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March brings the long-awaited return to Leapfest. Leapfest began in 2003-04 as an annual new play festival, where playwrights “take the leap” in the development of new work. Next month will be the first workshop readings of 3 new plays, by ensemble member Stephanie Murphy, Deana Velandra, and Kimberly Dixon-Mays. The plays will continue to develop until culminating in staged readings this summer.


MARCH 13 -- MARCH 20 -- MARCH 27

7:00pm CST

A pay-what-you-can pass gives access to all three readings in March. ($10 minimum)


Monday, March 13, 2023 - 7:00pm CST

via Zoom


Written by Deana Velandra


Monday, March 20, 2023 - 7:00pm CST

via Zoom


Written by Kimberly Dixon-Mays


Monday, March 27, 2023 - 7:00pm CST

via Zoom


Written by Stephanie Murphy

Meet the Playwrights

Deana Velandra is a Chicago based playwright and actor. She graduated from Hope College in 2018 with a BA in Theatre and Women’s and Gender Studies. Deana has been an ensemble member and contributing writer at Cornservatory since 2019. She has really found a love for sketch comedy and takes making people laugh very seriously! Deana is thrilled to have the chance to develop her next full length play with Stage Left.


Deana Velandra

Kimberly Dixon-Mays is a poet, playwright and sometimes performer. Her work was featured in Congo Square Theatre Company’s 2019 August Wilson New Play Initiative, and a semi-finalist for the 2019 Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. Kimberly was also a semi-finalist for the 2020 National Black Theatre I Am Soul Playwright Residency, selected for Goodman Theatre's 2022 Future Lab series, and a 2023 finalist for American Blues Theater’s Blue Ink Award. She is currently developing work with Shattered Globe Theater’s Global Playwright Series development program and Stage Left’s Playwright Residency Program.

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Kimberly Dixon-Mays

Stephanie Murphy Stephanie’s plays and sketch comedy have been performed or read at Stage Left, Corn Productions, Three Brothers Theatre, Simple Theatre, Evil Iguana Productions, The Valdez Theatre Conference (Alaska), and No Shame Athens (Georgia).


Local credits as an actor, director, and dialect coach include work with Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Eclectic Full Contact Theatre, HartLife Productions, Brightside Theatre, MadKap Productions, Oil Lamp Theatre, Pride Films and Plays, New World Repertory Theatre, Mercy Street Theatre, Consortium Project, Abraham Werewolf, and others. Regional credits include productions with the Alliance Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and Rose of Athens Theatre. Stephanie has trained at The Second City and IO, and has an MFA in Performance from the University of Georgia.

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Stephanie Murphy

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