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IAMA New Works Festival – Playwright Bios

5th annual New Works
Festival Playwright Bios


Kemiyondo Coutinho (Cinderellas of America) is a multi-hyphenated writer, director and actor hailing from Uganda but who self identifies as an African nomad. Her theatrical debut, Jabulile!, offered a heartfelt portrayal of Swazi women and transcended borders, captivating audiences worldwide in Swaziland, South Africa, Uganda, Canada, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Portland. Kemiyondo’s poignant play, Kawuna…you’re it, shed light on the lives of HIV-positive women in Uganda, earning recognition with a reading in New York by Hybrid Theater Works. It was further celebrated at the National Arts Festival in South Africa and headlined the 2015 Gates Foundation World AIDS Day Celebration. Notably, Kemiyondo is a recipient of Forbes Africa’s esteemed 30 Under 30 award, and remains grounded in her commitment to storytelling that bridges hard-hitting themes with witty comedic commentary, all aimed at making audiences feel seen. She is also the inaugural recipient of John Singleton’s Filmmaker’s Fellowship, Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Filmmaking Fellowship, and the proud recipient of the Shadow & Act Rising Star Award. Furthermore, she has earned a place among OKAYAfrica’s 100 Women of Africa To Watch. Currently, Kemiyondo contributes her creative talents as a writer and co-executive producer on Season 3 of Starz’s acclaimed series, P-Valley.

Jan Rosenberg (Amputations) is a queer, non-binary neurodivergent writer. Their play Pluck was selected for the 2023 National Playwright Conference. Their plays have been finalists for The O’Neill, the Princess Grace Award, Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship, Lanford Wilson New Play Festival, and the Theatre503 World Playwriting Award. They have collaborated with the LAByrinth Theater Company, Seattle Rep, The Cherry Lane, The Lark, The Last Frontier Conference, Possibilities Theater Company, Vertigo Theater, Wide Eyed Productions, and countless others. They were the playwright in residence at Stella Adler Studio and The Farm Theater. They are a member of the Playwright/Directors Unit at The Actors Studio. Their short film Guts is forthcoming and features Kate Burton (and is directed by IAMA’s own Margaux Susi). Their audio play We Came All This Way is available wherever you listen to podcasts (episode 2 of The Lovely Dark).

June Carryl’s (The Wronged Party) other plays include Blue (Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Rogue Machine, developed at Echo Theatre’s Playwrights Lab); Colossus (Residency, 2023 Ojai Playwrights Conference; semi-finalist, O’Neill Playwrights Conference), N *GGA B*TCH (Residency, Nancy Manocherian’s the cell theatre, developed at Vagrancy Theater’s Blossoming Project); Girl Blue (CTG L.A. Writers Workshop), Florence and Normandie (Golden Tongues – Diversifying the Classics Initiative – UCLA and Playwrights Arena); The Good Minister Harare (Playwrights Arena Summer Series, ADAA Saroyan/Paul Award), and The Life and Death of  (Vagrancy Theatre). Part One of her collaboration with composer Jason Barabba about Aunt Jemima premiered as part of Overtone Industries inaugural Original Vision opera development series. Favorite theater roles include Fraulein Schneider, Cabaret (Celebration Theatre) and Gerty Fail, Failure: A Love Story (Coeurage Theatre). TV and film include Mindhunter, Helstrom and Y: The Last Man, and Kemba.

Kenneth Lin (About Me) is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose plays Exclusion, Kleptocracy, Life on Paper, Warrior Class, Intelligence-Slave, Fallow, Po Boy Tango and Said Saïd have garnered widespread acclaim. His awards and honors include the Princess Grace Award, Kendeda Graduate Playwriting Competition, L. Arnold Weissberger Award, and the TCG Edgerton New Play Prize. He has written and produced several film and television projects and was nominated for an Emmy for his work on House of Cards. Education: Yale School of Drama, US Fulbright Fellowship. Upcoming: Farewell My Concubine with composer Jason Robert Brown. Kenneth currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and sons.

Ben Lear (The Truth Game) is an award-winning filmmaker and composer. He produced and directed They Call Us Monsters (2017), a feature documentary about juveniles facing life sentences, which premiered on PBS Independent Lens and won the audience award for its 2016-2017 season. His short film, Bad for the Boats (2017), premiered at the Academy Award-qualifying Palm Springs International Shortfest and continued to play in festivals around the country. He is currently in development on a number of documentary and fiction film projects, including his first narrative feature, The Gold Coat, with Big Beach Films. Previously, Lear wrote and performed in Lillian: A Folk Opera (2010), which premiered at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC and led to performances at TED and the UN. His original song, “Imaginary Friends,” made the Academy Award shortlist for Best Original Song in 2011. The Truth Game is his first play.

Abigail Miller (Trauma Play) lives in Los Angeles and has spent the last decades acting in shows such as Justified, Mad Men and The Sinner. Most recently, she starred in the Apple TV series Home Before Dark and the feature film Jess Plus None. In 2023, she sold her first feature, Alma & The Wolf, with Michael Patrick Jann attached to direct. Her plays St. Mary Star of the Sea was workshopped at the Whitefire Theatre in May of 2023. She is currently pitching a TV series based on the novel “Shiner” by Amy Jo Burns. Abigail enjoys hiking and (for the time being) picketing and then grabbing a cup of coffee with friends. #unionstrong #sagaftrastrike #wgastrike