June 8-June 13, 2018
Masquer Theatre

Welcome to Missoula Colony 23! The Colony has pursued a mission of fostering playwrights and exploring new works for nearly a quarter-century. We are honored to present to the Missoula community another week of new theatre and lively discussion with a variety of dedicated artists from within the community and around the country. Our thanks once again go out to the Missoula community, as well as the staff of the Montana Rep and the College of Visual and Performing Arts for their support. We also extend our thanks to all the artists who give of their time and talent to make each Colony a unique and enriching experience.

Admission is $10 per event and full-week passes are $50.


To learn more, please contact Salina Chatlain at (406) 243-6809 or by email.


Founded in 1996 by Michael Murphy, Marsha Norman, and Montana Rep Artistic Director Greg Johnson, the Missoula Colony is both a place and an idea. The Colony convenes at the University of Montana in Missoula, where five gorgeous Rocky Mountain valleys and three stunning rivers converge. Missoula is a place blessed with incredible natural beauty—a place where writers from all over the world gather to celebrate the art and craft of writing for the stage and screen.


Jon Robin BaitzJON ROBIN BAITZ is an American playwright, screenwriter, television producer, and occasional actor. His plays include Other Desert Cities, The Film Society, The Substance of Fire, Three Hotels, A Fair Country, Ten Unknowns, Mizlansky/Zilinsky, a new version of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler which was produced on Broadway in 2001, and The Paris Letter. He is the creator of the hit ABC TV show Brothers & Sisters, which he also executive produced for the first two seasons. His PBS film version of Three Hotels won a Humanitas Award. Other screenplays include The Substance of Fire based on his play People I Know, which starred Al Pacino, and Stonewall. He has also written episodes of West Wing and Alias. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, a Guggenheim and NEA fellow, an American Academy of Arts & Letters Award winner, and a founding member and former co-artistic director of New York’s Naked Angels theatre company. He is the former chair of the MFA playwriting division of The New School for Drama in New York, where he taught for seven years.

CARSON GRACE BECKER received her MFA in playwriting from The University of Iowa.
She has received a Joseph Jefferson Award and the Los Angeles ADA Award (Best New Play), the Ofner Prize (Goodman Theatre), the Award for Playwriting Excellence (the Kennedy Center), two Illinois Arts Council grants (playwriting), and two artists residencies at the William Inge Center for the Arts. She has been a guest teaching artist at NYU, Ohio University, the University of Nebraska, the University of Illinois (Chicago) and Oklahoma State University. Her screenplays have won awards at the LA New Wave Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival, the LA Neo Noir Film Festival and the Emerging Screenwriters Contest. She has been commissioned by Goodman Theatre, the Angels Theater Company, Nebraska Repertory, and Riverside Theater, and has developed work at the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Playwrights’ Center, and the Southwest New Plays Festival, and the Midwest O’Neill Festival. Carson has worked as Literary Manager at Honolulu Theater for Youth, Director of the Playwrights Network and the Educational Outreach Program at Chicago Dramatist, and most recently founded the humanities/arts non-profit The Root & The Bloom Collective, housed at the Historic Clark Chateau in Butte, MT, where she is currently the artistic director.

CATHY CAPPS, a retired orthopedic surgeon, has been an active participant in Colony since the summer of 2007, when she established a playwriting endowment in her mother’s name. She has been a member of Zoola Playwrights since 2008, participating in many group self-produced short play festivals and individual new works. Her musical, The Dirty Old Lady Show, first performed at Colony and later at The Crystal, remains her favorite child. Most recently, Cathy has been frequently chosen to have her work read at The Rep’s 4×4 and 5×5 Play Slams.

MARTHA ELIZABETH is a Missoula writer and artist. She earned a BA in drama at University of Virginia but wandered off into poetry and fiction and art. She earned an interdisciplinary MA at University of North Texas and an MFA in creative writing at University of Montana, and she took poetry and screenwriting workshops at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. She won the final Montana Arts Council’s First Book Award for her poetry collection, The Return of Pleasure. She began studying art as research for writing and gradually became an artist. She works in various media but is best known for marbling (paint floated on thickened water then printed onto paper or fabric), which she has practiced for twenty-five years: semi-representational faces and landscapes, and patterned paper and fabric. But she always returns to theater. She has been part of the Colony off and on since it began.

