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The Confluence Regional Writers Project was developed in 2018. Our goal is to further foster a regional culture of playwriting by providing support and inspiration to emerging playwrights in St. Louis and its radiating regions through a Playwriting Fellowship, an Emerging Playwrights Cohort, and new plays commissioned and developed by the Festival.

This program is specifically designed to give playwrights a chance to get feedback, collaboration, public readings of their new work and a dedicated space to develop their skills with others in the field. Diversity is one of our leading values, in terms of race, gender identification, age, and relative physical ability.

The third Confluence New Play Festival is scheduled for April 2023. 

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2022 Cohort (Applications are now closed)

The Festival will award three residencies to emerging playwrights who are current residents of Missouri or Illinois for the fourth annual Confluence Writers Project. The year-long program includes mentorship in the form of workshops with guest artists and industry professionals and dedicated time and space to write as a cohort together under the leadership of a program director. Applications are due Sunday, February 13.

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 March 2022 through January 2023, 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 Spring 2022.
  • Complete a full-length play for a public reading in January of 2023 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.
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Meet The Emerging 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.