, UCLA; MFA, Columbia University.

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