SHAUN GANT has published dozens of poems, taught collaboratively with visual artists, produced full length and ten-minute plays, won NEH fellowships from Cornell and Indiana University, and sings in rock ‘n’ roll bands. Shaun’s plays have been produced at the Crystal, Roxy and Masquer theatres in Missoula, and the Blue Slipper in Livingston. Katy Stone’s Missoula Art Museum installation “Seasons Furling (Unfurling)” featured Shaun’s sound poetry. Touch of Light Press published her poetry and art collaboration with Sheila Miles, Whisk, Lyric, Logic. Newtopia Magazine published Shaun’s online chapbook “Aubades and 5a.m. Drawings.” She gives voice to Molly Bloom at Great Falls’ Casseopeia Bookstore during their Bloomsday reading of James Joyce’s Ulysses each year. Shaun writes and teaches in Missoula.

LEAH JOKI is an actor, writer and director. She devoted most of her adult life to teaching in prison. Her prison arts program was profiled in The Los Angeles Times, American Theatre magazine and LA Weekly. Her one-woman show PRISON BOXING was nominated for the best Solo Performance in Los Angeles in 2015. Her memoir, Juilliard to Jail, is currently being developed into a film by Joe Manganiello and his company. Her writing credits include the plays The Year of Baldwin, The Poppovichs, The Big Picture, Hairball, A Bad Play, and Time Will Tell, which was produced by the Poetic Justice Project and toured throughout CA for over a year. Her new book, Joki Shorts (a collection of short plays) will be released in 2019. Ms. Joki received her BFA in theater from UM, a masters degree from the Juilliard School, and an MFA from UM. She is currently the Western Regional Representative for the Montana Playwrights Network.

JAY KETTERING is a native Montanan living in Missoula. In recent years, his three-part radio series, Notes From The Huntley Project, was produced by Montana Public Radio, and the first episode, “My Dad and Pre-Socratic Thought,” won Best Audio Play at the 2016 Moondance International Film Festival in Boulder, Colorado. In 2015 his one-act play Flotsam, Jetsam and Bill premiered at the Theatre of Western Springs near Chicago. He has written four plays for Montana Repertory Theatre’s Educational Outreach Tour, including Raised in the Saddle: The Phantasmagorical Journey of a Future Rodeo Queen in 2017, which he is currently adapting into a musical.

SHANNON SIVERTSEN has had several plays performed during the Missoula Colony with Montana Repertory Theatre at the University of Montana. Works include Two Much, There’s a Finish Word for That and Hammer in the Morning. Born and raised in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, Shannon is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire with a B.S. in Education. While not formally trained in theater, her instruction has been aided immensely by the UM School of Theatre & Dance, Montana Repertory Theater’s Colony workshops, and the supportive performing-arts community in Missoula.

ANITA VATSHELL is a playwright who currently resides in New Orleans. The Missoula Colony nurtures the love of writing and supports growth of new theater artists. She is a grateful beneficiary of the Colony mission, which inspired her to write her first play in 2011. Front Street was produced by Montana Rep’s Visions and Voices in a developmental production in August 2016. Her second play, Leaving Cottonwood, was a selected reading for Colony in 2014. Other productions include two ten-minute shorts in 2012 and 2013 with Zoula Playwrights. In November 2016, Leaving Cottonwood, was produced by Generate INK of New Orleans. She’s honored to participate in Colony 23 and move forward with her latest work, Rigged To Flip.

The Guest Artists | Colony 23
Jon Robin Baitz
Carson Grace Becker
Cathy Capps
Martha Elizabeth
Shaun Gant
Leah Joki
Jay Kettering
Shannon Sivertsen
Anita Vatshell

The Colony Company
Salina Chatlain | Producer

Agnes Ranjo Capps Scholarship
Award Recipients:
2018—Bernadette Sweeney
2017—Larissa FastHorse
2016—Chelsea Marcantel
2015—Elizabeth Dement
2014—Francine Volpe
2013—Vickie Ramirez
2012—Melssa Ross
2011—Diane Glancy
2010—Deborah Zoe Laufer
2009—Lauren Feldman
2008—Nicole Burdette
2007—Molly Rice