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Development Fund Grantees 2020 - Reports
How your donations helped. 

ICWP is pleased to share the news of how the Grants we awarded in 2021 helped our awardees.  We are  proud to support our talented and change-making artists whose important stories are part of our past, present and future. 

Wuraoluwa Ayodele - Nigeria

Wuraoluwa Ayodele is a Lawyer, Women Rights Activist and playwright. She has five years of experience in the non-profit and community development sector, skilled in Civic Engagement and law practice. She uses her playwriting to engage local communities on Gender equality, gender justice, ending racism and protecting women and girls from violence.


The grant from ICWP helped to facilitate the Fearless event, which is a storytelling(play reading) event for women survivors of sexual and domestic violence. Below is an update on how this event went including pictures, a newspaper report link and a link to the video highlights of the event.

During this time, about 80 women survivors of violence have been provided psychosocial support following the play reading session. 

This could not have been possible without the support from ICWP and I am grateful for this.

After the video and photo images below, there is a link to an extensive newspaper report.

Group picture of all attendees to the play reading event.

Wuraoluwa Ayodele speaking on being Fearless after the playreading for women

Playreading by Ilupeju Ayokunnumi

Nigerian Tribune article:  Sexual And Domestic Violence: Ibadan Women’s Advocates Speak

Eve Crusto - USA

Eve Crusto is a Creole playwright, screenwriter, and mother on a mission to bring her ancestral stories about family, identity, belonging, and home to life. She holds a BA in African American Studies from Mount Holyoke College, a Louisiana Teacher Certification through Teach For America, and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.


I received the International Centre for Women Playwrights’ Development Grant to support a virtual reading of my play, 2. I used the grant to pay professional actors, purchase a temporary Zoom account with webinar functions, and purchase a temporary Vimeo account to share the video recording of the performance after the production. The reading took place on Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 6:00pm PST. I invited theatre professionals I knew from New York City and Los Angeles, as well as my family and friends. Below is what the invitation looked like.

A lot of positive outcomes occurred as a result of the reading supported by this grant.

  • created a new draft of this play leading up to the reading and I am currently working on another draft using the invaluable feedback I received from my actors and the audience. 
  • received interest in the play from theatres around the country 
  • received representation from a theatre agent who is now assisting me in taking next steps with getting the play fully produced. 
  • successfully returned to directing, which I hadn’t done in a long time – 
  • got my first professionally paid job as a writer on a television show, which has always been an extension of my playwriting dream. 
  • gave my family and friends a rare opportunity to connect with my work – since the presentation was virtual, everyone who had always


Adrienne Dawes - USA

Adrienne Dawes is an Afro-Latina playwright, producer, and teaching artist originally from Austin, TX. 


Funding supported a 4-day virtual workshop of my new play “DUPE” which culminated in a public sharing on May 16, 2021 at 2:30pm CT. 

We spent the first day reading through the draft of the play and I got some feedback from the cast/team; we had a day of devising; and then 1 day of rehearsal before a public share. Initially I thought our share would be invite-only but as we kept rehearsing, I got more motivated to share the work with a larger audience, so I posted the link on social media and invited a slew of friends/collabs that write fiction, work in film, and/or design for projection (all elements I hope to play with in the future life of the play onstage). I got some incredible feedback to help with the next rewrite and identified a new director to collaborate with for a future workshop of the piece.

Below is a copy of the show “pre-show program”. 
Thank you so much for your support!

Hortense Gerardo - USA

Dr. Hortense Gerardo is a playwright, filmmaker, and anthropologist, and serves as the Director of the Anthropology, Performance, and Technology (APT) program at the University of California, San Diego. 


Hortense attributes her many successes and advances in her career during 2021 to the ICWP Developments Grant and that it had a positive and enduring effect on her career. 

In summary 

  • her first commission for a new, full-length play that will premiere on March 18, 2022 
  • enabled an online production of her 10-minute comic play, This Is Not Noboru
  • the AAPC Playfest 4.0 provided an opportunity for me to edit and design The Asian American Playwright Collective: An Anthology of New Plays Vol 4. 
  • an invitation from Starlight Square Theatre to fully produce three public performances of the Playfest at their beautiful, outdoor theatre.
  • preparing a roundtable presentation with ICWP Member Amanda Andrei, on the convergence of Playwriting and Anthropological Methodology to be presented at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropology Association. 
  • sixteen productions of plays 
  • received an Artist Fellowship in Dramatic Writing from the Mass Cultural Council

Download Hortense's Full report HERE


TWITTER:  @hfgerardo

Opening Night of the PlayFest! at Starlight Square

Tavi Juárez - USA

Tavi ("tay-vee") Juárez is an award-winning queer Chicana playwright and performer based in New York City.

She was raised in the Deep South and attended the Alabama School of Fine Arts specializing in Theatre studies. After high school, she graduated summa cum laude as a McNair Scholar with a B.F.A. in Theatre from the University of Montevallo. Following graduation, she moved to New York City to attend the Circle in the Square Theatre School and begin her professional career.


