Assistant Professor of Playwriting, Play Analysis, Theatre for Social Change, & Dramaturgy


phone: CDA #222

Jacqueline E. Lawton was named one of the top 30 national leading black playwrights by Arena Stage’s American Voices New Play Institute. She received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin (Hook ’em Horns!), where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. She participated in the Kennedy Center’s Playwrights’ Intensive (2002) and World Interplay (2003). Her plays include: Anna K; Blood-bound and Tongue-tied; Deep Belly Beautiful; The Devil’s Sweet Water; The Hampton Years; Ira Aldridge: the African Roscius; Lions of Industry, Mothers of Invention; Love Brothers Serenade; Mad Breed; Noms de Guerre; and Our Man Beverly Snow.

Ms. Lawton’s work has been developed and presented at the following venues: Active Cultures Theatre, Classical Theater of Harlem, Folger Shakespeare Library, theHegira, Howard University, Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival, Rorschach Theater Company, Round House Theatre – Silver Spring, Savannah Black Heritage Festival (Armstrong Atlantic State University), Shakespeare Theatre Company, Source Festival, Theater J, and Woolly Mammoth Theater Company. She has received commissions from Active Cultures Theatre, Adventure Theatre – Musical Theatre Center, Discovery Theater, the Hurston/Wright Foundation, National New Play Network, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History, Round House Theatre and Theater J. She is published in Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project (University of Texas Press).

Lawton has worked as a dramaturg and research consultant at Active Cultures, Actors Theatre of Louisville – Humana Festival of New American Plays, African Continuum Theater Company, the Arden Theater (Philadelphia, PA), Arena Stage, Discovery Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater (New York, NY) Folger Shakespeare Library, the Ford’s Theatre, Horizons Theater (Atlanta, GA), Howard University, the Hub Theatre, Interact Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), Kennedy Center VSA Program, Morgan State University, Redshift Productions (New York, NY), Rorschach Theater Company, Round House Theatre, Theater Alliance, Theater of the First Amendment, Theater J, Tribute Productions, University of Maryland, Virginia Stage Company, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Currently, she serves as Dramaturg at PlayMakers Repertory.

Ms. Lawton has taught classes on acting, directing, dramaturgy, movement, playwriting, Shakespeare, and solo performance at Arena Stage, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Folger Shakespeare Library, the John F. Kennedy Center, Round House Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Smithsonian Associates, Towson University, University of the District of Columbia, and the Young Playwright’s Theatre. Additionally, she has taught theater residencies and professional development workshops to adults and teachers wanting to integrate arts into the classroom. Currently, she serves as Assistant Professor in the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.

Lawton is a 2012 Theatre Communications Group (TCG) Young Leaders of Color award recipient and a National New Play Network (NNPN) Playwright alumna. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including two Young Artist Program Grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for Playwriting; the Ellsworth P. and Virginia Conkle Endowed Scholarship for Drama; the Jean McKenzie Schenkkan Endowed Scholarship in Playwriting; and the Morton Brown, Nellie Lea Brown, and Minelma Brown Lockwood Endowed Scholarship in Playwriting. She has been recognized as a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference and the Playwright’s Center PlayLabs. She serves on the Advisory Board of African Continuum Theatre Company and as the Diversity and Inclusion Online Conference Curator for TCG. She is a proud member of Arena Stage’s Playwright’s Arena and the Dramatist Guild of America.