The Contemporary Drama Working Group (CDWG) was founded in the fall of 2012 by Takeo Rivera and Joshua Williams, both PhD students in the Department of Theater, Dance & Performance Studies (TDPS) at the University of California, Berkeley. The idea was to create a space in which to explore exciting new dramatic work by up-and-coming and established playwrights alike. With support from the Townsend Center for the Humanities and TDPS, Rivera and Williams were able to make their vision of a student-run new play reading series a reality.

For the 2013-2014 season, Caitlin Marshall – another TDPS graduate student – joined Rivera and Williams as a co-director of the Group, and helped to spearhead the establishment of a student-actor repertory company to perform in the Group’s readings. Her energy and enthusiasm were instrumental in taking CDWG to the next level. For the 2014-2015 season, Rivera and Williams collaborated with fellow graduate students Martha Herrera-Lasso and Miyoko Conley to continue the Group’s work. In 2015, the CDWG family expanded still further, with newcomers Kim Richards and Christian Nagler joining Herrera-Lasso, Conley and Williams to launch a fourth season of new play readings. Throughout, the tireless efforts of dozens of undergraduate actors and the support of TDPS’ incredible production staff and faculty kept the series humming along.

In its first three seasons, the Group has presented 25 evenings of new play readings, featuring 35 pieces by 27 amazing writers. The astonishing diversity of the work it has presented is a testament to the continuing vitality of U.S. theatre and the extraordinarily wide imaginative landscape it traverses.


Seán McKeithan, On Breathing In The Barrel

Joshua Williams, In The House We Haven’t Built

Karmia Cao, Nightmouth

Takeo Rivera, The Will To Knowledge

Will Gutierrez, Beautiful Monsters

Rachel Yong, The Peace that Passeth All Understanding

Christian Ting, 16 Cigarettes

Joshua Williams, Paleontology

Roger Q. Mason, The Duat

Joyce Carol Oates, Bad Touch

Robert Reich, Milton & Augusto


Amma Ghartey-Tagoe Kootin, Khalil Sullivan & Joshua Williams, At Buffalo

Krista Knight, Untitled Teen Hospice Play

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, Go On Living

Cleavon Smith, Before The Shadows Of Night Are Gone

Richard Montoya, The River

Miyoko Conley, Starship Dance Party

Martha Herrera-Lasso, After

Julia Jarcho, Every Angel is Brutal

Ricardo Bracho, The Dweller


Will Gutierrez, Beautiful Monsters: A Hermaphrodite Love Story

Miyoko Conley, End of the World Place

Josslyn Luckett, imitation expert

Josslyn Luckett, rupture / runnin’ thru risk / runnin’ to bliss

Josslyn Luckett, chronicles of a comic mullata: an oreo/choreopoem

Martha Herrera-Lasso, Frente al Mar

Christopher Chen, You Mean To Do Me Harm

Aimee Suzara, A History of the Body

Lauren Yee, King of the Yees

Kirk Shimano, Android. Bishop. Microbe. Megan.

William Bivins, The Announcement

Mandy Hodge Rizvi, The Bake Sale

Takeo Rivera, Global Sweating

Takeo Rivera, Tamales

Joshua Williams, Zulu Station

Joshua Williams, The Bonapartes


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