Heather Woodbury First Winner of Spalding Gray Award

By: May. 09, 2006

Performance Space 122 announced that Heather Woodbury is the recipient of the first Spalding Gray Award. The award is a special commission created in Spalding Gray's honor by Performance Space 122 in New York and UCLA Live, University of California, Los Angeles' public performing arts program. The recipient of the award will receive a full production in the upcoming seasons at P.S. 122 and UCLA Live, as well as a stipend for its creation.

The recipient was announced at P.S. 122's Spring Gala on May 4 which featured an exclusive celebrity reading preview of Leftover Stories to Tell, the upcoming program crafted from excerpts of Spalding Gray's classic work and previously unpublished writing to be performed at Performance Space 122 in New York from May 31-June 4, and presented by UCLA Live at the Freud Playhouse at U.C.L.A. in Los Angeles from June 14-18.

Woodbury is an accomplished writer/performer and the acclaimed creator of the multi-part, 10-hour solo play what ever (An American Odyssey in 8 ACTS). "With its eight parts performed over four evenings, what ever has been compared to the work of Charles Dickens and James Joyce for its ambitious narrative scope and the sweeping range of characters portrayed. Subsequently published as a book entitled what ever: a living novel, Woodbury's work continues to gain accolades not only as a performance but as a work of literature," according to press notes.

Currently, Woodbury is developing a new multi-part work, Tale of 2Cities: An American Joyride on Multiple Tracks. Another American epic, Tale of 2Cities, recounts two milestone acts of urban erasure -- demolition of Ebbets Field when the Dodgers left Brooklyn and the contemporaneous destruction of Chavez Ravine in Los Angeles. Using the development process she honed with whatever, Woodbury is creating a play that will be performed by a multi-racial cast to traverse times and places over the course of 50 years of American History. With a cast of seven performers, Tale of 2Cities, schedule to run in Los Angeles and New York in September and October respectively, represents a creative departure from Woodbury's solo works. She is the founder and artistic director of Fomenting Arts Unlimited, Inc. and is a noted lecturer as well as writer.

The Spalding Gray Award is a new commissioning award created in his honor by P.S. 122 and the UCLA Live Performing Arts Program. "The Award will support gifted writer/performers who fully realize both aspects of Gray's legacy, who are fearless innovators of theatrical form, who reach into daily experience and create resonant, transcendent work that makes us all bigger, wider, wiser and, somehow, more than we were when we entered the theater."

Monologist Gray considered P.S. 122 a creative home-base, and it is still home to his signature desk. Gray developed and created Morning, Noon and Night, Gray on Gray and Interviewing the Audience at P.S. 122, where he was working on Life Interrupted at the time of his death.

P.S. 122 is a not-for-profit arts center serving the New York city dance and performance community. P.S. 122 has become a major contributor to the cultural life of New York City and has achieved national and international recognition as one of this country's most important and innovative alternative presenting organizations.

UCLA Live is dedicated to radical, genre-bending collaborations and the development of new work. UCLA Live is the country's largest university-based performing arts presenter. Visit www.uclalive.org for more information.


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