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The Civilians Announces Participants in Second Year of Writers Group


The Civilians (Steve Cosson, Artistic Director), the award-winning New York-based theatre company known for projects investigating real-life topics, announces the members of its 2011-2012 R&D writer's group, comprised of theater artists interested in creating investigative theater. The group's emerging and established artists were selected from over one hundred applicants. Participating writers this year will include Jackie Sibblies Drury, Jason Grote, Jon Kern, Alix Lambert, Brandon Miller, Mia Rovegno, and Heidi Schreck

The group will meet biweekly for nine months, during which time each artist will develop a new piece of theater through a creative investigation of a pre-selected subject chosen by each artist. The creative process may include interviewing, community engagement, research or other experimental methods of inquiry. The artists will share and discuss their methodologies and the resulting work with the group, as well as Artistic Director Steve Cosson, R&D Coordinator Annah Feinberg, and The Civilians' multidisciplinary group of Associate Artists. The process will culminate in a public presentation in May of 2012. This is the second season of The Civilians' R&D Program, which will host a New Group of artists each year. The selection process for the next group will begin in spring of 2012.

Founded in 2001 by Steven Cosson, The Civilians has created twelve original works that have been produced Off Broadway and in over 40 cities nationally and internationally, at theaters such as The Public Theater, Center Theatre Group, La Jolla Playhouse, A.R.T., HBO's US Comedy Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival, London's Soho Theatre, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (Fringe First Award, 2006). The company's recent work, This Beautiful City enjoyed a critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway run at the Vineyard Theater in 2009 receiving Lucille Lortel, Drama League and Drama Desk nominations. Gone Missing ran for seven months at Off-Broadway's Barrow Street Theater and was cited by The New York Times as one of the "10 Best Plays of 2007." The Civilians received an Obie in 2004 in recognition of its accomplishments in its first two seasons of work.

The Civilians is just presented the world premiere of You Better Sit Down: tales from my parents' divorce at Williamstown Theatre Festival continues to support the development of The Great Immensity, a new play with music about the environment and the future of the planet which will have its world premiere at Kansas City Rep this February.

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JACKIE SIBBLIES DRURY is a Brooklyn-based playwright. Her play We Are Proud to Present a Presentation ... will have its world premiere at Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater in 2012. Her work has been featured in Victory Gardens' 2010 Ignition Festival as well as a new work festival at The Magic Theatre. She is a graduate oF Brown's MFA playwriting program, where she received the David Wickham Prize in Playwriting. Jackie is a 2010-12 New York Theater Workshop playwriting fellow and a participant in a series of workshops creating performance-based collaborations between artists in New York and Tehran. This summer she was in residence at the MacDowell Colony and participated in The Bay Area Playwrights Festival.

R&D Project: The Archive Project, exploring the possibility, utility, and artistry of documenting one's own life.

Jason Grote is a playwright and television writer based in Brooklyn. His plays include 1001, Civilization (all you can eat), Maria/Stuart, Hamilton Township, Darwin's Challenge, Safe in Heaven Dead, Box Americana, and This Storm Is What We Call Progress. He is a staff writer for the NBC/Dreamworks show Smash, produced by Steven Spielberg, Theresa Rebeck, and Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, premiering in January 2012. Current projects include a a commission from ACT/Seattle about Stalin and Shostakovich and a musical adaptation of1001 with composer Marisa Michelson. His work has been produced and developed at The Museum of Modern Art, The Sundance Theater Lab, Playwrights Horizons, The O'Neill, The Denver Center, New York Theater Workshop, Portland Center Stage, Woolly Mammoth, Robert Wilson's Watermill Center, Page 73, Ensemble Studio Theater, Voices of Change - Festival for New American Plays (Theater Bielefeld, Germany), Clubbed Thumb, The Civilians, The Foundry, Mass MoCA, The Luminato Festival, Soho Rep, The Lark, The Glej Theater (Slovenia), Salvage Vanguard, HERE, The Contemporary American Theater Festival, Baltimore Centerstage, Collaboraction, Theater @ Boston Court, and elsewhere. He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and was the 2006 P73 Playwriting Fellow. His plays have been published by Samuel French and Playscripts Inc., and in The Back Stage Book of New American Short Plays 2005 (edited by Craig Lucas), and his comics debut will take place in the upcoming Significant Objects anthology from Fantagraphics, edited by Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker. He occasionally blogs at, voted one of Time magazine's top blogs of 2010.

R&D Project: An investigation of Stalin and Shostakovich.

Jon Kern's full-length works include Modern Terrorism, or They Who Want to Kill Us and How We Learn to Love Them, Do Not Disturb: a hotel experience, Telefonesis: The Art of Mental Murder, and We in Silence Hear a Whisper. His short plays have been performed at Ensemble Studio Theater, The Brick, The Flea, City Theatre's Summer Shorts festival, and in the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Festival. Graduate: University of Chicago (BA), Columbia University (MFA). Member: the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, The Old Vic New Voices Network, and Ars Nova Play Group. Alumnus: EST/Youngblood. Awards & Grants: 2010-2011 Van Lier Fellowship in Playwriting from New Dramatists, 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Commission, 2010 Heideman Award finalist, 2010-2011 travel grant from the Netherlands-America Foundation.

R&D Project: An investigation into how people confront destructive compulsive behavior, specifically internet addiction, and work to accept that as part of their identity as they move forward. Or, using a completely different set of words, how to get to know yourself in an age of anonymity.

