Literary Series

Emerging Artists. Exciting new works


Future Classics

House of Joy by Madhuri Shekar | June 17 |

7:00 PM | Samuels Studio, 70 Lincoln Center Plaza.






Madhuri Shekar was born in California and grew up in India. Her plays include House of Joy (South Coast Rep’s Pacific Playwrights Festival, upcoming world premiere at California Shakespeare Theater), Queen(world premiere at Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago, Jeff Award nomination for Best New Play), In Love and Warcraft (winner of the Alliance Theater’s Kendeda Graduate Playwriting contest and published by Samuel French), A Nice Indian Boy (East West Players), and Bucket of Blessings(winner of the Suzi Bass Award for Outstanding Original Work). Madhuri is a recipient of Audible’s new commissioning program and has been commissioned by South Coast Rep, Victory Gardens, and the Alliance Theater. She holds an MFA in Dramatic Writing from USC, a dual Masters in Global Media and Communications from the London School of Economics and USC, and recently graduated from the Playwriting program at Juilliard. She is a member of the Ma-Yi writers’ lab and a co-creator of the Shakespearean web series, Titus and Dronicus. She currently writes for the upcoming HBO show The Nevers.

J. Mehr Kaur is a director, producer and curator of live/multimedia performance. Most recently, she directed Queen by Madhuri Shekar at Astoria Performing Arts Center. Her adaptation Kultar’s Mime, which addresses art as a tool for healing in the wake of tragedy, has been seen internationally across the US, Canada, UK, India and Malaysia. Mehr is a graduate of Smith College and has been featured as a speaker at the Surat Sikh Conference and the Pluralism Project at Harvard Divinity School. She is a member of the Williamstown Directing Corps, a Directing Fellow at MTC and a recipient of The Samuel A. Eliot, Jr./Julia Heflin Award for Distinguished Directing and Fulbright-Nehru Directing Grant.

About The Series

At the core of the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s Literary Series is the belief that theater has the transformative power to challenge the status quo, connect disparate worlds of thought, and, ultimately, change the world. Thus, we are invested in the development of work that shifts the conversation around representation in the theater and are dedicated to providing a platform for those voices traditionally underrepresented on the American Stage.

CTH’s Literary Series is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the Jarvis & Constance Doctorow Family Foundation and the Axe-Houghton Foundation.

Selected playwrights submit 10-12 pages of a new work in the early stages of development. Actors are cast on the spot and perform a cold reading, followed by a moderated audience feedback session. In addition to serving the development of new work, these readings give audiences a sneak peek into how new plays are created.

CTH asserts that a “Future Classic” promotes courageous and open-minded examination of controversial and critical topics that are at the heart of society. Designed for the emerging professional playwright, Future Classics offers participating writers the opportunity to showcase their new completed works and receive dramaturgical feedback.  Participants work with CTH’s resident dramaturge, a professional director and a dedicated group of actors to showcase a new full-length play.

Submit your work to Ms. Shawn René Graham, Literary Director at No phone calls please.

  • Plays/Excerpts may not have been previously produced.
  • Playwrights may submit up only to fifteen (15) pages only for Playwrights’ Playground, or up to one full play for Future Classics.
  • Plays must be submitted as a PDF or as a Word document.
  • Playwrights will not receive comments on plays once submitted.
  • Playwrights should also include a brief author’s bio and/or resume.
  • Playwrights may also submit a play synopsis (250 words).

No phone calls please.

  • Actors can volunteer to be cast in a Playwrights’ Playground reading by arriving thirty minutes early and signing up with our reading coordinator.
  • Future Classics readings are cast in advanced.

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