Anne Washburn is a graduate of Reed College and New York University (MFA.) Her plays include 10 Out of 12, Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, A Devil at Noon, and Orestes. Her work displays themes of meta-theatre, Greek theatre, and the collapse of civilization, and dark comedy. Mr. Burns was nominated for a Drama League Award. She has been awarded Guggenheim, NYFA, and Time Warner fellowships, the Whiting Award, PEN/Laura Pels Award, and Herb Alpert Award. She was a Susan Smith Blackburn finalist and received residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo. She is a member of 13P and an alumna of New Dramatists. She has been influenced by Stephen King’s The Strand, Euripedes’ Orestes.
Washburn grew up in the 80s, during the second wave of cold war nuclear hysteria. She said, “I was an anti-nuclear kid. I had the ‘no nukes no cows’ buttons.” At 12, she considered protesting at Diablo Canyon, a local reactor. Living in the Bay Area meant that she also lived with the fear of earthquakes that could cause devastation.
She received her break in writing radio plays in Portland. Following this, she moved to New York to study screenwriting and playwriting, where she was taught by Tony Kushner and developed a working relationship with Steve Cosson of The Civilians. In 2003, Apparition opened in New York and ran for several weeks. The next year, she joined a group of 12 other playwrights, called 13P, which produced one play by each other their writers. Her plays continued to be performed across the country. Collaboration with The Civilians led to the development and production of Mr. Burns.
Of The Strand, Washburn said, “The Stand is a vast book I really adore. I first read it when I was 16 and have re-read it a number of times since; the first half—where civilization falls apart and the few people to remain struggle to negotiate this new landscape—is especially fun and the first act, especially, is very influenced by it.”