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Playwrights Horizons Announces Artists' Relief Fund, Offering $1000 Grants to 135 Theater Artists


50% of all Funds Raised by the Organization Between December 1 and the End of the Year Will Go Toward this Artists’ Relief Fund.

Playwrights Horizons Announces Artists' Relief Fund, Offering $1000 Grants to 135 Theater Artists

Playwrights Horizons today announced an Artists' Relief Fund offering $1,000 grants to 135 theater artists, and continuing the organization's work centering artists' needs and well-being amidst the turmoil brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 50% of all funds raised by Playwrights Horizons between Giving Tuesday (December 1) and the end of the year will be allocated to the relief fund. Funding for the grants also includes proceeds from Jeremy O. Harris' hit presentation of the acclaimed Playwrights Horizons production of Will Arbery's Heroes of the Fourth Turning, directed and produced by Danya Taymor.

The Artists' Relief Fund aims to address the loss of expected income suffered by the community of theater-makers who have kept the ecology of the non-profit new play landscape thriving in our city. With these grants, Playwrights seeks to help as many artists-working in all capacities within the theater world-as possible as they enter 2021 and what are likely to be many more months of uncertainty, ensuring an equitable balance of the many disciplines which contribute to developing and producing new work. Artists who have been part of the fabric of the NYC non-profit theater community, and who have been working in the field for a minimum of three years, are eligible, and can fill out a simple application at beginning December 14 at noon EST. The organization encourages applications from people of all races, sexual orientations, gender identities, ages, classes, and religions, and people with disabilities.

Applications will be open from December 14 at noon Eastern through December 20 at 11:59 PM, or until the organization receives 600 applications, whichever comes first. They will be reviewed for eligibility by the Playwrights Horizons staff, and a selection committee-which will include a scenic designer, a stage manager, an actor, a playwright, a director, and two members of Playwrights Horizons' staff-will first convene January 4. All applicants will be notified of their status by February 12.

Playwrights Horizons Managing Director Leslie Marcus says, "Since the start of the pandemic, Playwrights Horizons has found numerous ways to continue engaging artists and audiences with vital work-the type of innovative writing we showcase, in normal times, onstage. We're proud to have created a host of new programs even when we've been asked to stay in place physically and, most importantly, to have paid artists to keep creating. As we enter 2021, artists and theater practitioners are more financially burdened than ever before. We are committed to providing what is truly needed-help to get through this time-to as many people as possible."

Playwrights Horizons Artistic Director Adam Greenfield says, "2020, with its hardships and revolutions, is not a time for 'pause'- it's a time that calls for questioning, reflection, reawakening, and reimagination. How do we continue supporting the theater-makers who, year after year, fill our stages with vital, transformative work and loving craft? I'm hopeful that theater will return to our lives soon like an explosion, demanding we see it with renewed awe. In the meantime, we're working to support the artists and practitioners who will lead the way. We need to keep our community whole so that when we re-enter our theaters in a swell of pent-up artistry, we'll be doing it together."

In a joint statement, Danya Taymor, Jeremy O. Harris, Will Arbery, and the company of Heroes of the Fourth Turning say, "New York City is a new play town, and it takes an intricate community to bring new work to life: directors, playwrights, actors, designers, stage managers, dramaturgs, technicians, and administrators. We are thrilled to combine funds and forces with Playwrights Horizons to create the Artist Relief Fund. As artists, we feel the urgency to funnel much-needed resources into the hands of the invaluable community members who create the lush and fertile landscape necessary to keep new work thriving in New York City. We hope our collective work inspires other institutions to partner with artists to provide resources, relief and creative ways to move forward."

The Artists' Relief Fund expands the scope of Playwrights Horizons' multi-pronged approach to sustaining their artistic community since the pandemic brought in-person theater-making to a halt, and further exposed the glaring inequities and missing support systems within American society, including our artistic institutions. Another initiative recently launched by Playwrights is their new literary magazine, Almanac. Established at a time of pandemic and protest, Almanac is a publication in which a theater and the artists who comprise it come together to take stock of contemporary American politics, culture, and playwriting. In the spring, Playwrights introduced its podcast Soundstage, an anthological scripted audio fiction series that the organization began developing two years ago, and that offers "world premieres from world-class playwrights without having to leave your home" (The New York Times). Each episode of Soundstage is a theatrical work commissioned expressly for the medium. Writers in the first season, which has found listeners across the U.S. and in 50 other countries, have included Heather Christian, Robert O'Hara, Jordan Harrison, Qui Nguyen, Lucas Hnath, Milo Cramer, and Kirsten Childs. For Season 2, Playwrights has commissioned Eboni Booth, Agnes Borinsky, Sheila Callaghan, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, The Debate Society, Sarah Gancher, David Greenspan, Miranda Rose Hall, Dave Harris, Julia Izumi, Melissa Li, Tommy Pico, and Kit Yan.

Playwrights Horizons also launched its virtual Master Classes, which have included presentations from Will Arbery, Jaclyn Backhaus, Clare Barron, Heather Christian, Raja Feather Kelly, Aleshea Harris, Larissa Fasthorse, and Michael R. Jackson (all of which are available to view on-demand here). Streamed live on YouTube, free of charge, Playwrights Horizons' Master Classes are lecture-style, interactive presentations that appeal to a wide range of participants. They aim to offer emerging and experienced writers and artists inspiration and techniques to inform their own practice, as well as to equip audiences with an expanded set of tools to engage with new plays. Additionally, the theater has launched several other initiatives aimed at supporting theater-makers, including a free, financial literacy program with a professional financial planner; and information about remote freelance work opportunities and emergency grants.

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