Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig
Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig

2015 Finalist

World of Extreme Happiness

Synopsis: Unwanted from the moment she’s born, Sunny is determined to escape her life in rural China and forge a new identity in the city. As naïve as she is ambitious, Sunny views her new job in a grueling factory as a stepping stone to untold opportunities. When fate casts her as a company spokeswoman at a sham PR event, Sunny’s bright outlook starts to unravel in a series of harrowing and darkly comic events, as she begins to question a system enriching itself by destroying its own people.

Trade paperback: published by Methuen Drama. For up-to-date script email agent.

Cast Breakdown: 3 men, 3 women. All Asian.

Set/Costume Requirements: Transformative set, hyper realist costumes that depict characters from rural and urban China.


Agent: Antje Oegel (US) Harriet Pennington Legh (UK)

Bio: Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s plays have been produced by the Goodman Theatre, the National Theatre, Trafalgar Studios 2 [West End], Crowded Fire, Page 73 Productions, Interact Theatre, Borderlands Theatre and the Contemporary American Theatre Festival. Awards her plays have received include the Wasserstein Prize, the Yale Drama Series Award, an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, the David A. Callichio Emerging American Playwright Award and the Keene Prize for Literature. Her plays have been workshopped at the Goodman Theatre, the Alley Theatre, Yale Rep, Seattle Rep, South Coast Rep, PlayPenn, the Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Hedgebrook Women’s Playwright Festival, the Playwright’s Foundation, UC Berkeley and the High Tide Festival. She has received residencies from Yaddo, Macdowell, Ragdale, the Sundance Playwright’s Retreat at Ucross and the Santa Fe Art Institute. She is currently under commission from Manhattan Theatre Club, the Goodman Theatre and the National Theatre. Her play Lidless was a Finalist for the 2010-2011 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.

Frances received an MFA in Writing from the James A. Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin, a BA in Sociology from Brown University, and a certificate in Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Her work has been published by Yale University Press, Glimmer Train, Methuen Drama, Samuel French and Dramatists Play Service. Frances was born in Philadelphia, and raised in Northern Virginia, Okinawa, Taipei and Beijing. She was previously a NNPN Playwright-in-Residence at Marin Theatre Company and is currently a Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Manhattan Theatre Club.