Iowa New Play Festival Guest Artists

Since its inception in the 1970s, the Iowa New Play Festival has brought guest artists to campus to meet with students. Festival special guests attend all performances and give feedback to the creative team for each show, especially the playwright. The feedback is given in roundtable discussions following each reading and on the morning after each production or workshop. These roundtables help the playwright and his or her collaborators see their work in a professional context.

The following guests will join us for Iowa New Play Festival 2022.

meet this year's guest artists
Noel Allain headshot


Noel Allain is the Founding Artistic Director of The Bushwick Starr Theater. He is a graduate of Skidmore College and the Juilliard School's Drama Division. As an actor, he has performed in various theater, television, and film productions in and out of New York City. At the Starr, he has programmed artists and companies such as Heather Christian, Jeremy O. Harris, Dave Malloy, Raja Feather Kelly, Daniel Fish, Clare Barron, Ayesha Jordan, The Mad Ones, Phillip Howze, Erin Markey, Flako Jimenez, David Greenspan, Haruna Lee, Diana Oh, and Jillian Walker. He has helped create the Starr’s workshop Creating Performance at El Puente Bushwick, and the after-school program Big Green Theater. He has served as a panelist for NYSCA, LMCC, The Shed, Sundance Theater Lab, and HERE’s HARP Residency, and is currently serving as the Chair of the Panel for Interdisciplinary Artists for MacDowell. He has a guest artist for the University of Iowa’s New Play Festival, and as a guest speaker at Colombia, NYU, Hunter, Bard, Skidmore, the Prelude Festival and Sarah Lawrence College.

John Baker headshot


John Baker (he/him) is a new play dramaturg and producer. He is the co-founder and Artistic Director of the Sun Valley Playwright’s Residency, which annually offers a playwright a $10,000 commission and a yearlong development process that includes a month-long retreat at the historic Ernest & Mary Hemingway House in Ketchum, Idaho. He is the former Director of Artistic Programs at SPACE on Ryder Farm, Literary Manager and Interim Director of New Work at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Artistic Associate at Williamstown Theatre Festival. As a dramaturg, he has developed new plays at The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference for more than a decade. He has also dramaturged new work Off Broadway and regionally with Clubbed Thumb, Dallas Theatre Center, The Lark, Lincoln Center Theatre, Ma-Yi, New Dramatists, New Harmony Project, Ojai Playwrights Conference, Page 73 Productions, Partial Comfort Productions, PlayPenn, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Seattle Rep, Signature Theatre Company, and South Coast Rep, among others. BA: Boston University; MFA: The University of Iowa.

Katie Gamelli headshot


Katie Gamelli is a Literary Agent at Paladin Artists representing playwrights, composers, lyricists, directors, and designers. Named by the Broadway Women’s Fund as one of the 2020 Women to Watch on Broadway, she spent the first decade of her career at A3 Artists Agency (formerly Abrams), where she became known for her diverse roster of multi-hyphenate clients. A passionate advocate for new play and musical development, she has worked for The Kleban Foundation, served on the Encores! Off-Center Artist's Board (led by Jeanine Tesori and the late Michael Friedman) and the Musical Theatre Factory Advisory Board. She is a CT native and graduate of Marymount Manhattan College. 

Virginia Grise headshot
Photo credit: Netza Moreno


Virginia Grise is a recipient of the Yale Drama Award, Whiting Writers' Award, the Princess Grace Award in Theatre Directing, and the Playwrights’ Center’s Jerome Fellowship. Her published work includes Your Healing is Killing Me (Plays Inverse Press), blu (Yale University Press), The Panza Monologues co-written with Irma Mayorga (University of Texas Press), and an edited volume of Zapatista communiqués titled Conversations with Don Durito (Autonomedia Press).

 In addition to plays, she has created a body of work that is interdisciplinary and includes multimedia performance, dance theater, performance installations, guerilla theater, site specific interventions, and community gatherings. Virginia has taught writing for performance at the university level, as a public school teacher, in community centers, women’s prisons, and in the juvenile correction system. She holds an MFA in Writing for Performance from the California Institute of the Arts and is the Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at Cara Mía Theatre in Dallas, Texas and a Matakyev Research Fellow at the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands at Arizona State University.


Sydné Mahone, dramaturg, is the editor of two books: Moon Marked and Touched By Sun: Plays By African American Women; and With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together. She is a visiting artist at the University of Iowa, and guest lecturer in the Theatre Program at Princeton University; formerly, she was an associate professor of Theatre Arts and African American Studies at the University of Iowa. She served as guest editor of The Review, the journal of Literary Managers & Dramaturgs of the Americas, for a special edition on African American Dramaturgy. The first literary manager and director of play development at Crossroads Theatre Company (1985-1997), her production dramaturgy credits include new plays by Rita Dove, August Wilson, Ntozake Shange, George C. Wolfe, Leslie Lee, Aishah Rahman, Don Evans, Ruby Dee, Richard Wesley, Talvin Wilks and Dominic Taylor. She was founding staff producer of the Genesis Festival of New Voices, and recently returned to co-produce the 2022 Genesis Festival. Commercial affiliations: Script consultant, King Kong, The Musical!, book by Jack Thorne; Dramaturgy King Kong, book by Craig Lucas, pre-Broadway Australian production; Hard Times, book by Craig Lucas and Larry Kirwan, Broadway development for Paradise Square. Other affiliations: Negro Ensemble Company’s inaugural Emerging Playwrights Festival; PlayCo; Ford’s Theatre; Karin Coonrod’s Compagnia de’ Colombari; New Dramatists, and When Day Comes, by Ricardo Khan in collaboration with and featuring Sweet Honey in the Rock, Crossroads Festival Theatre, 2021.