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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

The latest  Fundraising Drive is focussed on playwrights with disabilities.
The Drive for new Development funds began on 1 Dec.  

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.


Early in 2021 I received a grant from ICWP to have a reading of a new work written by me. I was thrilled as it signalled a return to consistent writing after a hiatus of a few years.  Looking back, the return to writing had begun a few months earlier. 

In the early months of the pandemic (April,May and June 2020), online meet ups of members of ICWP were initiated by the then Board members Lisa Randall and Karin Williams to share our experiences and our writing.  These weekly meetings became an important part of my routine as they offered the possibility of connection with other writers and their work as well as a space for sharing our fears and anxieties. In July, inspired by fellow member Dominica Radelscu’s weekly Jams with her students, a small group of us led by Karin, showcased our written works online (with actors) with a larger audience. An excerpt of my play Pruning was part of this Voices in Isolation event. I found my confidence as a writer growing and soon after, I started “The Writer’s Table” to create a small online community of people interested in writing for performance. The timing of the grant in late December 2020 was perfect as I was deeply engaged with writing and the writing process. 

The turbulence of the past year and a deadly second wave from April to June in India caused theatre venues to close indefinitely.   This uncertainty caused productions that were in rehearsal to postpone their shows.  Fewer spaces were available to do exploratory work. My attempts to work my writing with actors on the floor were stymied, affecting my own motivation to continue the writing. The solitary journey that is part of a writer’s experience felt isolating.  The emails from Lisa, Sharon and Margaret helped me stay the course and complete the first draft.  Eventually, I was able to work with actors in late November and return to rewrite some parts in December.   I was fortunate to find collaborators amongst actors, sound recordists and friends in those final weeks. The staged reading of Driving with Dog took place at the Bangalore International Centre on December 29, 2021.  I was thrilled to finally present the play to a live audience of around 45 people.

The grant helped me pay for the rehearsal space and venue costs (which were subsidized by BIC), the actors, sound recordist/operator and media art (poster and other printing costs).  In the final weeks, a writing space was generously offered by friends running a legal office. The support of the ICWP grant  allowed me to take risks and make artistic choices that I would not have made otherwise.  As a play development exercise, the  rehearsed reading allowed me the necessary distance from my own work.  This helped to evaluate the choices I had made as a writer.  The feedback from spectators received during the post reading discussion along with my assessment has given me greater clarity about the work required in order to take this play into its next phase. 

Thank you ICWP!

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


The latest  Fundraising Drive is focussed on playwrights with disabilities.
The Drive for new Development funds began on 1 Dec.  

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!

Help another playwright
The Drive for new Development funds began on 1 Dec.  

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

The latest  Fundraising Drive is focussed on playwrights with disabilities.
The Drive for new Development funds began on 1 Dec.  

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


Help another playwright
The Drive for new Development funds began on 1 Dec.  

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.


Development of a new play
Rooted In Roux An Audio Solo Play OpenED At Toronto Digital fringe.

The Audio Solo Play opened at the Toronto Digital Fringe Online! Rooted In Roux is is a story that connects food, culture, identity, spirituality and ancestral lineage.

Watch an interview with Mia about the writing of this play

Listen to a short excerpt  here

Help another playwright
The Drive for new Development funds began on 1 Dec.  

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. 


It 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 .

Help another playwright
The Drive for new Development funds began on 1 Dec.  

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.

Help another playwright
The Drive for new Development funds began on 1 Dec.  

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 endeavours to elevate women's voices in playwriting. 

The latest  Fundraising Drive is focussed on playwrights with disabilities and the differently abled.
The Drive for new Development funds began on 1 Dec. 2021 

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