We’re thrilled to announce the next Playwrights Unit! Our commitment to new works and living writers continues in the 2017/2018 Season.

The five Chicago-based playwrights newly named to the Playwrights Unit, a year-long residency in partnership with Chicago Dramatists, include Sam Collier, finalist for The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s 2017 National Playwright Conference for her play, Daisy Violet the Bitch Beast King; Ricardo Gamboa, recipient of the MacArthur International Connections Award and Joyce Award; Isaac Gomez, the 2017 artistic curator for the Chicago Park District’s Theater on the Lake; Kristin Idaszak, recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award for her play Second Skin; and Nigel O’Hearn, whose work has been presented as part of the Chicago Fringe Festival, International Ibsen Festival and more. The Playwrights Unit meets bi-monthly to discuss their plays-in-progress with the Goodman’s artistic team. The residency culminates in a staged reading of each new play in summer 2018.


collier.headshot2Sam Collier is a playwright, poet, and theater artist. Her play Daisy Violet the Bitch Beast King was a finalist for the O’Neill Theater Center’s 2017 National Playwright Conference. Other plays include Silo TreeSuit of Leavesthing with feathers, and Quiet, Witches, which was produced in 2015 by the Berlin-Brandenberg International High School in Germany. Her work has also been developed by the Chicago Theatre Marathon, PTP/NYC, The Make Ready, Horse & Cart, Theater Nyx, New Ground Theatre, the UNESCO Cities’ Play Festival, and the AWOI Little Festival of Iowa Legends. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Iron HorseMortarLiminal Stories MagazinePrompt PressGuernica, and Pure Francis. She has taught writing with Cornell College, Young Playwrights’ Theater, Imagination Stage, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Combined Efforts Theater, and The University of Iowa. She has held fellowships and residencies with the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the National Theatre Institute, and the Folger Shakespeare Library. Sam is a 2017-18 writing fellow with the National Writers Series in Traverse City, and she holds an MFA in playwriting from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop.


Ricardo Gamboa HSRicardo Gamboa an award-winning artist, activist, and academic working in his native Chicago and New York City. In New York City he is an alum of the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics’ EmergeNYC program, a member of the NY Neo-Futurists, and a Critical Collaborations Fellow at New York University. In Chicago he is a member of Free Street Theater and the Southside Ignoramus Quartet, a founding adult partner of the Young Fugitives, and the creator and host of the live news show and podcast The Hoodoisie. He is a recipient of a MacArthur International Connections Award and Joyce Award, among others. His current projects include the New York Times-recommended web series Brujos and the play Meet Juan(ito) Doe. He has authored the plays The Real Life Adventures of Jimmy de las Rosas and the La Elotera trilogy. He is currently pursuing his doctorate degree at New York University’s renowned American studies program. He has worked with over 5,000 young people in the United States and Latin America.


Isaac-Gomez-Headshot-1Isaac Gomez is a Chicago-based playwright, dramaturg and educator, originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. His plays include La Ruta (developed at Primary Stages, Steppenwolf Theater Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, and Pivot Arts); Wally World (Sideshow Theater Company commission); PerKup Elkhorn (developed at Northlight Theatre Company and Chicago Dramatists); The Way She Spoke: A docu-mythologia (Greenhouse Theater Center); The Displaced (Haven Theatre); Throwaway Kids (Cunningham Commission for Youth Theatre — The Theatre School at DePaul University); The Alchemist (Actors Theatre of Louisville acting apprentice new play commission). Other companies he’s worked with include Victory Gardens Theater, American Theater Company, Teatro Vista, Definition Theater Company, Jackalope Theatre, Broken Nose Theater, Stage Left, and Something Marvelous. As dramaturg he has worked with Victory Gardens Theater, Goodman Theatre, Teatro Vista, Oracle Productions, Strange Bedfellows, and Sideshow Theater Company. He is a recipient of the Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award at Primary Stages, the co-creative director at the Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artists in Chicago where he runs and is a participant of El Semillero: ALTA Chicago’s Latino Playwrights Circle, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, an artistic associate with Victory Gardens Theater, an ensemble member with Teatro Vista, an artistic associate with Pivot Arts, the artistic curator for Theater on the Lake 2017/2018, a steering committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons (LTC) and an artistic community member at The Hypocrites. He is a professional lecturer at The Theatre School at DePaul University.


Kristin Idaszak HSKristin Idaszak is a Chicago-based playwright, dramaturg, and performance maker. Her play Second Skin received the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award and the Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award. Her play Fugue for Particle Acceleratorreceived its world premiere at 20% Theatre Company Chicago. Her work has also been developed around the country, including through residencies at the city of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Stage Left Theatre, and the Qualcomm Institute at Calit2 in San Diego. Kristin has co-created collaborative original work that has been seen at the WoW Festival at La Jolla Playhouse and the Blurred Borders Festival, an international showcase of contemporary dance theatre. She has been nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for New Work and and received two honorable mentions on the Kilroys List. She was the 2015 Kennedy Center Fellow at the Sundance Theatre Lab. She has received two Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellowships. Kristin is the Shank Playwright-in-Residence at the Goodman Theatre. She is currently working on a commission for Ensemble Studio Theatre/the Sloan Foundation and serving as an adjunct faculty member at DePaul University. Previously, Kristin served as associate artistic director/literary manager of Caffeine Theatre and associate artistic director of Collaboraction. MFA: University of California, San Diego. BFA: The Theatre School at DePaul University.


Nigel-OHearn-HSNigel O’Hearn’s plays have been produced in Edinburgh and New York as part of the International Fringe Festivals there, Chicago, and at various theaters in his hometown of Austin, Texas. From 2009-2012, Nigel served as the artistic director and resident playwright of Palindrome Theatre in Austin, which produced his adaptation of Accidental Death of an Anarchist (best comedy nomination, 2012-2013 Austin Critic’s Table), his adaptation/translation A Hedda Gabler (finalist, 2012 International Ibsen Festival, National Theatre of Norway), and the Equity workshop premiere of his play The Attic Space. In early 2014, Nigel moved to Chicago, where his productions include: “they”: a lamentation (Chicago Fringe Festival); Circle Machine – an adaptation of Chuck Mee’s Full Circle, co-written with Emma Stanton and Thom Pasculli (Oracle Productions); An Alliance of Brats, an adaptation of Ibsen’s The League of Youth (Illinois State University and Heartland Theatre Company, Normal, Il); and A Hedda Gabler (Red Tape Theatre), which saw its fifth production at Wichita State University this past November. Nigel received an M.A. from the University of Chicago, where he was an Arts, Sciences, and Culture Graduate Collaborative Grant recipient for co-developing a scientific study that gauged the cognitive impact of reading poetry on Alzheimer’s patients and their primary caregivers. Nigel’s most recent play, Song We Forgot to Sing: a play in several scenes and poems, is a verse dramatization of that study process, which received an Equity reading at the Logan Center in 2017.