ALIX LAMBERT's feature length documentary "The Mark of Cain" was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award and aired on Nightline. She went on to produce additional segments of Nightline as well as produce 7 segments for the PBS series LIFE 360. Lambert has written for a number of magazines including Stop Smiling, ArtForum, and The LA Weekly, among others, and is an editor at large for the literary journal OPEN CITY. She wrote Episode 6, season 3 of Deadwood: "A Rich Find" (for which she won a WGA award) and was a staff writer and associate producer on John From Cinicinnati. As an artist Lambert has exhibited her work to international critical acclaim, showing in The Venice Biennale, The Museum of Modern Art, The Georges Pompidou Center, and the Kwangju Biennnale, to name a few. Her monograph: MASTERING THE MELON is available through D.A.P. Her book THE SILENCING is available through Perceval Press. Her book RUSSIAN PRISON TATTOOS is available through Schiffer Publishing, and her book CRIME is available through Fuel Publishing. CRIME, USA which she conceived and directed was recently staged at Joe's Pub. Lambert is an associate artist with the Obie award winning theater group The Civilians. She is currently in production on two feature length documentaries: He/She/He (about gender identity in Albania and Samoa) and Mentor (about teen suicide and bullying at Mentor High in Mentor Ohio). She just completed, in collaboration with David McMahon, a feature length documentary: Bayou Blue (about serial killer Ronald Dominique in Louisiana). She recently received an NEA consortium grant in order to produce 2 new works that will be presented at RealArtWays in Hartford Connecticut.

R&D Project: Return from Mars, inspired by a true-life crime mystery set in Brooklyn. Andre Carmichael is haunted by the voice and image of a little girl who he has never met. For health reasons he seeks out his biological mother after having spent most of his youth in foster care, and in so doing he learns the truth about his life.

Brandon Miller is an actor and associate artist of The Civilians. New York/Off-Broadway: Deathbed (Apparition), Armed and Naked in America (Naked Angels), The Attic and Arabian Night (The Play Company), Hannah and Martin (Epic Theatre Center). International: (I Am) Nobody's Lunch with The Civilians (Edinburgh Fringe/London's Soho Theatre), The Green Violin (SPBA, St. Petersburg, Russia). Regional: The Glass Menagerie, Blue and An Ideal Husband (Dallas Theater Center), Family Stories: Belgrade (Market Theater). Feature Film: Adam and Steve. Graduate of Yale Drama School.

R&D Project: An exploration of the American Rehabilitation System.

Mia Rovegno's plays have been developed by P73, Culture Project and New Georges, and produced by Perishable Theater and foolsFURY. She has directed new work for Soho Rep, The Civilians, Ars Nova, The O'Neill, A.R.T., Clubbed Thumb, Partial Comfort, New Dramatists, Dixon Place, Hangar Theatre, Summer Playwrights Rep and others. A co-founder of Street Level TV (nationally syndicated on Dish Network/Free Speech TV), she has edited and produced documentary work with Democracy Now!, The Working Group, and Solday Productions. Mia has performed with Redmoon Theater, Shadowlight, Bread and Puppet, Intersection for the Arts, and others. She is a recipient of the P73 Yale Summer Residency, SDC Observership, and MTC's Jonathan Alper Fellowship; Alum of The Drama League, Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and Lincoln Center Directors Lab; Member of Women's Project Directors Lab and The Jam/New Georges Affiliated Artist. Mia is a graduate of Northwestern and the Brown/Trinity Rep Consortium, where she studied with Paula Vogel, Bonnie Metzgar, Chay Yew and Lisa D'Amour. Former teaching fellow and guest lecturer at Brown; Currently Assistant Professor in the Hunter College Theatre Dept. Recent collaborations: Good Goods by Christina Anderson (O'Neill), The Tenant (Associate Director, Woodshed Collective), The Civilians' Pretty Filthy II (Joe's Pub) and The Divorce Tales Live (WNYC Greene Space). Upcoming: Burnt Umber by Erik Ehn (LaMaMa), We Play For The Gods (Co-creator,Women's Project).

R&D Project: nothin's gonna change my world, an exploration of the dislocated and relocated in search of that mythological place called home.

Heidi Schreck's plays include There Are No More Big Secrets, which premiered at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in 2010, directed by Kip Fagan (Time Out New York and New York Magazine Critic's pick); and Creature, presented off-Broadway in 2009 by New Georges and Page 73, directed by Leigh Silverman. Creature is published by Samuel French and the New York Theatre Review. Her other work - including Stray, Backwards into China, and Mr. Universe - have been developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, Teatro de Facto, The Foundry, The Vineyard Theater, Soho Rep, Printer's Devil Theatre, On the Boards, and National Public Radio. She was the 2009 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow and a member of the Soho Rep Writer's Lab. As an actor, Heidi has worked at the Roundabout Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, Berkelely Repertory Theatre, Center Theatre Group, The Long Wharf, Sundance Theatre Lab, New York Stage and Film, Bay Street Theatre, Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, Clubbed Thumb and Actors Theatre of Louisville. She has received two Obies, a Drama Desk, and the Theatre World Award. Television/Film: Hedda Gabler, Perfidia, The Good Wife.

R&D Project: The Forum. After a series of brutal layoffs at Sutton, McGrath and Feingold, June Se's colleagues intervene to help him save his job and fulfill his human potential through group awareness training.

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