Southern Writers Festival | Alabama Shakespeare Festival
1.334.271.5353 [email protected]


Alabama Shakespeare Festival’s Southern Writers Festival
June 15, 2024

Explore Southern identity by looking at who we are today during the Southern Writers Festival of New Plays. This lively event features theatrical readings, stimulating conversation, and delicious food.

Individual tickets and packages are available. Save 20% on Zelda in the Backyard when you buy a package. 

2023–24 SWF Plays

By Kira Rockwell
June 15, 2024 | 10 a.m. | Octagon Stage

Estranged from her pastoral family, Zoey is a prodigal daughter on the run from her Evangelical past and the
Hellmouth she must fight her way through. An unruly parable that reverberates through time and realms, beckoning you to face the wicked bitter beast(s) in your own life, especially the one looking back in the mirror.

By Jonathan Norton
June 15, 2024 | 4 p.m. | Octagon Stage
Zeno, the faculty sponsor of the Gay-Straight Student Alliance has had enough! He says deuces to his high school teaching job and is ready to start a new chapter. But after coming into possession of a car used by young queer activists during Mississippi Freedom Summer, Zeno’s life takes a quick U-turn. Jumping back and forth through time eventually worlds collide, forcing Zeno to face his greatest fear: the classroom.

Sojourners was developed as part of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages. Erin Daley, Artistic Director.


June 15, 2024 | 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. | Patron’s Lobby
Join patrons, playwrights, actors, and directors for a BBQ brown bag lunch.
Lunch can be ordered until 5:00 on Wednesday, June 12.

NOTE: Lunch is included when you purchase the package (see below)



June 15, 2024
The 2024 SWF Package includes both SWF readings at a discounted price of $10 each and lunch for $15. All seating is General Admission. To purchase a package, you must order by 5:00 on Wednesday, June 12 so that we can have a headcount for our caterer.
The festival itinerary also includes coffee and biscuits at 9:00 a.m., lunch, the ASF Insights: SWF Playwright Panel at 12:45 p.m., and an ice cream social at 6:00 p.m.
SWF attendees will receive a promo code to purchase discounted tickets to see Zelda in the Backyard, the world premiere of Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder’s play developed during the 2022 festival. Show times are 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. on June 15. Opening night is Friday, June 14 at 7:00 p.m., and there is a matinee on Sunday, June 16 at 2:00 p.m.


About the 2023–24 SWF Playwrights

Headshot - Playwright Jonathan Norton


Jonathan Norton’s (he/him) work has been produced or developed by Dallas Theater Center, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Primary Stages, TheatreSquared, LaJolla Playhouse, National New Play Network, PlayPenn, Pyramid Theatre Company, Black and Latino Playwrights Conference, Jacob’s Pillow, and The Joyce. Jonathan’s play Mississippi Goddamn was a Finalist for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and won the M. Elizabeth Osborn Award. He is a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages. Jonathan is Interim Artistic Director at Dallas Theater Center.

Headshot - Playwright Kira Rockwell


Kira Rockwell (she/her) is an Atlanta-based playwright originally from the heart of Texas. Selected plays include Oh to be Pure Again (Actor’s Express, MFA Playwrights’ Workshop, O’Neill Finalist); The Tragic Ecstasy of Girlhood (Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, Princess Grace Award Runner-Up); and Wicked Bitter Beast(s) (Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Southern Writers Festival). She is a recipient of the Judith Royer Excellence in Playwriting Award, second place recipient of the Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, Gene Gabriel Moore Playwriting Award, and more. Rockwell’s work has been developed with The Kennedy Center, NNPN, and Great Plains Theatre Commons, among others. Rockwell is currently under commission with Ensemble Studio Theatre, Actor’s Express, and Moonbox Productions. She holds an MFA in Playwriting from Boston University. Before graduate school, Rockwell worked at the intersection of mental health, youth advocacy, and arts education. Through a trauma-informed, healing-centered lens, she aims to nurture communal spaces that disrupt passivity and empower agency.