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The Confluence Regional Writers Project was created in 2018 to further foster a culture of playwriting in the Midwest by supporting emerging writers in Missouri and Illinois with a fellowship and weekend-long celebration of new works at the Confluence New Play Festival each Spring. Thirteen new plays have been commissioned under Confluence, five of which have gone on to receive full productions throughout the U.S. 


Each year the Festival awards three residencies to emerging playwrights from Missouri or Illinois. The writers begin a seven-month-long program in August, with dedicated time and space to write together under the leadership of a program director and workshops from guest artists and industry professionals. The program concludes with staged readings of the new work. Meet the 2023 Fellows below:

Maiya A. Corral (Chicago, IL)

Charlie Meyers (St. Louis, MO)

Cameron Noel (Carbondale, IL)



The only new play event dedicated solely to Midwest writers. Confluence aims to foster a diverse group of playwrights and theater makers and propel these new works to national and international stages. Hosted at the Festival offices in Grand Center, this is the ultimate meeting place for artists, audiences and playwrights to discuss and witness the new faces of American Theater.

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Application Process (Now Closed)

Each year, three residencies are be awarded to emerging playwrights. Only current residents of Missouri and Illinois are eligible. Diversity is one of the Festival’s leading values regarding race, gender identification, age, and relative physical ability. 

As part of the program, Cohort members will:

  • Participate in a one-weekend retreat near St. Louis, if deemed safe and desirable.
  • Meet monthly, beginning September 2023 through April 2024, either via teleconference or in person for daylong writing sessions, workshops, and mentorship activities.
  • Participate in a knowledge-sharing opportunity for students in our youth program during one masterclass workshop in Fall 2023.
  • Complete a full-length play for a public reading in April of 2024 during the Confluence New Play Festival. Playwrights must be available for at least five days during that time for rehearsal and performance of their work. 
  • Receive a $3,000 stipend.

The Playwrights

Nancy Bell (Program Director) is the author of six Shakespeare in the Streets adaptations, two of which received St. Louis Theatre Circle Awards for Outstanding New Play. She has also written two plays for children inspired by Shakespeare for the Shakespeare Festival Education Program and for the St. Louis Symphony. Nancy was also recognized in 2017 with the St. Louis Visionary Award.  She is the Program Director of Theatre at Saint Louis University.

Deanna Jent (2022 Program Director) is a Professor of Theatre at Fontbonne University. Her play Falling won the Kevin Kline award for Best New Play of 2011 and was nominated for a Drama Desk Best Play award following its Off-Broadway run in 2012. Falling is published by Dramatists Play Service and continues to be produced nationally and internationally. Her adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces have been performed at theatres around the country. Other plays include Bosnian/American: The Dance For Life, Imaginary Jesus and Six. Sisters. She was the artistic director of Mustard Seed Theatre company from 2007-2019, and has directed for the Illinois Shakespeare Festival, New Jewish Theatre, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis Touring Company, The Orange Girls and ACT Inc. She was named “Best Director of a Musical by the St. Louis Theatre Circle for Mustard Seed Theatre’s productions of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 and Godspell. She has a BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University and a PhD from Northwestern University.


Contact, Adam Flores at

The inaugural Confluence Regional Writers Project was generously funded by Sondra & Dorsey Ellis.