Watertown, MA - The National New Play Network, the country's alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays, announced its 2015-16 grant recipients, including the Smith Prize for Political Theatre, the 2015 Annual Commission, two Playwright Residencies, five Producer Residencies, and two Collaboration Fund awards that will support partnership between eight of its members on two productions. In all, NNPN committed over $125,000 to fourteen Core Member Theaters and nine Affiliated Artists.
Executive Director Nan Barnett says, “The board, staff and affiliated artists of the National New Play Network are honored once again to expand the impact of our programs with these announcements. These funds will reach the audiences and artists of communities across the US - from San Diego to South Florida, from Tucson to Atlanta, and from Minneapolis to Dallas and beyond - these NNPN Member Theaters and theater-makers will further the network's vision of revolutionizing the ways theaters collaborate to support new plays."
NNPN Affiliated Artist Jennifer Fawcett received the 2015 Smith Prize for Political Theatre, established in 2006 by Timothy Jay Smith and a group of socially conscious donors to encourage emerging playwrights to tackle the pressing issues of our times. Her project, currently untitled, is a solo show in which a woman is awakened by a telephone call asking her to bake an apple pie for her son, on death row, who has requested it for his last meal. While she bakes it on stage, she reflects on her own role in raising a child who would go on to commit a heinous crime. Fawcett was the NNPN Playwright-In-Residence at Curious Theatre Company, her play The Toymaker’s War was presented at the NNPN National Showcase of New Plays and she has twice developed work at the NNPN/Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights Workshop.
The 2015 Annual Commission was awarded to Core Member Borderlands Theater (Tucson, AZ) and playwright Virginia Grise for her project, a theatrical adaptation of Helena Maria Viramontes’ novel Their Dogs Came with Them, told through the voices of four Mexican-American protagonists in East Los Angeles during the tumultuous 1960s. Says Borderland’s Artistic Director Marc Pinate, “Grise and Viramontes are both exceptional storytellers, award winning artists that write with a trenchant feminist eye towards the racialized histories of the Southwest and Mexico, with mouths full of poetry, anger and desire and I believe the proposed project will find a receptive audience not only in Tucson but on many stages throughout the country.”
NNPN Core Members Curious Theatre Company (Denver, CO) and Horizon Theatre Company (Atlanta, GA) will host Playwrights in Residence Emily Dendinger and trey anthony, respectively, during their 2015-16 seasons, with grant support from the Network. The program was established in 2007 to support playwrights for season-long residencies at NNPN Core Member Theaters. Theaters apply to sponsor an emerging or mid-career playwright selected for his or her talent, artistic vision, and interest in the type of work being produced by the theater. The selected theater provides the resident playwright with an artistic home for a season, while the playwright participates in the life of that theater.
In 2015-16, five emerging theater makers will serve as Producers in Residence at NNPN’s Core Members: Clifton Guterman at Actor’s Express (Atlanta, GA), Jess Hutchinson at Kitchen Dog Theater (Dallas, TX), and Adrienne Boris at New Repertory Theatre (Watertown, MA); as well as Martin Damien Wilkins at Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte (NC) and Addie Gorlin at Mixed Blood Theatre (Minneapolis, MN), who will each be participating in their second year as Resident Producers. The program aims to revolutionize the way theaters support new plays by educating new leaders about collaboration, training early-career producers about successful models, and providing connections to alternative networks.
The NNPN Collaboration Fund was established in an effort to encourage innovative, pioneering, project-based partnerships among theaters in support of playwrights and new plays. Monies are awarded annually on a competitive basis to projects proposed to NNPN’s Executive Committee by National New Play Network Core Members, working together with other member theaters on the development or production of a new work or works. NNPN is grateful that for 2014-15 and 2015-16 additional monies for this program were provided by the Venturous Theater Fund, allowing for an increase in the number of projects and amounts awarded to partnerships. This year, NNPN will support collaborations between Core Members on two projects, the first including Borderlands Theater (Tucson, AZ), Cleveland Public Theatre (OH), Milagro (Portland, OR), Unicorn Theatre (Kansas City, MO), and El Cìrculo Teatral (Mexico City, non-member); and another between Florida Studio Theatre (Sarasota), New Theatre (Miami, FL), and Orlando Shakespeare Theater (FL).
CORRECTION: Clifton Guterman is an Atlanta performer, casting director, instructor and theatre devotee. He has acted off-Broadway, at numerous regional and local theatres and in numerous films, television shows and commercials. Clifton formerly served as the Alliance Theatre’s Artistic Assistant and was Casting Director at Actor’s Express, where he currently is an Associate Artist, teaching artist and advocate. Currently, he holds the position of Executive Associate, Casting Director and Artistic Associate at Theatrical Outfit, Atlanta’s second oldest continually operating professional theatre company. Clifton’s auditioning and industry workshops have been featured at American College Theatre Festival, Southeastern Theatre Conference and Georgia Thespian Conference. He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association, a member of the Atlanta Actors’ Equity Liaison Committee and holds a BA in Drama from the University of Georgia and an MFA in Performing Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Clifton is originally from tiny Iron City, GA. He and his husband, Chad, live in Atlanta’s Grant Park and are obsessed with their two Schnauzers.