Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Awards $1.3M In Reopening Grants

SANAZ TOOSSI'S  ENGLISH and VICHET CHUM'S BALD SISTERS named recipients of  2021 Laurents / Hatcher Award of $150,000. 

By: Oct. 13, 2021
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The Trustees of the Laurents Hatcher Foundation (David Saint, President) announced $1,320,000 in grants to theaters across the country in an effort aid in the process of reopening theaters and restarting productions amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Twenty-nine unsolicited awards were given in lieu of traditional grantmaking to specific productions.

"Rather than choosing to reward only specific production grants this year, we decided that all these theatres could more importantly use these surprise reopening grants to help meet the challenges of coming back," said Foundation President, David Saint in a statement.

Recipients of reopening grants include American Conservatory Theater, Alley Theater, Atlantic Theater Company, Barrington Stage Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Center Theater Group, Contemporary American Theater, George Street Playhouse, The Goodman Theater, Guthrie Theater, Hartford Stage Company, LaJolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center Theater, MCC Theater, Manhattan Theater Club, New York Theater Workshop, New York Stage and Film, The Old Globe, Playwrights Horizons, Primary Stages, The Public Theater, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Roundabout Theater Company, Signature Theatre Company, Seattle Repertory Theater, Vineyard Theater, Westport Country Playhouse, and WP Theater.

The Foundation previously awarded more than half a million dollars in emergency grants to sustain theaters in 2020 at the onset of mandated theater closures.

In addition, the Foundation also announced two winners for it's annual Laurents / Hatcher Award to early career playwrights. Sanazi Toossi was named recipient for her play English which will premiere later this season in New York City at Atlantic Theater Company in a co-production with Roundabout Theater Company and Vichet Chum's Bald Sisters will be produced in a future season at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater Company.

Atlantic Theater Company Artistic Director Neil Pepe said "We're so grateful for the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation's support of English. Particularly during this reopening 2021-22 season, it's amazing to receive this award supporting Sanaz's off-Broadway debut. She is an extraordinary young writer and a truly unique new voice in the American Theater. We saw her talent and passion for the craft back in 2018 when she was part of our Middle Eastern MixFest. Now, the many accolades she's received and her upcoming productions recognize her devotion to the craft. We're thrilled to be co-producing this new play with Roundabout; hopefully, this award-winning world premiere will be the first of many for Sanaz."

"We are thrilled to be working with Vichet on Bald Sisters. Vichet has been an artist we've adored and whose work we have admired for a long time. We couldn't be more excited to be bringing audiences back together with this play," said Steppenwolf Artistic Directors Glenn Davis and Audrey Francis.

Each production will receive $100,000 towards expenses and the playwrights will receive $50,000, making this award one of the largest in the country for new plays and early career playwrights.

Special citations of excellence in the amount of $15,000 were also awarded to playwrights Thomas Bradshaw for his play Redemption as well as Diane Exavier's play Bernarda's Daughter's. The latter will receive a premiere at The New Group in the 2022 -2023 season.

2020 Laurents / Hatcher Award Winner Erika Dickerson-Dispenza's cullud wattah opens at The Public Theater next month.