The Playwrights' Unit is a group of experienced, accomplished playwrights from the Cleveland area who receive creative and administrative support from Cleveland Play House. The Unit meets regularly with members of the CPH artistic staff, where they read their works-in-progress and provide each other with feedback. Many of the plays developed in the Playwrights' Unit have been produced by Cleveland Play House, other Cleveland area theatres, and across the United States. Admission into the Playwrights' Unit is by invitation.
Eric Coble was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and raised on the Navajo and Ute reservations in New Mexico and Colorado.
His play The Velocity of Autumn premieres on Broadway at the Booth Theatre in spring of 2014, starring Estelle Parsons and Stephen Spinella, directed by Molly Smith. Other scripts include Bright Ideas, The Dead Guy, My Barking Dog, A Girl’s Guide to Coffee and The Giver and have been produced Off-Broadway, in all fifty states of the U.S., and on several continents, including productions at Manhattan Class Company, The Kennedy Center, Playwrights Horizons, Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival, Denver Center Theatre Company, Arena Stage, New York and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals, Alliance Theatre, Cleveland Play House, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory, Asolo Repertory, Indiana Repertory, Coterie Theatre, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Stages Repertory, and The Contemporary American Theatre Festival.
Awards include the AATE Distinguished Play Award for Best Adaptation, an Emmy nomination, the AT&T Onstage Award, National Theatre Conference Playwriting Award, an NEA Playwright in Residence Grant, a TCG Extended Collaboration Grant, the Cleveland Arts Prize, and four Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Grants.
David Hansen is a playwright living in Cleveland Heights. Recent works include Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles, Double Heart (The Courtship of Beatrice and Benedick) which was presented at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival, and Winsor McCay's Adventures In Slumberland. Other works include And Then You Die (How I Ran a Marathon in 26.2 Years); The Vampyres; and his award-winning solo performance on stillbirth, I Hate This (a play without the baby) which he has performed in New York City, Chicago, Minneapolis, Louisville, Cleveland, Akron and Columbus, OH, and a seven-date tour of Great Britain.
David is Education Outreach Associate for Great Lakes Theater, a member of the Cleveland Play House Playwrights’ Unit and the Dramatists Guild of America. David was a 2010 Creative Workforce Fellow, a program of the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture generously funded by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.
Margaret Lynch collaborated with composer Daniel Bernard Roumain on words for the songbook Gilgamesh on the Crooked River—as part of Tri-C’s Project Gilgamesh (2010-12). With Daniel Bernard Roumain as composer, she also wrote the libretto for The Order of An Empty Place, a musical reflection for Passover. She has been a member of the Playwrights Unit of Cleveland Play House since 1996. Her plays have been presented by or at Cleveland Public Theatre, Dobama Theatre, Great Lakes Theater, Cleveland Play House, Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre, Stagedoor Manor, and 78th Street Studios. She received an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship in 2005. From 1984-2002, she served as dramaturg for Great Lakes Theater. She co-founded the Cleveland Theater Collective and serves as Executive Director of the Irish American Archives Society.
Cleveland-born Deborah Magid began her career performing musical theater, opera and art songs. Broadway credits include Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King & I (Yul Brynner) and Lerner & Loewe’s Camelot (Richard Burton). She has also spent portions of her working life as producer, director and musical director, and earned her Masters of Music degree from the University of Melbourne (AU) in 2005. Although she has only recently come to playwriting and composing, her musicals, rock and chamber operas, and short and long plays have garnered awards, grants, workshops and productions nationwide. Deborah founded SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day-CLE, a local celebration of that international holiday; has served on the Board of Directors of the International Centre for Women Playwrights; served on the Cleveland Liaison and National Media committees of Actors Equity Association before becoming a FiCore member of that union; and is a member of the Dramatists Guild. Perhaps her favorite achievement is her solo show Richard Wagner’s Entire Ring Cycle in Ten Minutes with Sock Puppets.
Michael Oatman is a Cleveland-born playwright, and the newest talent to emerge from the legendary Karamu Theater, in Cleveland, Ohio. With a style that has been described as a hybrid mixture of Langston Hughes and David Mamet, Oatman's briskly paced narrative is peppered with imaginative language that has become his hallmark. His distinctive voice firmly places him among the newest generation of emerging playwrights. Oatman earned an English Degree from Cleveland State University in 2004 and completed his MFA in Theater, from the Northeastern Ohio Master of Fine Arts Consortium (Cleveland State, Akron University, Youngstown University and Kent State) in 2008. In 2011 Oatman won the Cleveland Arts Prize. In a few years Oatman has amassed an impressive body of work and a list of productions and readings. His playwriting credits include The War Against Tupac Shakur at Karamu, The Rainy Season at The Church; Lost Prospect at the Ingenuity Festival in 2006; Not a Uterus In Sight, Oglephish and Indelible at the Factory Theater; staged readings of Indelible and In Man at Karamu Theater, and a staged reading of The Chittlin' Thief at the Stella Adler Conservatory in New York and African American Playwright Exchange in Washington D.C. He has also directed the staged reading, Hip Hop for Eva at Karamu Theater and Billy's House of Pancakes and The Way of the Dance, at Cleveland State University, as well as numerous youth productions.
Eric Schmiedl is a native of Cleveland, Ohio, and a graduate of Kent State University and the University of Hawai’i. His plays for children and adult audiences have been produced by theatres including the Denver Center Theatre Company, Cleveland Play House, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Public Theatre, the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, New Stages Theatre, the Honolulu Theatre for Youth, the Oregon Children’s Theatre, Karamu House, Great Lakes Theater Company, and BackStage Theatre in Chicago. He is currently working on two commissions for the Denver Center Theatre Company and a new original play with his wife, Nigerian storyteller Adaora Nzelibe Schmiedl, developed through PlayhouseSquare’s innovative Launch program with the generous support of Cleveland Public Theatre. This fall Eric had the great pleasure of celebrating his love of Cleveland and the Cleveland Browns with a remounting of The Kardiac Kid produced by Cleveland Public Theatre and presented at PlayhouseSquare. Eric is the recipient of a 2012 Creative Workforce Fellowship as well as an Aurand Harris Fellowship, two Edgerton Awards, and a Sloan Foundation Commission. Eric is a member of the Cleveland Play House’s Playwrights’ Unit and is on the faculty of the Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Writing program at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky.