NNPN Awards Over $100,000 for Residencies, Commission and Collaboration Fund
The NATIONAL NEW PLAY NETWORK (NNPN), the country's alliance of more than seventy non-profit theaters that champions the development, production, and continued life of new plays, will award grants of over $100,000 for residencies, a commission, and production support through the Collaboration Fund in 2014/15.
"National New Play Network continues to serve our Members, their affiliated artists and the audiences of America and beyond by supporting the development of new plays," says NNPN Executive Director Nan Barnett. "We are delighted to be able to increase the capacity of our theaters with funds for collaborating with artists and each other, providing opportunities within our communities and across the field."
In 2007 NNPN established the Playwright-in-Residence program to support playwrights for season-long residencies at NNPN Core Member theaters. In 2011 a similar program was launched to provide early-career producers with hands-on experience in small and mid-sized new-play theaters across the country. The Residents selected for the program will receive a stipend of $14,000, and the host theater will receive a small stipend for overhead. Additionally NNPN will provide nearly $10,000 in travel funds for the residents to learn from and engage with each other and with NNPN members throughout the year. 2014-15 NNPN Residency recipient theaters and theater-makers are:
- Actor's Theatre of Charlotte (Charlotte, NC) / Martin Wilkins (Producer-in-Residence)
- InterAct Theatre Company (Philadelphia, PA) / Maura Krause (Second Year Producer-in-Residence)
- Marin Theatre Company (Mill Valley, CA) / Rob Lutfy (Producer-in-Residence)
- Mixed Blood Theater (Minneapolis, MN) / Addie Gorlin (Producer-in-Residence)
- Phoenix Theatre (Indianapolis, IN) / Tom Horan (Second Year Playwright-in-Residence)
NNPN's oldest initiative is its Commissioning Program, which has awarded twenty-three commissions since the Network's founding in 1998. A $10,000 Commission has been awarded to a proposal from Denver's Curious Theatre Company for Meridith Friedman to write The Luckiest People, a play which explores the great dichotomy of the father-son bond, which she believes is "a relationship of profound awe and unparalleled fear." Commission proposals are nominated by Core Member theaters and voted on annually by the Network's Board of Directors.
The Collaboration Fund was established in 2010 in an effort to encourage innovative, pioneering collaborations among theaters in support of playwrights and new plays: a passionate belief in the value of institutional collaboration is the strength behind NNPN and its programs. This Fund strives to encourage greater innovation among its members, thereby expanding pipelines for new plays and playwrights of merit. The 2014/15 Collaboration Fund, which is supported in part by the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation, goes to two exciting projects with a grant of $7,500 each.
Inspired by modern research into robotics and artificial intelligence, Uncanny Valley by Thomas Gibbons is set in the near future. While the heart of the play resides within the dramatic parameters of a character-driven relationship and its inherent tensions and related conflicts, one of its two characters is an android which is built at each performance as the audience watches. This presents a unique challenge for the four design and creative teams of Contemporary American Theater Festival (Shepherdstown, WV), InterAct Theatre Company (Philadelphia, PA), San Diego Repertory Company (San Diego, CA) and Capital Stage Company (Sacramento, CA). This grant will allow the partner theaters to consult with an illusionist and stage technicians, and provide for travel opportunities to allow each theater's artists to work together on ways to produce this exciting effect.
The second grant will fund a week-long showcase of new work by New Jersey writers (living in, or hailing from, New Jersey) that will be presented at the South Orange Performing Arts Center as part of the NJ Theatre Alliance Stages Festival in March of 2015. The week will include performances by the artists of NNPN Members Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey (Madison), New Jersey Repertory Theatre (Long Branch), Passage Theatre (Trenton), and Centenary Stage (Hackettstown), as well as four other New Jersey theaters that focus on new work (Premiere Stages, Luna Stage, The Growing Stage, and Midtown Direct Theatre).