  • 3-Week Playwriting Class at Manhattan Repertory Theatre
  • 5-Week Playwriting Class at Einhorn School of Performing Arts Primary Stages


  • KEN WOLF, Artistic Director, Manhattan Repertory Theatre

  • LIA ROMEO, Associate Artistic Director, Project Y Theatre Company


Mia Raye Smith - USA

Mia is an international award-winning writer and solo performer. Mia was born in Detroit, Michigan, with an African American, Creole and Acadian heritage from Louisiana. She spent her teenage years growing up in Queens, NY. It was there that she developed her characters from multicultural backgrounds. Mia studied acting at William Esper Studio.


Rahmat Zakari-Ismail - Nigeria

My name is Rahmat Zakari-Ismail. I was born in August, 1976. I am a mother of four and a graduate of Mass Communication with special interest in Writing.

I am an indigene of Benue State, North Central, Nigeria.

I am member of the Abuja Writers" Forum; a group of Nigerian creative minds that meet on weekly basis to critique works written by members. During one of our monthly Writers challenge, my short play "I thought, I know her" came second. 


Is a great pleasure sharing this feeling with you all. Having received so much love and encouragement that birthed the reading of my play "Divine gift" I like to say kudos to the entire ICWP family. I particularly want to appreciate Mag, Tavi, Karin and especially Sharon Wallace. Thank you all so much ma'am(s). I am proud to have been mentored by you all. Thank you, ICWP for considering me worthy of the grant. Thank you for believing in me and moulding me for the better. Thank you.
The reading as well as the interactive session was recorded.

Here is the YouTube link .

Melisa Tien - USA

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.


As a result of the grant, I was able to participate in a playwriting retreat at the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences in Rabun Gap, Georgia in May 2021. The Hambidge Center charges a fee for their residencies, and through the ICWP grant, I was able to stay for two full weeks. 

During that time, I worked on rewrites of my play Best Life.  The rewrites were in direct response to the murder in May 2020 of George Floyd, and the social upheaval that followed.  A production of the play occurred in October 2021 at a venue called JACK in Brooklyn, NY.  The production incorporated all the changes I made while I was in residence at the Hambidge Center.  While I was at the residency, I got to know a number of the other artists who were there. 

Though I didn't ultimately collaborate with them on theater-related projects, I did collaborate with one of the residents, a musician, on a new song for which I wrote the lyrics, while she composed the music.  It's hard to stress how important it was for me to have the time and mental space to complete the changes I wanted to make to the play. 

Best Life - 11 performances at JACK, OCTOBER 21 - NOVEMBER 6
Location: 20 Putnam Ave, Brooklyn

Here's a link to a review of the October 2021 production.

Mayura Baweja - India

Mayura Baweja is a performer, director and writer engaged in theatre and film making for over two decades. Based in Bangalore, India, since 2015, she has lived and worked in the US, Singapore and other parts of India. She holds a Masters in Theatre Studies from the National University of Singapore.

Experimental, collaborative, devised theatre work with inspiring women directors nudged her into writing for performance. She wrote and performed her first play, Eight Days, at The Substation’s Chiaroscuro Festival (2007) in Singapore. A solo performance, it explores the relationship between a young girl and her grandmother within the greater political events of The Partition. Over the same year, she wrote and directed The Picnic, which was shortlisted for the Short and Sweet Festival(2007) in Singapore.

A staged reading of her full length play Paper Thin, supported by TheatreWorks Writers Lab, took place in July 2015 in Singapore. An excerpt from a more recent play, Pruning, was part of the offerings in Voices from Isolation, hosted by ICWP in July, 2020. Committed to the inclusion of multiple and alternative voices in the performance space, she feels strongly about issues relating to gender and the portrayal of women.

She has taught theatre and performance to undergraduate and graduate students at the National University of Singapore, Azim Premji University, Bangalore and Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore.

Her favourite performances include Trojan Women (Warwick Arts Centre) Blood Wedding (Provincetown Playhouse, NYU), Little Pitfall and Journey Theatre (Immigrants Theatre Project, NY) Eight Days (The Substation, Singapore), Algorithms (Indian Ensemble, Bangalore) and Chippi the Chipkali ( AHA Rangashankara). Her directorial work includes Bayen, Rehearsed Readings by Theatrekeeling (RS Connect, 2020) Tara (Drama Centre Blackbox, National Library, Singapore, 2015), The Picnic (Short and Sweet, Singapore, 2007) and Hello (Sprouts Theatre, 2006).

Driven by her own experience of writing in isolation during the pandemic she started The Writers’ Table, an online space for writing for performance, a nurturing community space for new writers.

Mayura recently founded Theatrekeeling to embark on more theatrical adventures.

We are proud to support our members in their playwriting development and committed to equity and inclusion and forefronting the talents of our Black Indigenous and People of Colour membership.

Join us in cheering each other on in our endeavors to elevate women's voices in playwriting. 

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The International Centre for Women Playwrights is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting women playwrights around the world.    

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