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E.M. Lewis at Artists Repertory Theatre

Selfie of E.M. Lewis.


E. M. Lewis is an award-winning playwright, teacher, and opera librettist. Her work has been produced around the world, and published by Samuel French.

Lewis received the Steinberg Award for both How the Light Gets In and Song of Extinction and the Primus Prize for Heads from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for outstanding writing of a world premiere play, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a playwriting fellowship from the New Jersey State Arts Commission, the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama, and an Edgerton Award. Plays by Lewis include: an epic play called Magellanica (premiered at Artists Rep in 2018, and is currently being made into a five-part audio drama), How the Light Gets In (a semi-finalist for the O’Neill that premiered at Boston Court Pasadena in 2019), Apple Season (which received a rolling world premiere from the National New Play Network in 2019), The Gun Show (which has had more than forty productions across the country and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland), Infinite Black Suitcase, Reading to Vegetables, True Story, Dorothy's Dictionary, and You Can See All the Stars (a play for college students commissioned by the Kennedy Center). Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant, a new opera commissioned by American Lyric Theater that Lewis is working on with composer Evan Meier, had an orchestral workshop in New York City in February 2020. Town Hall, her opera about health care in America, created with composer Theo Popov, was produced at University of Maryland and Willamette University.

Lewis is currently working on a big, new play called The Great Divide, commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival as part of their American Revolutions program. The play was co-commissioned by Artists Repertory Theater, and Lewis has received a three-year National Playwright Residency from the Mellon Foundation to support her work with them. Lewis is a proud member of LineStorm Playwrights and the Dramatists Guild. She lives on her family’s farm in Oregon.

Logo for Artists Repertory Theatre.


Artists Repertory Theatre’s mission is to produce intimate, provocative theatre and provide a home for artists and audiences to take creative risks.

More from the Residency

Two actors stand in a dimly lit space with one shining a flashlight in the others face.
Ten Years of The Gun Show

Ten Years of The Gun Show

27 June 2024

Ten years after writing The Gun Show, playwright Ellen Lewis looks back at the play that tasks an actor with the delivery of a series of gun stories from Lewis’s life—typically with Ellen among the audience. Lewis sits down with Nate Cohen, who worked on the show for several runs that totaled more than one hundred performances, to reflect on the ways the play, its playwright, and the world have changed over ten years of productions.

A large selection of fresh grown vegetables lined up and organized by type on the grass.
Tending the Garden: Organic Observations on Playwriting

Tending the Garden: Organic Observations on Playwriting

7 November 2022

Writing from her little family farm in Oregon, E.M. Lewis applies the lessons learned in the garden to her experience as a librettist and playwright.

Ten people on a Zoom call.
How Do We Go On?

How Do We Go On?

14 December 2021

E.M. Lewis and a group of theatre artists connected with Artists Repertory Theatre come together to mark the ways they make it through the strange, dark days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite prolonged uncertainty across the theatre industry and the world, they find community in one another and strength in storytelling.

Indecipherable handwritten text
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Play

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Play

14 December 2020

E. M. Lewis shares thirteen ways writers can think about the plays they’re writing, including the stakes, the world, and the music.

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