The Sol Project Launches in Partnership with Rattlestick, The Public & More

The Sol Project is a New York-based theater initiative, founded by Artistic Director Jacob G. Padrón with a collective of actors, directors and producers, to help raise the visibility of Latina/o playwrights in the American Theater

. Over the course of several years, the project will utilize a synergistic network of Off-Broadway companies and regional theaters to develop and produce works by a cohort of 12 emerging and established writers. This launch comes with the announcement of the project's first production and inaugural theater partnership - the world premiere of Hilary Bettis's Alligator, directed by Elena Araoz, with New Georges at the ART/New York Theatres, in November 2016.

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Public Theater, Labyrinth Theater Company, Atlantic Theater Company and Women's Project Theater join New Georges as the first six of 12 trailblazing theater companies that have signed on to present a Sol Project playwright as part of their respective main stage seasons. "This endeavor represents a fulfillment of the American Theater's promise to be a space for all American stories. I am deeply moved by the commitment of these institutions to help lift up our Latina/o playwrights and put them in dialogue with the most respected theater-makers, creating the new American canon, for a new American Theater. A spirit of generosity animates our work as we share our cultures and communities through our stories," says Padrón. Once each work receives a premiere in New York, regional partners will commit to the continuing life of each play with subsequent productions.

Padrón conceived the Sol Project after the 2013 Latina/o Theater Commons National Convening, where he realized that if there was to be true representation of Latin stories on America's stages, more had to change on a local level for Latina/o playwrights. Considering the influence New York's vibrant theater scene has on many regional theaters, he formed the initiative to activate and unite the Latino theater community in New York, with the ultimate goal of seeding change nationwide. "Creating more opportunities for our writers and inciting a shift of this scale is not possible without our pillars, dedicated Latina/o theater companies like Pregones and INTAR, who have been supporting these artists for years; they truly paved the way for us," says Padrón.

Susan Bernfield, Producing Artistic Director of New Georges, said, "The Sol Project model is so smart, and designed for maximum impact, on our field and on our art form. Climbing aboard Jacob's vision of a more all-embracing American theater was a no-brainer for us, and working with him for the past year, watching him bring so much energy and passion to launching this vital initiative, has been a privilege," Padrón adds, "I have the deepest gratitude for our first partner company, New Georges, for taking the leap with me."

Bettis's Alligator is a play about twin orphans from the Florida Everglades. The play weaves together sex and enemies, blood and whiskey, hope and murder. Bettis merges the raw, visceral energy of a grungy rock club into the story, asking the question: How do we truly love one another in the face of our deepest, darkest monsters?

The production of Alligator at New Georges will coincide with the 2016 Latina/o Theatre Commons NYC Convening on December 1-4, hosted this year by The Public Theater, which will also serve as the third producing partner. "We are proud to be part of the initial cohort of Sol Project partners," said The Public Theater's Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "The Sol Project is an inspiring and exciting example of theater artists creatively organizing to change the field, and the world. Here's to more!"

The productions will engage not only writers, but also directors and designers from the Latina/o community and other communities of color. Through these productions, the project will create national, regional and local dialogues between and within theaters and general public based on the Latino community's experiences and stories, impacting the artistic community and broader society.

"It takes a village to make any piece of theater. The Sol Project, with its innovative structure and committed partner theaters, has created an expanded village that gives a platform to Latina/o voices that have not been heard as loudly as they deserve. I look forward to getting to know the other work that the partner theaters will be producing and imagine that this initiative will inspire other communities to create similar models," said Daniella Topol, Artistic Director of Rattlestick Theater Company.

The inaugural members of The Sol Project's Honorary Board are: Tony and Drama Desk Award-nominated singer and actress, Daphne Rubin-Vega; Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Junot Diaz; rising stage and screen star, Raúl Castillo, who co-starred in Looking; Jeff Award-winning actress and first Latina to be invited to the ensemble of Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Sandra Marquez; prolific stage and screen actor, John Ortiz, who co-starred in the Oscar-winning Silver Linings Playbook; Artistic Director of Pregones Theater, Rosalba Rolón; Obie-winning actress, Diane Rodriguez, who was recently appointed to the National Council of the Arts by President Obama; and more to be announced.

The Sol Project can be found online at www.solproject.org.

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