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Charissa Menefee, playwright, poet, director, performer, and educator, is the founder and Artistic Director of The EcoTheatre Lab. She has been an EST/Sloan Foundation commission recipient, a Tennessee Williams Scholar in Playwriting at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a finalist for the Julie Harris Playwright Award, and a writer-in-residence with the Utah Shakespeare Festival's New American Playwrights Project and Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts. Her scripts have been honored by the Pandora Festival of New Plays, American College Theatre Festival, Arizona Theatre Conference, Scriptapalooza, Christian H. Moe Awards, Theatre Lawrence, and City of Charleston Literary Arts Awards, among others. She recently directed a touring production of Climate Change Theatre Action 2021, as well as an acting company for the New Play Lab at the William Inge Theatre Festival.


Embodied Playwriting: Improv and Acting Exercises for Writing and Devising, co-edited with Hillary Haft Bucs, is available from Routledge beginning in July of 2023.

Recent productions: Slobber and Snarl with Ludlow Charlington's Doghouse (Chicago); Marked Cards and Tennessee Rook in States of Play national series; Promotion and You Came Back at Anchorage Community Theatre (Alaska); Here Today in ISU Theatre's On the Horizon (Iowa); Our Antigone, based on the Sophocles classic, premiered at Story Theatre Company (Iowa); Family, part of Code Red: Faith, has been staged by Phoenix Theatre (Minnesota), Lakewood Playhouse (Washington), Factory Theatre (Illinois), and Focal Theatre Lab & The Eco-Theatre Lab (Iowa); Your Soup, Sir was part of Paula Vogel's UBU ROI Bake-Off at The Playwrights Center (Minnesota); Sarah's Poem premiered in Rover Dramawerks' 365 Women a Year Festival (Texas) and encored at the Philadelphia Women's Theatre Festival; Check Your Ticket was featured in the What She Said Festival at The Underground Theatre (Minnesota); Prescott College Theatre premiered Meet Me Halfway (Arizona); and Lydia's Plan was named Best Play in Theatre Lawrence's Short Play Festival (Kansas). How Long is Fifteen Minutes? was featured in Tennessee Women's Theatre Project's Women's Work Festival; the anchoring monologue is in production as a short film, directed by the author. Pretty Lucky is included in 105 Five-Minute Plays for Study and Performance (Smith & Kraus). Grounds for Play is featured in Some Scripts Literary Magazine. Menefee and playwright Micki Shelton co-founded Tomorrow's Theatre Tonight, a play development and reading series in Arizona.

When I Stopped Counting: Poems is available from Finishing Line Press.  Menefee's poetry can also be found in Plainsongs, Pirene's Fountain, Footnote, Dragon Poet Review, Adanna, Poetry South, Terrene, Poets Reading the News, The Paddock Review, The Wild Word, Twyckenham Notes, The Indian River Review, Amygdala, Telepoem Booths, and anthologies such as The Hippocrates Prize for Poetry & Medicine, Surprised by Joy, The Poeming Pigeon: In the News, and Missed Calls and Other Poetry

Menefee is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild, Code Red Playwrights, PEN America, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Mid-America Theatre Conference, and the Association for Writers and Writing Programs. She is a former president and vice president of Humanities Iowa. She co-directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Environment at Iowa State University and teaches undergraduate playwriting and performance for ISU Theatre.

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