Meet the 2021 Playwriting Festival Competition Winners!

Lindsey Brown is a New Zealand high school teacher of both English and Drama. She has a passion for the performing arts, as a writer,performer, teacher and student,including obtaining a Masters of Scriptwriting from Auckland University of Technology.Lindsey has had pieces performed in London, New York,Hollywood, Florida, Houston,Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Kentucky, Sydney, Queenstown and Auckland.In 2020 she was the recipient of the Playwrights Association of New Zealand Outstanding Achievement Award.Other successes to date include coming second in theNZ Playwrights Association One Act Play Competition 2018, being shortlisted for the NZ Plays for the Young Competition2018, and having a piece published within a collection of NZ short plays called ‘Septet’.

Kara Davidson is an actor, playwright, and teaching artist currently pursuing her MFA in Writing for Stage and Screen at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Kara is passionate about creating poignant narratives for the stage that illuminate something universal about being a human being in this world. She is a company member with The House Theatre of Chicago and has also worked with Manual Cinema, Lookingglass Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, ABLE Ensemble, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Nebraska Repertory Theatre, and Flatwater Shakespeare, among others. She is also a motion capture performer and her previous video game credits include Injustice 2, Mortal Kombat 11, Call of Duty: WWII, and Call of Duty: Cold War. She is a co-founder and director of a monthly virtual workshop called The Lab which aids in developing new works-in-progress by artists from all across the country (

Nicole DeSalle lives and writes in Iowa City, IA, where her play Oscar was recently produced by Iowa City Community Theater. Her one-act play Imogene was read at the 2018 Pittsburgh New Works Festival, and her short play Broken Bluebird will be performed at the 2021 New Play Development Workshop in August. Nicole has an MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University.

Scott Gibson is a Colorado native, and the author of somewhere in the vicinity of seventy plays, a few of which have been published, a few more have been produced, and a great many more have never seen the light of day. He was the co-recipient of the Steven Dietz Original Playwriting Award for his full-length play “Someone Else’s Life” in 2006, and his play “Cross Words” was the winner of both Chameleon Circle Theatre’s Original Play Competition in St. Paul, MN and winner of Vintage Theatre’s Mystery/Thriller Playwriting Competition in Denver, CO. His short piece, “The Restaurant Play” is slated to be streamed at Road Theatre in North Hollywood this coming August. He is honored to be a part of this year’s Central PA Theater & Dance Fest.

James Holder’s plays have been recognized by Heartland Theatre Festival, Centre Stage New Play Festival, Ohio State University New Play Contest, Labute New Theatre Festival, Crafton Hills New Works Festival, Ten for Tenn Play Competition, Little Theatre of Alexandria National Playwriting Competition, Cone Man Running Productions, and The Landing Theatre New American Voices. His acting credits include Roundabout Theatre, Syracuse Stage, Virginia Stage Company, The Producer’s Club, Woodruff Arts Center and Orlando Fringe Festival. He served as an instructor of Scriptwriting, Theatre History, and English for eight years at Georgia College & State University. He is the Music Chair for Deep Roots Festival, an Executive Board member of the ME Film Fest, and a member of the Dramatist Guild of America. James and his wife, Iona Sun Holder, are owners of Blackbird Coffee and Birdhouse Theatre.

Eric Thomas is an award-winning actor and playwright local to Cincinnati, Ohio.  His short plays have been selected for performance across the US and in London. His play “A Better Place” won the Best on Paper award from Theatre Southwest in Houston, TX, and the Audience Favorite award at the ShowOff! Festival in San Juan Capistrano, CA. His one-act “The Stands” won the Scribe Playwriting Competition in 2020. Eric is grateful to the actors and directors who commit to his work, always making it better on the stage than it is on the page. 

Julie Zaffarano is a Philadelphia playwright who believes everyone’s life is a myriad of stories. Upcoming: Above the Fold, readings (Artemisia Theatre and Allens Lane Theatre); Kentucky Lemonade (Everybody’s Theatre Company). Recent: Celebration Bread (Philadelphia Women’s Theatre Festival), Destiny is a Careless (Juniper Productions); The PlayMakers (Rover Dramawerks and What If? Productions); Naughty Marietta Revised (RVCO); Murder at the Sin City Rest Home (Everybody’s Theatre Company). Maryland Ensemble Theatre; PlayPenn; Philadelphia Dramatists Center; Cloverdale Playhouse; ReVamp Collective; Pittsburg New Work Festival. Semi-Finalist, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. Memberships: PlayPenn Foundry, Dramatists Guild, Playwrights Center, Witherspoon Circle, Philadelphia Dramatists Center, Indiana Playwrights Center.