Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig


Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig is an internationally produced playwright whose trilogy The China Plays: Three Parables of Global Capital was recently published by Methuen Drama. The plays in the trilogy, The World of Extreme Happiness, The King of Hell's Palace, and Snow in Midusummer, have been produced in the U.K. at the Royal Shakespeare Company, Hampstead Theatre and the National Theatre, and in the U.S. at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Manhattan Theater Club, Classic Stage and the Goodman Theatre. Her recent audio musical Last Words of Uncle Dirt was produced by Playwrights Horizons and is a collaboration with composer Michael Roth.

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. 

Her body of work has been honored with the Wasserstein Prize, the Yale Drama Series Award (selected by David Hare), an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, the Keene Prize for Literature, and a United States Artist Fellowship. She has taught at Bennington College and was formerly an Associate Professor of Drama at UC Santa Barbara, where she had the pleasure of mentoring undergraduate playwrights and directing the New Works Lab.

Frances lives in Southern Appalachia, where she enjoys growing vegetables and dramatic worlds.  She is currently working on a middle grade fantasy trilogy, an opera libretto, and new play commissions for Yale Rep and the Perelman Center.


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