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New York Stage and Film Announces Founders' Award and Pfaelzer Award Recipients

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Kirya Traber is the recipient of the 2020 Founders’ Award, and Estefanía Fadul has been named the 2020 recipient of the Pfaelzer Award.

New York Stage and Film Announces Founders' Award and Pfaelzer Award Recipients

New York Stage and Film has announced Kirya Traber as the recipient of the 2020 Founders' Award, which provides financial support and administrative resources for a summer residency, as well as access to the NYSAF artist community. Estefanía Fadul has been named the 2020 recipient of the Pfaelzer Award, created in honor of Producing Director Johanna Pfaelzer's 20-year commitment to nurturing artists and their developing stories at New York Stage and Film.

"Long term residencies are embedded in NYSAF's history of serving artists with flexible, responsive resources. With the expansion of the Founders' Award and establishment of the Pfaelzer Award, visionary artists will have more agency to curate how they work," said Artistic Producer Liz Carlson.

"Activating voices who can shift access and opportunity is one way we are dedicated to expanding the scope of possibilities at NYSAF," added Artistic Director Chris Burney.

On the 10th Anniversary of The Founders' Award, NYSAF is expanding its scope to provide financial and administrative support for a project for which the recipient will be the sole curatorial voice. Kirya Traber has created and will co-facilitate with organizer and healer Adaku Utah: Chrysalis - A Black Healing Project. The project will provide facilitated group convenings, one-on-one relationship building between theater makers and healers, and financial support.

Chrysalis - A Black Healing Project:

What is freedom beyond structural oppression, beyond whiteness? Throughout time, Black people have answered these questions through ritual, the griot, the liminal realm between what we embody and what we imagine. Chrysalis invites Black theater artists and healers to weave alchemy and (re)imagine how healing might be a transformative and generative force in their lives and in Black communities.

Chrysalis participants include theater makers Troy Anthony, Nissy Aya, Gethsemane Herron-Coward, jeremy o'brian and Ianne Fields Stewart, and healers Donnay Edmund, Tiffany Lenoi Jones, Nico Le Blanc, Shamilia McBean and Emily Waters. The program is assisted by Tiffany N. Robinson. Please visit here for all Chrysalis participant bios:

Additionally, Traber will work on her play Lucky through readings, dramaturgical consultation with Lisa Marie Rollins, and expanded writing time.


It's 1999 and someone said the world might end this year, but Cece isn't sure she cares. She's 14 going on 15, and she's already over everything. Here, on the Mendocino coast, where the ancient redwood trees meet the vast Pacific Ocean, nothing ever changes anyway. Except... the mill did close last year, and a lot of her mom's friends have gotten into "farming" (*cough* growing weed *cough*), and there have been a lot more wildfires this summer, and maybe everybody seems to be a little more on edge than usual. But other than that, nothing really ever changes... except she did meet this guy, this black guy, at a party other day. Her best friend Luce says he looks like a dirty soiler, and a drug dealer, but for some reason Cece can't stop thinking about him. So that's definitely different. But other than that. Nothing ever changes, and maybe if the world did end, things would finally get interesting.

The Pfaelzer Award is selected in consultation with Johanna Pfaelzer and the recipient receives artistic and administrative support for projects of their choosing throughout the year, culminating in a residency during NYSAF's summer season. The residency is meant to include a reading, workshop, or other developmental activity that best supports the artist and their work. The recipient will be actively involved with the rich community of NYSAF artists and artistic staff and has the opportunity for project mentorship from Ms. Pfaelzer.

Estefanía Fadul's projects include Agent 355 with music, lyrics and book by Preston Max Allen; book and dramaturgy by Jessica Kahkoska; and music direction by Madeline Smith; and Carla's Quince, a bilingual immersive virtual event, created collaboratively with The Voting Project Ensemble.

Agent 355

The Culper Spy Ring famously helped George Washington win the American Revolution, but there's one secret they never revealed: the identity of their sole female member, Agent 355. Now for the first time since 1783, a punk-pop band will finally reveal the truth about the unknown woman who helped America's first spy ring "outwit them all." Challenging a history written by men, Agent 355 explores the never-before-told stories of real Revolutionary women whose stories, sacrifices, and secrets shaped the nation.


KIRYA TRABER (Founders' Award Recipient 2020; Playwright; Chrysalis Co-Facilitator) is a nationally awarded writer, performer, and cultural worker. Her plays include Lucky (in development, New York Stage and Film 2020), If This Be Sin' (excerpted, Musical Theatre Factory + Joe's Pub 2020), and Both My Grandfathers, (workshop, Lincoln Center 2015). She is the recipient of a NY Emmy Nomination (First Person PBS), a Robert Redford's Sundance Foundation award for Activism in the Arts, an Astrea Foundation award for Poetry, and the New York Stage and Film Founders' Award. She has been a commissioned artist of notable New York arts institutions such as the New York Philharmonic, Lincoln Center Education, WNET Thirteen, the Morgan Library & Museum, the Orchestra of St Luke's, Ping Chong + Company, and others. Throughout her ambitious performance and writing career, Traber has continuously utilized her art for social change as a cultural organizer.

Bios for Chrysalis Co-Facilitator Adaku Utah, Chrysalis participants, and dramaturg Lisa Marie Rollins may be found at:


ESTEFANÍA FADUL (2020 Pfaelzer Award Recipient; Director) is a NYC-based Colombian-American stage director and producer, focusing primarily on new plays and musicals. Current work includes Carla's Quince, created with The Voting Project Ensemble, and La Paloma Prisoner by Raquel Almazán (Next Door @ NYTW). Recent directing includes Christina Quintana's Azul (Southern Rep) and Scissoring (INTAR), Stefan Ivanov's The Same Day (Sfumato Theatre, Bulgaria), Preston Max Allen and Jessica Kahkoska's Agent 355 (Chautauqua), and James Anthony Tyler's Pranayama (Juilliard). Estefanía has developed new work at The Public Theater, Playwrights' Realm, Long Wharf, Drama League, Repertorio Español, Artists Repertory Theatre, Milagro, and Musical Theatre Factory, among others. Alumna: O'Neill/NNPN's National Directors Fellowship, Foeller Fellowship at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Drama League Fall Fellowship and TV Directing Fellowship, Van Lier Fellowship at Repertorio Español, and NALAC Leadership Institute. She is a co-leader of the New Georges Jam, and a member of the Latinx Theatre Commons steering committee, the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and SDC.

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