NNPN Annual Commission Awarded to Cleveland Public Theatre and Nikkole Salter

Jan 10, 2017

Washington, D.C. - The National New Play Network, the country’s alliance of nonprofit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays, announces the 2016-17 Annual Commission is awarded to Core Member Cleveland Public Theatre (OH) and playwright Nikkole Salter. The supported project is, as yet, untitled and will concern the consent decree created in May 2015 between Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, the Cleveland Division of Police, and the U.S. Department of Justice. This agreement, designed to address the excessive use of force of Cleveland’s police, is one city’s response to an issue that pervades many metropolitan areas across the country.

In what will be the third collaboration between Ms. Salter and Cleveland Public Theatre, the play will explore the dense layers of human experience that form the context and inform the response to the issue of Cleveland’s historically strained relationship between the police force and the citizenry. Says Cleveland Public Theatre Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan, “In this moment of transformation for our city and our country, we are eager to see what Nikkole creates. Her voice is both bold and subtle, laying out powerful truths and then layering in unexpected discoveries as her work unfolds. She guides audiences down the path of self- and social critique until even long-held beliefs and biases begin unraveling.”


The National New Play Network Annual Commission is chosen from projects nominated by Core Members and selected by NNPN’s Board of Directors. NNPN awards at least one $10,000 commission each year, and the theater that nominated the winning proposal is responsible for the administration and development of the commissioned play. Commissioned playwrights agree to grant the right of first refusal to produce their play to all NNPN Core Members in their respective markets, and pay royalties to the Network only after reaching a predetermined level of income from the play.


Cleveland Public Theatre’s mission is to raise consciousness and nurture compassion through groundbreaking performances and life-changing educational programs. CPT develops new, adventurous work; and nurtures Northeastern Ohio artists — particularly those whose work is inventive, intelligent, and socially conscious. CPT’s acclaimed education programs engage underserved youth and adults in devising new works that speak to contemporary issues and empower participants to work for positive change in the community. cptonline.org


Hailed by Variety as “thoroughly convincing,” Los Angeles-born, Obie Award-winning actress and writer Nikkole Salter arrived onto the professional scene with her co-authorship and co-performance (with Danai Gurira) of the Pulitzer Prize nominated play, In the Continuum (ITC) for which Ms. Salter received an Obie Award (2006), the NY Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Award for Best New American Play (2006), the Seldes-Kanin fellowship from the Theatre Hall of Fame, and the Global Tolerance Award from the Friends of the United Nations.

Since then, Ms. Salter has written 6 full-length plays, been produced on 3 continents in 5 countries, and been published in 12 international publications. Her work has appeared in over 20 Off-Broadway, regional, and international theaters, and the Crossroads Theatre production of her play Repairing a Nation (Kilroy’s Honorable Mention) was aired on the second season of the WNET program “Theatre Close-Up.” Ms. Salter is a 2014 MAP Fund Grant recipient, a Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist, a two-time Playwrights of New York (PoNY) Fellowship nominee, is currently working on commissions from Woolly Mammoth, NJPAC/Luna Stage, and was selected to write the screen adaptation of Claude Brown’s New York Times Bestselling novel, Manchild in the Promised Land.

Ms. Salter is an active member of the Actors Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Dramatists Guild, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Theatre Communications Group. She received her BFA in theater from Howard University and her MFA from New York University’s Graduate Acting Program under the tutelage of Zelda Fichandler and Ron Van Lieu. nikkolesalter.com