Playwright Mona Mansour Kicks Off Dorset Theatre Festival’s 2017 New Play Reading Series



DORSET, VT: Dorset Theatre Festival continues its commitment to incubating new works for the American stage with the return of its New Play Reading series. Mona Mansour, playwright of The Vagrant Trilogy and winner of the 2014 Middle East America Playwright Award, will be the first playwright in residence.

A public reading of Mansour’s newest developing work will take place on Monday, June 12 at 7 pm. The reading will be held in the Playhouse Café at the Dorset Playhouse, located at 104 Cheney Rd, Dorset, VT.  General admission tickets start at $20 and may be purchased online at or by calling the box office at (802) 867-2223 ext. 2.

“In addition to producing contemporary hits and world premieres on our mainstage, Dorset Theatre Festival is proud to offer a robust annual New Play Reading series. In the past 6 years, we have hosted over 70 playwrights and developed over 90 new works, 18 of which have gone on to received full productions or further development at some of the most prestigious venues in the country. We’re thrilled to host Mona Mansour, one of the country’s leading Middle Eastern playwrights, and to continue redefining the landscape of regional theatre ,” says Artistic Director Dina Janis.

Mansour will spend five days in residence at Dorset Theatre Festival developing a brand new in-progress work. She will be joined by director Scott Illingworth and actors Erin Anderson, Christy Escobar, Rafi Silver, Melisa Aker, and Andy Ingalls, who will present her play on June 12.

Mona Mansour“I started off wanting to research two things that were part of the makeup of my home city, San Diego: bioengineering and zoos. I became interested in how we communicate with animals: how much do we project onto them? Each zookeeper I met with had more than one experience of feeling like they and their animals had an understanding that transcended a scientific understanding…so that’s the area we’ll be exploring in this new work,” says Playwright Mona Mansour.

Mona Mansour’s play Unseen premiered at The Gift Theater in Chicago in February 2017. The Vagrant Trilogy was recently presented at New Dramatists in NYC after a workshop at the Vineyard Arts Project with the Public Theater. Of the trilogy: The Hour of Feeling received its world premiere in the Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and a new Arabic translation was just presented at NYU Abu Dhabi as part of its Arab Voices Festival. Urge for Going: productions at Public LAB, and SF’s Golden Thread. The Vagrant, the third play in the trilogy, was commissioned by the Public and workshopped at the 2013 Sundance Theater Institute. Her play The Way West received its NY premiere at Labyrinth Theater in April 2016. Prior to that, the play was at Steppenwolf and Marin Theatre Company. Mona was a member of the Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group and a Core Writer at Minneapolis’ Playwrights’ Center. With Tala Manassah she has written Falling Down the Stairs, an Ensemble Studio Theatre/Sloan commission. Their short play Dressing is part of Facing Our Truths: Short Plays about Trayvon, Race and Privilege, a collection of plays commissioned by the New Black Festival. Commissions include Waterwell, La Jolla Playhouse and Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s American Revolutions. Mona is the recipient of the 2012 Whiting Award and 2014 Middle East America Playwright Award.

Dorset Theatre Festival’s New Play Reading Series will continue in August with readings from up-and-coming playwrights Lauren Yee (King of the Yees) on August 8 and Paola Lazaro (Tell Hector I Miss Him) on August 15. Both readings will take place at 7pm.

Dorset Theatre Festival’s New Play Reading Series is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, The Shubert Foundation, Harold and Mimi Steinberg Trust, and the Rogers Family Foundation.


Dorset Theatre Festival, sponsored for its 40th season by Manchester Designer Outlets, creates bold and innovative theatre that engages a diverse, multi-generational community: enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring its audience through the celebration of great plays produced with the highest degree of artistry.

Dorset Theatre Festival’s 2017 mainstage summer season includes Downstairs by Theresa Rebeck, running June 22—July 8; Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, running July 13—29; The Legend of Georgia McBride by Matthew Lopez, running August 3—19; and American Buffalo by David Mamet, running August 24—September 2. All performances take place at the Dorset Playhouse, 104 Cheney Road, Dorset, VT.

Single tickets and subscriptions for the 2017 Summer Season are now on sale. The box office may be reached by calling (802) 867-2223 ex. 2 Monday through Thursday from 12—4 pm. For more information, or to purchase tickets and subscriptions online, visit Dorset Theatre Festival’s website at

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