Jacqueline E. Lawton was named one of the top 30 national leading black playwrights by Arena Stage’s American Voices New Play Institute. She received her MFA in Playwriting from the University of Texas at Austin (Hook 'em Horns!), where she was a James A. Michener Fellow. She participated in the Kennedy Center’s Playwrights’ Intensive (2002) and World Interplay (2003). Her plays include: Among These Wild Things, Anna K; Blood-bound and Tongue-tied; Deep Belly Beautiful; The Devil’s Sweet Water; The Hampton Years; The Inferior Sex, Intelligence; Love Brothers Serenade; Mad Breed; and Noms de Guerre.
Lawton’s work has been developed and presented at the following venues: Active Cultures Theatre, Arena Stage, Classical Theater of Harlem, Folger Shakespeare Library, theHegira, Gables Stage, Howard University, Kennedy Center’s Page to Stage Festival, Pasadena Playhouse, Rep Stage, Rorschach Theater Company, Round House Theatre - Silver Spring, Savannah Black Heritage Festival (Armstrong Atlantic State University), Shakespeare Theatre Company, Source Festival, Theater J, and Woolly Mammoth Theater Company. She has received commissions from Active Cultures Theatre, Adventure Theatre - Musical Theatre Center, Discovery Theater, the Hurston/Wright Foundation, National New Play Network, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of American History, Round House Theatre and Theater J. She is published in Experiments in a Jazz Aesthetic: Art, Activism, Academia, and the Austin Project (University of Texas Press).
Lawton has worked as a dramaturg and research consultant at Active Cultures, Actors Theatre of Louisville - Humana Festival of New American Plays, African Continuum Theater Company, the Arden Theater (Philadelphia, PA), Arena Stage, Discovery Theater, Ensemble Studio Theater (New York, NY) Folger Shakespeare Library, the Ford's Theatre, Horizons Theater (Atlanta, GA), Howard University, the Hub Theatre, Interact Theatre (Philadelphia, PA), Kennedy Center VSA Program, Morgan State University, Redshift Productions (New York, NY), Rorschach Theater Company, Round House Theatre, Theater Alliance, Theater of the First Amendment, Theater J, Tribute Productions, University of Maryland, Virginia Stage Company, and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
Currently, she is a Dramaturg at PlayMakers Repertory. Lawton has taught classes on acting, directing, dramaturgy, movement, playwriting, Shakespeare, and solo performance at Arena Stage, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Folger Shakespeare Library, the John F. Kennedy Center, Round House Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Smithsonian Associates, Towson University, University of the District of Columbia, and the Young Playwright's Theatre. Additionally, she has taught theater residencies and professional development workshops to adults and teachers wanting to integrate arts into the classroom. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.
Lawton is a 2012 Theatre Communications Group (TCG) Young Leaders of Color award recipient and an alumna of National New Play Network (NNPN), Center Stage's Playwrights' Collective, and Arena Stage's Playwright's Arena. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a 2018 Institute for Arts and Humanities Faculty Fellowship, 2015-2016 Kenan Institute's Creative Collaboratory Project Grant, two Young Artist Program Grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for Playwriting; the Ellsworth P. and Virginia Conkle Endowed Scholarship for Drama; the Jean McKenzie Schenkkan Endowed Scholarship in Playwriting; and the Morton Brown, Nellie Lea Brown, and Minelma Brown Lockwood Endowed Scholarship in Playwriting. She has been recognized as a semi-finalist for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference and the Playwright's Center PlayLabs. She is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild of America.