Lewis Center Past Fellows

Lauren Yee

Lauren Yee headshot

Photo by Joey Yee


Lauren Yee is a playwright born and raised in San Francisco. She received her bachelor’s degree from Yale University, and her MFA in playwriting from UCSD, where she studied under Naomi Iizuka.

She was a Dramatists Guild fellow, a MacDowell fellow, a MAP Fund grantee, a member of The Public Theater’s Emerging Writers Group, a Time Warner Fellow at the Women’s Project Playwrights Lab, the Shank playwright-in-residence at Second Stage Theatre, a Playwrights’ Center Core Writer, and the Page One resident playwright at Playwrights Realm. She is a winner of a 2019 Whiting Award for Drama. Yee has been a finalist for the Jerome Fellowship, the PONY Fellowship, the Princess Grace Award, the Sundance Theatre Lab, and the Wasserstein Prize. Her play Samsara has been a nominee for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award. Her work has been published by Samuel French.

Her full-length work has been produced at AlterTheater, Artists at Play, The Chance Theatre, City Lights Theatre Company, Cleveland Public Theatre, Company One, Encore Theatre/Z Space, fu-GEN, the Hub Theatre, Impact Theatre, Moxie Theatre, Mu Performing Arts, Pan Asian Rep, SF Playhouse, SIS Productions, Victory Gardens Theatre, and others.

Lauren’s work has also been developed at Lincoln Center Theatre/LCT3, the Goodman Theatre, The Public Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Playwrights Realm, Second Stage Theatre, Centerstage, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Aurora Theatre, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, East West Players, the Hangar Theatre, Kitchen Dog Theatre, the Magic Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare Festival, PlayPenn, and the Playwrights’ Center.

Her play The Hatmaker’s Wife was an Outer Critics Circle nominee for the John Gassner Award for best play by a new American playwright. Ching Chong Chinaman was picked as a top 10 play of the year by City Pages and the East Bay Express, and  Crevice was a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle nominee for Best Play. Other honors include three Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival playwriting awards, Kumu Kahua Theatre’s Pacific Rim Prize, and writing fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Byrdcliffe Artist Colony, the Edward F. Albee Foundation, the El Gouna Writers’ Residency, the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, and the New York Mills Cultural Center. She has also received funding from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, Theatre Bay Area, and UCSD’s Institute for International, Comparative, and Area Studies, as well as an award from PlayGround’s New Play Production Fund.

Lauren is a member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab. She is currently under commission from the Denver Center, La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center Theatre/LCT3, Mixed Blood Theatre, Portland Center Stage, South Coast Rep, and Trinity Rep.

Cambodian Rock Band and The Great Leap, two plays by past Hodder Fellow Lauren Yee, are included on American Theatre Magazine‘s list (published Sept. 2019) of most-produced plays in America for the 2019-20 season. Having multiple plays included on the list is rare, an honor that Yee shares with only one other playwright to date — Martin McDonagh — who had two plays listed in the 1999-2000 season, according to the magazine.

“The fact that Cambodian Rock Band and The Great Leap are two of the most produced plays in the country this season demonstrates the hunger audiences have for thrilling new narratives that cast actors of color as unlikely heroes in their own stories. It also speaks to the incredible depth and breadth of the Asian American community. They are rock stars, they are sports legends, and they will break your heart and dazzle you with virtuosic performances. It’s an incredible honor.”

— Lauren Yee


View the full list published by American Theatre Magazine


Lauren Yee wins Horton Foote Prize for Cambodian Rock Band” | New York Times, Sept. 4, 2018

Meet 10 Emerging Writers Who Just Won the 2019 Whiting Award” | The Cut, March 21, 2019

2019 Whiting Award Winners | The Whiting Foundation, Whiting.org

“Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Names The 2019 Doris Duke Artists” | Philanthropy New York, July 9, 2019

Lauren Yee — Doris Duke Artist Awards | DDCF.org

“Jackie Sibblies Drury and Lauren Yee Win 2019 Steinberg Playwright Awards” | American Theatre/Theatre Communications Group, October 9, 2019