2021 Symposium: Everyone's a Playwright

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Schedule Keynote

AATE's Everyone's A Playwright Symposium

February 6 & 7, 2021




Saturday, February 6th, 12-1pm (EST)                                          

CALEEN SINNETTE JENNINGS is an actor, director, playwright, and a founding member of The Welders, a D.C. Playwrights’ Collective. Dramatic Publishing Company has published eight of her plays, and her work has appeared in seven play anthologies. Her most recent commissions are from Arena Stage to write a play about RBG, South Bend Civic Theatre, Liquid Theatre,  1st Stage and two from Signature Theatre, Virginia.  Arena Stage commissioned her to write for their inaugural Covid-driven project entitled, May 22, 2020 and for their project entitled, The 51st State.  Jennings was also commissioned by Roundhouse Theatre to write the final episode of their Covid-driven series Homebound. In 2017, after playing at the Kennedy Center Family Theatre, her adaptation of Darius & Twig, did a Kennedy Center national tour. From 2015-2020, her Queens Girl Trilogy plays have been commissioned and produced by Theatre J, Mosaic Theatre, and Everyman Theatre. Caleen has received five nominations for outstanding new play from the Helen Hayes Awards and play writing awards from the Kennedy Center and The Actor’s Theatre of Louisville. She is a Professor of Theatre, Emerita at American University in Washington, D.C. where she taught for 31 years. She received A.U.’s Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award in 2003 and A.U.’s inaugural award for Excellence in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in 2018. She currently is a Senior Consultant to the Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, where she also has been a faculty member of the Teaching Shakespeare Institute since 1994. She was also Project Manager on a 2016 NEH grant to the Folger entitled Crosstalk: D.C. Reflects on Identity and Difference. Jennings graduated from Bennington College with a B.A. in Drama, and she received her M.F.A. in Acting from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.   


Sunday, February 7th, 12-12:45 pm (EST)

David Henry Hwang’s work includes the plays M. Butterfly, Chinglish, Yellow Face, Golden Child, The Dance and the Railroad, and FOB, as well as the Broadway musicals Aida (co-author), Flower Drum Song (2002 revival) and Disney’s Tarzan. Hwang is a Tony Award winner and three-time nominee, a three-time OBIE Award winner, and a three-time Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also the most-produced living American opera librettist, whose works have been honored with two Grammy Awards. He co-wrote the Gold Record “Solo” with the late pop icon Prince, and was a Writer/Consulting Producer for the Golden Globe-winning television series The Affair. Hwang serves as Head of Playwriting at Columbia University and as Co-Chair of the American Theatre Wing. His newest work, Soft Power, written with composer Jeanine Tesori, premiered at Los Angeles’ Ahmanson Theatre and New York’s Public Theater. It received eleven Drama Desk nominations, four Outer Critics Honors, a Grammy nomination, and was a Finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize.


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