Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig


Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig is an internationally produced playwright whose work has been staged at the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre of Great Britain, Manhattan Theater Club, the Goodman Theatre, Trafalgar Studios 2 on the West End and the József Katona Theater in Budapest. In 2018 her most recent work, Snow in Midsummer, a contemporary adaptation of the Yuan play by Guan Hanqing, will receive its North American premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in a production directed by Justin Audibert. 

Frances' plays have been awarded the Wasserstein Prize, the Yale Drama Series Award (selected by David Hare), an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, the David A. Callichio Award and the Keene Prize for Literature. She has held year-long playwright residencies at Manhattan Theater Club and Marin Theater Company, and is currently under commission from South Coast Rep, the Goodman Theatre and the National Theatre.

She has benefited from artist residencies at Yaddo, Macdowell, Hedgebrook, Ragdale, the Sundance Playwright Retreats at Ucross and Flying Point, and the Santa Fe Art Institute.  Her work has been published by Yale University Press, Glimmer Train, Methuen Drama, Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service.

Frances was born in Philadelphia, and raised in Northern Virginia, Okinawa, Taipei and Beijing. She received an MFA in Writing from the James A. Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin, a BA in Sociology from Brown University, and a certificate in Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre.  She is currently a member of the Theater and Dance faculty at UC Santa Barbara, where she has the pleasure of mentoring undergraduate playwrights and directing the Dramatic Writing Concentration.

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