Emma Watkins is a playwright, dramaturg, and performer.
Her plays are inclusive, imaginative, and fundamentally feminist. She strives to give women the opportunity to embellish, interrogate, and re-tell the stories of their lives. Quite often, they sing, too.
With the support of a Fulbright Award, Emma spent a year in Wales, studying performance adaptations of Welsh myths and folklore. Her research culminated with the creation of a new play, Unbecoming, which has been developed in collaborations with PlayPenn, Princeton University, and Cardiff University (UK). It received its first full production with Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts in 2021. Her plays have also been shared at McCarter Theatre Lab’s In the Writer’s Voice, Chapter Arts Centre (UK), and Princeton’s Theatre Intime. She was recently nominated for the National Theatre Conference’s Barry and Bernice Stavis Playwriting Award.
As a dramaturg and literary assistant, Emma has assisted on productions of Gloria: A Life, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Sleuth, and the world premiere of Rachel Bond’s Goodnight Nobody (McCarter Theatre Center) as well as Into the Woods (dir. Ethan Heard, Lewis Center for the Arts). She has presented her plays and research at conferences in the US and the UK, and co-authored a chapter on feminist musical theatre pedagogy with Professor Stacy Wolf in Teaching Critical Performance Theory (Routledge.) During the pandemic, she collaborated with actor and teaching artist Nia Smith to co-found Humbug! Theatre Co., an organization committed to providing inclusive and accessible theatrical opportunities to young people. There, Emma teaches playwriting and devising.
Emma graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, where her play Trailing Rhiannon was awarded Princeton English Department’s Alan S. Downer Thesis Prize, Princeton Lewis Center for the Arts’ Music Theatre Prize, and Princeton Environmental Institute’s Environmental Humanities Book Prize. She received her Masters in Welsh & Celtic Studies with Distinction from Cardiff University, where her play Unbecoming was honored with the Sioned Davies Award for best dissertation in the School of Welsh.