Award-Winning Writer/Editor
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Location: Sandy Springs, GA, United States
School: New York University
Field of study: Dramatic Writing

Award-Winning Writer/Editor

SM Shephard-Massat holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University’s Tisch School
of the Arts, and an MA in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University specializing in
Non-Profit Grant Writing and Development . She moved to London, England in 1990 and
interned in the Literary Department at The Royal Court Theatre. Her first full-length play,
WAITING TO BE INVITED, premiered at Denver Center Theatre Company in 1999 and has
continued to be produced in theatres across the United States. Her second play, SOMEPLACE
SOFT TO FALL (full-length version) won the 2001 Francesca Primus Award, and was produced by
St. Paul, Minnesota’s Penumbra Theatre Company in 2002. Her third play, LEVEE JAMES, was
chosen to be developed in 2002 at the O’Neill Playwrights Conference, premiered at San Francisco’s
American Conservatory Theatre, was a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize nominee for that year, and has
continued to be produced. Her next play, DEEDS, was also chosen for development at the O’Neill
Center in 2003, has since been renamed, A SOFT ESCAPE and is presently being produced in
Kansas City at the Melting Pot Theatre, then moving to New York for production at Elizabeth Van
Dyke’s TAKING IT TO THE RIVER series at the Ensemble Theatre. Her fourth play,
STARVING, premiered at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company in 2005, was nominated for another
Francesca Primus Award and won the Helen Hayes Award in Washington, DC for best new play or
musical in 2006. For, WAITING TO BE INVITED, she received the Adrienne Kennedy Society’s
Young Dramatist’s Award (1996), Delaware Theatre Company’s Connections Award for best
original play (1997), the Roger L. Stevens Award from the John F. Kennedy Center for the
Performing Arts (1999), the Westword Best of Denver Award for best new play (2000), The
American Theatre Critics Association’s M. Elizabeth Osborn Award (2001), and the Black Theatre
Alliance Award for best playwriting (2002). WAITING TO BE INVITED has been published in
WOMEN PLAYWRIGHTS: THE BEST OF 2000 (Smith & Kraus) and, in 2005, both WAITING
TO BE INVITED and LEVEE JAMES were published by Dramatic Publishing. Six pieces by hers
were included as part of Alexander Street Press Publishing’s series on the most promising dramatists
of the twentieth Century, and monologues taken from her work were published in, NEW
MONOLOGUES FOR WOMEN BY WOMEN II (Heinemann). She was New York University’s
2007 Dean’s Fellowship recipient, a Joseph Kesselring Award (New York)nominee for 2006, and
won New York University’s 2009 Goldberg Prize for Playwriting . Levee James was published
again in the fall of 2015 in a ten-play series entitled, CONTEMPORARY PLAYS BY AFRICAN
AMERICAN WOMEN by the University of Illinois Press, and her new play, TRICK CHURCH
was part of the Actor’s Express (Atlanta, Georgia) new works festival that took place 2015, and is
being considered for production off-broadway at the New Federal Theatre. Her new play, A Soft
Escape, is scheduled for production at The Melting Pot Theatre in August of 2016. Ms. Shephard-
Massat has held screenwriting workshops for local non-profits, been featured in many newspaper
and magazine articles including the New York Times’ Arts section and American Theatre Magazine,
held the position of Playwright-in-Residence at The Melting Pot Theatre in Kansas City in 2015 and
has been retained as the new drama club mentor / playwriting and screenwriting instructor for
Georgia State University beginning in the fall of 2017.

MA, Museum Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington, DC 2013
MFA, Dramatic Writing, New York University, New York, NY 2009
Certificate, Javelin Computer Technology, Smyrna, GA. 2005
BA Program, Dramatic Writing, New York University, New York, NY 1985

Additional Experience:

Playwright-In-Residence, Melting Pot Theatre, Kansas City, MO 2015

Creative Writing Instructor, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 2002

Awards & Nominations:

Goldberg Prize for Playwriting, New York University, New York, NY 2009

Dean’s Fellowship Recipient, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, New York, NY 2007
Helen Hayes Award Recipient, Best New Play or Musical, Washington, DC 2006

John Kesselring Award Nominee, National Theatre Arts Society, New York, NY 2006

Francesca Primus Award Nominee, Denver Center Theatre Co., Denver, CO 2006

O’Neill Playwright’s Conference 2003

O’Neill Playwright’s Conference 2002

Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Nominee 2002

Black Theatre Alliance Award Recipient 2002

Francesca Primus Award Recipient, Denver Center Theatre Co., Denver, CO 2001

Osborn Award Recipient, American Theatre Critics Association, New York, NY 2001

Westword Best Of Denver Award 2000 Recipient, Denver, CO 2000

Alexander Street Press / top three hundred most promising dramatists of the twentieth century 2000

Roger L. Stevens Award Recipient, John F. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC 1999

Connections Award / Best Original Play, Delaware Theatre Co., Dover, DE 1997

Young Dramatist’s Award, Adrienne Kennedy Society, Cleveland, OH 1996

ARENAFEST / Finalist, Karamu House, Cleveland, OH 1996


Contemporary Plays By African American Women / Ten Complete Plays 2015

American Theatre Magazine, Featured Article (December issue) 2005

LEVEE JAMES (published / Dramatic Publishing) 2005

WAITING TO BE INVITED (published / Dramatic Publishing) 2005

American Theatre Magazine, Featured Article (February issue) 2004

New Monologues For Women By Women II 2003

New York Times / Entertainment Section (featured article – February) 2002

Women Playwrights: The Best Plays of 2000 (published in anthology) 2000

APPLAUSE Magazine, Featured Article (Volume XI, Number 4) 2000

Alexander Street Press 2000