• Donna Ibale

Cohesion is Back! And launching their signature Playwrights Fellowship for 2020/21

Cohesion Theatre Company was founded in 2014 and took up residence in Canton on East Ave in 2016. It has since then become a fixture of the #BaltimoreTheatre community, and has mounted iconic productions such as Frankenstein, La Llorona, Sally McCoy, Men on Boats, and Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play. Cohesion took a temporary hiatus last summer in 2019 after the sale of their headquarters by the United Evangelical Church.

Jess Rassp, Artistic Director since 2018, has always set her sights on continuing the hallmark initiative of the last three years in Cohesion Theatre - it's Playwrights Fellowship program. So it is with great pleasure that Rassp and Abigail Cady, Playwrights Fellowship Director, announced on Friday, March 27th their return to the Baltimore Theatre scene as Cohesion Theatre Arts, with a new mission "dedicated to cultivating artistic practice through the cross-pollination of theatrical disciplines." This speaks to Rassp's long tenure as a creator & educator with masks, movement, puppetry, painting, sculpture, and more; As well as Cady's lifelong passion as a new play & production dramaturg.

Below are the details of the Playwrights Fellowship, and how to apply:


Overview: Cohesion Theatre Company is committed to local playwrights and their work and presents the Playwrights Fellowship program to support the development of new full-length plays by local playwrights for local audiences. The Fellowship is made up of two to three playwrights, a dramaturg, and two to three directors connected with each playwright for the duration of the Fellowship. The process begins with open applications, then continues with monthly meetings of the playwright, director, and dramaturg, semi-monthly meetings of the entire Fellowship Cohort and Cohesion staff, Midway table read workshops with actors in the winter of 2020/21, and finally Staged Readings in the summer of 2021. From start to finish, the process will flex to serve the needs of the playwrights as their scripts develop over the year. Directors will assemble casts for readings and the Fellowship Coordinator schedules meetings and manages communications. 

Fellowship Timeline: April 1-May 1 2020: Applications open. Applicants will be contacted by the end of May 2020. June 1, 2020: Fellowship members announced. Early June, 2020: Meetings begin December 2020/January 2021: Midway Workshops

June/July 2021: Final Staged Readings The specific dates of workshops readings will be determined by the playwright, director, and dramaturg. This course sets manageable deadlines for the playwright so that multiple drafts can be developed throughout the year. 

Midway Workshops will be closed to the public and take place over the course of two days. 

Staged Readings will have two performances and are preceded by six rehearsals over two weeks with the director and actors. Performances are accompanied by an audience conversation.

To Apply:

Playwrights, please send all materials in one PDF file to Abigail Cady at Abigail@cohesiontheatre.org no later than May 1, 2020:

  • A description document for your proposed play. The Fellowship is designed to take a play from an idea to a finished script. Completed scripts will not be considered.

  • A Cover Letter describing:

  • Your background (First-time playwrights welcome!)

  • How you work in a collaborative environment

  • How the Fellowship would fulfill your goals

  • Resume 

  • Writing Sample. Give us a taste of your writing style.

  • 10 minutes of a theatrical script. (Short play or excerpted from a longer work)


  • 5 pages of other writing (poetry, fiction, etc.)

Applicants may be contacted for additional video or phone interviews before members are announced. Interested directors should email Jess@cohestiontheatre.org with a brief cover letter describing your interest in the Fellowship and your resume. Past Fellowship Projects and Members:


where our dead are buried by David J. Hills, directed by Kat Kaplan

By Sea by Laura Fuentes, directed by Dani Turner


Infertile Ground by Aladrian Crowder Wetzel, directed by Katie Hileman

Safe Space by R. Eric Thomas, directed by Ben Kleymeyer


Porn: A Love Story by Jen Diamond, directed by Caitlin Carbone

Here Be Dragons by Utkarsh Rajawat, directed by Terrance Fleming

“The Fellowship helped solidify my voice as a writer. The support I received from the team encouraged me to push my exploration of the intersections of genre and reminded me of the importance of queer, rural stories and their place in the larger cultural narrative.”

  • David J. Hills, 2019 Playwright

The Playwrights Fellowship has given me the opportunity to push myself artistically, and I’ve really appreciated having the time and support to work on a piece that felt more ambitious in scope than what I would typically write. As someone who writes mostly collaboratively, and mostly on tight deadlines, it was great to have such a long trajectory to work through the writing process in a more rigorous way. Regular meetings with the dramaturg and director provided me with a first-line audience as I wrote each scene and act, and further input on how effectively the characters and themes were being developed. As someone who already juggles parenting and a full-time job, I can honestly say that I could never have written this piece without the support and structure provided by the Playwrights Fellowship.

  • Laura Fuentes, 2019 Playwright

The way that Cohesion’s Playwriting Fellowship is structured enabled Safe Space to explode out of my brain and off the page. The iterative process helped me to experiment with new ideas, challenged me to push my writing further, and, I think, resulted in a really exciting, funny, politically-charged play about Baltimore and America.”

  • R. Eric Thomas, 2018 Playwright

I applied to the Playwrights Fellowship because I had a unique voice that I wanted to share with the world. As an actor, I was used to telling someone else’s story and I was ready to tell my own. I started the process with a different script idea and it morphed and changed into something that I wasn’t expecting. My original story idea was big and bold, but it lacked heart. The Playwright’s Fellowship helped me find the story I was meant to tell.”

  • Aladrian C. Wetzel, 2018 Playwright

"Working with Cohesion has been an incredibly fulfilling thing. Having the opportunity to work with these wonderful artists and build relationships within the theatre community of Baltimore is really important to me." - 

  • Jen Diamond, 2017 Playwright

"There’s so many things I’m going to be adding and cutting that I figured out solely because of Cohesion’s production of it.

  • Utkarsh Rajawat, 2017 Playwright

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Donna Ibale, Executive Director


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