Photo Flash: RPR's Cornelia Street Playwriting Award
Rising Phoenix Repertory hosted a reception in honor of Ren Dara Santiago as the first recipient of The Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award. The honor will be presented annually to an emerging playwright of exceptional work ethic, character, and talent.
The award takes its name from Cornelia Street in the West Village, which has been home to the work of some of the nation's greatest playwrights, including Eugene O'Neill, Maria Irene Fornes, Lanford Wilson and John Guare, and was also the location of Caffe Cino, one of the birthplaces of the Off-Off Broadway theatre movement.
The Cornelia Street American Playwriting Award carries a cash prize of $3,500, and includes publication of one of the playwright's works in Rising Phoenix Rep's theatre arts magazine, Caffe Cino.
Ren Dara Santiago is a Fila-Rican playwright from Harlem. Her newest work, Something in the Balete Tree, was written in 2018 with support from Gingold Theatrical Groups' The Speaker's Corner, Clubbed Thumb's Early-Career Writer's Group, mentor-playwright Erin Courtney, and the Playwriting Mentorship Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm, where she was mentored by Adam Bock. The Siblings Play has had development at The Cherry Lane Theatre (Mentor Project), LAByrinth Theater, MCC Theater, Ojai Playwrights Conference, and Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Her short plays include Little Stories for Cino Nights with Rising Phoenix Repertory; Big World for the Ugly Sister benefit show; and Love & Animation for Middle Voice at Rattlestick's Gay Brunch 2013. She is a guest teaching artist at The National Theater Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, a former Artistic Producer and founding member of Middle Voice at Rattlestick, and an eternal member of The Baldwin Project by Lucy Thurber, who has mentored her since adolescence.
Winner of the Lucille Lortel Award, Caffe Cino Fellowship, and New York Innovative Theatre Award, Rising Phoenix Repertory was founded in 1999 by Artistic Director Daniel Talbott, and produces primarily new plays - both in the Indie Theatre and Off-Broadway - in traditional spaces and site-specifically around New York City and regionally. Upcoming productions include Sunshine Evolution by Lucy Thurber (San Francisco in 2020). Recent productions include The Convent by Jessica Dickey (produced with Weathervane and Rattlestick), Thieves (with Weathervane), A Fable (with piece by piece productions and Rattlestick), the Lucille Lortel Award-winning Off-Broadway run of All the Rage (with piece by piece and The Barrow Group), 3C (with piece by piece and Rattlestick), Elective Affinities (produced site-specifically with piece by piece and Soho Rep), Slipping (with piece by piece and Rattlestick), and Too Much Memory (with piece by piece), which transferred to the New York Theatre Workshop's Fourth Street Theatre after winning the FringeNYC award for Outstanding Play in 2008. Rising Phoenix Repertory produces an ongoing series called Cino Nights, inspired by Joe Cino and his Caffe Cino - one of the original birthplaces of Off-Off-Broadway theatre - for which the company has commissioned over twenty playwrights to write new, full-length plays, which are fully produced site-specifically on a shoestring budget. Two volumes of Cino Nights plays have been published by The New York Theatre Experience, and the company publishes an ongoing theater magazine called Caffe Cino (edited by Talbott and Steve McMahon), available in bookstores and online. Rising Phoenix Rep serves as a home base for a company of theatre professionals that encourages an open exchange of work and ideas within the greater theatre community.
Check out photos below:
Photo credit: Samantha Soule
Cornelia Street award recipient Ren Dara Santiago
Adam Bock and Ren Dara Santiago
Alexander Lambie, Ren Dara Santiago, and David Zheng