Thesis Play by Playwriting Alumna Emma Stanton ’16 Receives Premiere Production at Portland Playhouse

February 24, 2019

No Candy, a play by playwriting alumna Emma Stanton ’16 received its premiere production recently at the Portland Playhouse. The play is about a multi-generational community of Bosnian Muslim women who survived the Srebrenica genocide and, years later, opened a gift shop for tourists who visit the Srebrenica memorial. The story explores how trauma inhabits the body and shapes a community, it is also about the persistence of humor, art, and absurdity in an unimaginable time. The production was directed by Tea Alagic and ran from from January 16 – February 10, 2019. This new work was also presented to enthusiastic acclaim as part of the 2017 Fall Reading Series. 


“My writing of No Candy stems from a need to respond to what is happening—and what has always happened—to women during war and ethnic conflict. I felt inadequate to form a response. But I started thinking about the Bosnian War, and what happened in Srebrenica: where 8,000 Muslim men were killed and the women sexually assaulted and tortured,” Stanton said, “As the play began to unfold, it became very important not to focus on the trauma but on how a community of women moves forward. In her conversations with me, Bosnian artist Sejla Kameric, who was a teenager at the time of the war, insisted on the duality of lightness living alongside atrocity and trauma. That during the war, there were sunny days, babies being born, Nirvana blasting through teenager’s headphones.”


Emma Stanton is a Chicago and New York playwright. Her work has been developed and produced by Roundabout Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theater, Goodman Theatre, American Theater Company, Walkabout Theater, Red Tape Theatre, Oracle Theatre, Dixon Place, Chicago Dramatists, New Dramatists, the 2016 ATHE Conference, and the 2017 Great Plains Theater Conference. Written collaborations include Mother of Smoke (Walkabout Theater & Red Tape Theatre), Cure (Walkabout Theater Company), Storm (Walkabout Theater Company & London’s Moon Fool), and Circle-Machine (Oracle Theater). Her ten-minute play, In the Danube, was a recipient of a Civics and Arts Foundation Playwriting Award for Emerging Artists in Chicago and a Finalist for the 2016 Heideman Award at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Recently, Emma was a finalist for the 2016 Susan Glaspell Award, a winner of the Columbia University/Roundabout Theater Underground Reading Series, the recipient of the 2016 Jane Chambers Feminist Playwriting Award, and the recipient of the 2016 Princess Grace Award Playwriting Fellowship, which includes a year-long residency at New Dramatists. Emma is currently developing her play, June in the Parade, at the Goodman Theater, where she is a member of the 2016-2017 Playwrights Unit. BA: Boston College; MFA: Columbia University.