Lark Launches Van Lier Fellowship Program

Lark_Launches_Van_Lier_Fellowship_Program_20010101

Playwright Susan Soon He Stanton and stage director Reginald Douglas were each appointed to a one year residency at the Lark Play Development Center as inaugural fellows in the company's brand-new Van Lier Fellowship Program. These Fellowships will annually support two promising young artists, under the age of 30, in making the leap from training to a professional career in the theater. During their tenure, Douglas and Stanton will work with Director of Onsite Programs and playwright Lloyd Suh, Associate Program Director Suzy Fay to assume a variety of program assignments based on self-defined professional goals. In addition, they will develop their own artistic projects and form relationships with master, mid-career and emerging playwrights and directors from all parts of the world. The Fellowship includes a cash award of $8,000 and use of the resources of Lark's new space in the heart of New York City's Theater District.

Stanton, 29, a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and Yale University's School of Drama, has had her work produced frequently by Kumu Kahua Theatre in her home town of Honolulu, Hawai'i. She was Honolulu Youth Theater's resident playwright last year and is currently a member of the MaYi Writers Lab and the Soho Rep Writer-Director Lab. She and Lisa Rothe, Lark's Director of Offsite Programs & Partnerships, will travel together this spring to Hedgebrook, a writers' retreat for women in Whidbey Island, Washington.

Douglas, 24, is an alumnus of Georgetown University where he was awarded the Misty Dailey Award for Theater Excellence. He has trained and worked at several notable theaters including Second Stage Theatre, Arena Stage, the Shakespeare Theatre Company and McCarter Theatre where he recently served as a directing and producing assistant for Artistic Director Emily Mann's 20th Anniversary season. Reginald works at Young Audiences New York, an organization that provides arts education programming for over 300,000 New York public school students, coordinating the organization's community outreach efforts.

Suh stated, "We are impressed by Reginald's conviction that artists are community leaders and that theater is an important instrument for social change. He speaks passionately about using his work as an urgent articulation and excavation of personal identity. Susan is a writer of great lyricism, precision and intelligence. We're blown away by the depth of her curiosity, the range of her vision and the strength of her voice."

Both Douglas and Stanton agreed that the Van Lier Fellowship will help build skills and networks critical to their future success. Stanton commented, "The most difficult aspect of being a writer in New York is lack of support. It will be invaluable to develop my own work with Lark's resources and, at the same time, to observe work by writers I admire in the programs that I will be helping to run."

Douglas added, "As an emerging director, I am eager to see how different writers and directors take on challenges while expanding my network of collaborators-especially playwrights with whom I hope to work in the future."

Although this is the program's first year at the Lark, The Edgar and Sally Van Lier FundThe New York Community Trust at has been underwriting similar fellowships since 1991 at other New York City organizations including New Dramatists, Second Stage Theatre and the Asian American Writers' Workshop. Ms. Van Lier, the visionary behind the fund, was born into a Hungarian immigrant family at the turn of the century and struggled to launch a career in show business. She got her break in 1923 when she won a beauty contest and was subsequently cast in Florence Ziegfeld's Follies and in his production of Showboat. In later life, the Van Liers-who had no children of their own-took great delight in introducing young people to the arts and providing assistance to those who aspired to careers in the theater but couldn't afford training on their own. To read more about the fund's history, please visit: http://www.nycommunitytrust.org/EdwardandSallyVanLier/tabid/341/Default.aspx.

The Lark Play Development Center, now in its 17th year, is a laboratory for new voices and new ideas. The Lark brings together actors, directors, playwrights and the community to allow writers to learn about their own work by seeing and hearing it, and by receiving feedback from a dedicated and supportive community. The company reaches into untapped local populations and across international boundaries to seek out and embrace unheard voices and diverse perspectives, celebrating differences in language and worldviews. The Lark also plays a leading role in advancing unknown writers and their works to audiences through carefully stewarded partnerships with a host of theaters, universities, community-based organizations and NGOs, locally, nationally and globally. The Lark is led by its co-founder and Artistic Director John Clinton Eisner and Managing Director Michael Robertson. For more information, please visit www.larktheatre.org.

Reginald L. Douglas - Directing credits include: NYC: The Body Washer, Sarah Opts Out, The Hedge Fun, Small World, Cinnamon; McCarter Theatre: Amari's Tomorrow; Washington, DC: Marcus Gardley's epic ...And Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi (DC premiere), The House of Blue Leaves, Brill. Reginald has served as the Assistant Director to many of the leading artists in the field including Tony Award-nominees Emily Mann and Sam Buntrock, Obie Award-winner Daniel Beaty, Michael Unger, Walter Dallas and Ethan McSweeny on the acclaimed American premiere of Ion. Most recently, Reginald assisted Obie Award-winner Peter DuBois Off-Broadway on the world-premiere production of Trust by Paul Weitz starring Zach Braff and Sutton Foster, and worked with Jo Bonney and Lynn Nottage on the premiere reading of Nottage's latest play, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark. He has trained and worked at several notable theaters including Second Stage Theatre, Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company and McCarter Theatre, where he recently served as a directing and producing assistant for Artistic Director Emily Mann's 20th Anniversary season. A nominee for the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation's prestigious Gielgud and Ockrent Fellowships, Reginald is a proud honors graduate of Georgetown University, where he was awarded the Misty Dailey Award for Theater Excellence and awards for Artistic & Administrative Leadership. A passionate advocate for the arts as social change, Reginald works at Young Audiences New York, an organization that provides arts education programming for over 300,000 New York public school students, coordinating the organization's community outreach efforts.

Susan Soon He Stanton - Plays include American Pig Pen (New Century Theatre Company workshop and Astor Street Opry New Works Festival), the things are against us (Yale's Carlotta Festival and RoAn Production workshop), Cygnus (Inkwell workshop), FurballWhatever Happened to John Boy Kihano? (Second Generation Festival and She Speaks Festival). In 2009, Kumu Kahua produced two of her plays in rep, and a remount of Art of Preservation (first produced by Kumu Kahua in 2008). She was awarded the Hawai'i prize and the Pacific Rim Prize by Kumu Kahua. The Underneath, commissioned by Kumu Kahua, was originated at the Yale Cabaret, and workshopped at the Kennedy Center and Unicorn Theater. Susan is Honolulu Theatre for Youth's (HTY) resident playwright for their 2010-11 season. HTY commissioned her to write Navigator, performed on a state-wide tour to over 20,000 children, and she contributed to HTY's multi-writer piece, Where Do Things Go?, on tour in 2011. Edible Restaurant, a musical with composer Greta Gertler was a commission from New Sounds Theatre and performed at Joe's Pub. She is developing an interactive food-based project with Art Party Theater Company. Among her awards is a feature-film development grant and best screenplay award from the Sloan Foundation for Rosalind's Helix. She is a regular contributor for Audrey Magazine. Her training in dramatic writing is from NYU Tisch (BFA) and Yale School of Drama (MFA). She is a member of Soho Rep Writer-Director Lab 2010-2011 and MaYi Writers Lab. She is from Honolulu, Hawai'i.


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