Lydia R. Diamond Named Resident Playwright at Arena Stage
Artistic Director Molly Smith announced today, playwright Lydia R. Diamond, whose impressive body of work includes Stick Fly, Voyeurs de Venus, The Bluest Eye and The Gift Horse, among others, will become a resident playwright as part of the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Diamond's yearlong residency will begin Tuesday, October 1, 2013.
"Lydia is a perfect addition to our tribe of resident writers," remarks Smith. "Her plays are provocative, inspiring and relevant. I wanted an opportunity to work with Lydia in a deep and profound way. I know she will take full advantage of this opportunity and I look forward to the new works she'll create."
Speaking about the meaning of this residency to her, Diamond, who was previously a full-time professor at Boston University, reflects, "I love teaching, and will return to it, but have learned that there is great value in being able to step away from 'The Academy' for a while and concentrate solely on the art. I am so grateful to have had a career that has given me access to incredible artistic resources and brilliant people, still my financial reality required that I have a full-time day job in addition to my full-time writing career. Arena Stage has, through this residency, given me the gift of time."
Through the residency Diamond will receive a salary, health benefits, local housing, a development budget to be used at her discretion to cover collaborator fees, workshop costs and research expenses to support the creation of her plays and a commitment from Arena Stage to produce her work and cultivate an ongoing, long-term relationship. Along with Arena Stage Director of Artistic Programming David Snider, she will also receive support from Institute Dramaturg Jocelyn Clarke. Clarke is an acclaimed dramaturg and writer, currently a theater advisor to the Arts Council of Ireland and an associate artist with The Civilians. Clarke was previously the Commissioning and Literary Manager of The Abbey Theatre.
Diamond adds, "I intend to work on several projects including both plays and musicals, and am excited to be already underway with scheduling development workshops at the Mead Center with the resources to include several of my project collaborators and directors. During my time in residency, I also look forward to finding ways to make myself accessible and contribute to the Arena Stage community."
Diamond joins a prestigious group of writers who have benefited through the Institute, including the original resident writers Amy Freed, Katori Hall, Lisa Kron, Charles Randolph-Wright and Karen Zacarías, as well as Samuel D. Hunter, who joined for a yearlong residency in December 2012.
The 2012/13 Institute schedule was continuously full of new work development and engagement with nine formal workshops and all of the writers working on a total of 15 plays and counting. Hunter has created four plays during his writing work at Arena Stage since last December, and will have a workshop leading up to his public presentation as part of the 2013/14 Kogod Cradle Series in February 2014. Following a research trip in Africa, Hall workshopped five plays in five days featuring 19 actors portraying 49 parts (Our Lady of Kibeho, Pussy Valley, 2014, Blood Quilt and Saturday Night/Sunday Morning) at the Mead Center in April; and Freed workshopped her play about the Oneida community in San Francisco as well as completed her play The Monster Builder, which will premiere at the Artists Repertory Theatre later this season. Next month, Arena Stage will premiere Randolph-Wright's Love in Afghanistan and both Kron's Fun Home and Zacarías' Just Like Us-projects they spent time and resources working on during their residencies-will have their official premieres at The Public Theatre and Denver Theatre Center, respectively. For additional information and personal updates from each of the writers, visit: arenastage.org/artistic-development/new-play-institute/residencies.