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Alliance Theatre Announces Winners of Two New Works Initiatives

The ALLIANCE THEATRE commits extensive resources annually to supporting and developing new work and new artists through two nationally recognized programs - the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition and the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab.

The Alliance today announced the winner and finalists of the 15th Alliance/Kendeda Competition as well as the three projects chosen for development in the 4th annual Reiser Lab.


The Alliance/Kendeda Competition continues to spotlight the best emerging playwrights with a full production for the competition winner and staged readings for four competition finalists.

SHELTERED, by Alix Sobler of Columbia University, is the 15th competition winner and will have its world premiere at Actor's Express (while the ALLIANCE THEATRE undergoes a full renovation) March 1 - 25, 2018.

SHELTERED, a suspenseful story inspired by true events during WWII, tells the story of a couple who make the extraordinary decision to arrange for 50 European children to be given up by their parents and taken to safety in the United States. But after arriving in Europe, the couple must be sure that separating children from their loving homes is actually their best option.

"When I began writing SHELTERED in late 2014, the Syrian refugee crisis was a smaller news item that many Americans didn't even know about. As a playwright, I had researched and written about Anne Frank and World War II refugees, and the stories and photos that were landing in the news caused the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I had seen this before," said playwright Alix Sobler. "I began writing SHELTERED as an exploration into what a person on the other side of the ocean can do in response to such crises, and what does it mean to take action when many people around you don't seem to find it important. Fast forward three years, and our nation is still divided over immigration and on even more fronts. I was grateful that I have already written a play that responds to the very moral crisis we as a country are now facing."

"The developmental support and artistic investment provided by the Alliance will ensure that the play is finessed and ready for an audience," continued Sobler. "The opportunity to be present and active during the rehearsal process is invaluable as a playwright, and the chance to work with established artists will further my education and real world training. But most of all, I am grateful that this important story, which has been gnawing at my heart for years, will reach an audience at the moment when it is most relevant, most urgent, and most likely to make an impression."

SHELTERED will be directed by Kimberly Senior, Director of the original Broadway production of DISGRACED, a 2015 Tony Award nominee for Best Play.

The four finalists of the competition will be heard in staged readings in March 2018 during the Festival of New Plays celebrating new work.

The finalists are:

- ANACOSTIA STREET LIONS by Tearance Chisholm, The Juilliard School

- THE HONEY TRAP by Leo McGann, Boston University

- WHERE THE BUTTERFLIES GO IN WINTER by Tori Sampson, Yale School of Drama

- GRAVEYARD SHIFT by Korde Tuttle, The New School

The Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition solicits plays from the leading MFA graduate programs in the United States and then conducts a rigorous selection process to find four finalists and one winning play. The winner receives a full production as part of the ALLIANCE THEATRE regular season. The winner and four finalists also receive development opportunities for their works including staged readings with industry professionals in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. A one-of-a-kind opportunity for emerging playwrights, the Competition transitions student playwrights to the world of professional theatre. Past winners have become some of today's most exciting writers and playwrights and include Academy Award winner Tarell Alvin McCraney, whose play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue inspired the 2016 Academy Award-winning film for Best Picture, Moonlight; Kenneth Lin, who is currently a writer for the Netflix hit original series "House of Cards," and Susan Smith Blackburn Prize finalist Meg Miroshnik (The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls).

Support for the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition comes from the Kendeda Fund. Other supporters of the competition include The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Lear more about the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition here:


The ALLIANCE THEATRE is pleased to announce the three artistic projects chosen for development during its 4th Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab. Each project will receive $10,000 to use toward further exploration and development, as well as access to the Alliance's artistic, educational, and production staffs, and rehearsal spaces. The lab productions will be presented in free performances in May 2018. It is the goal of the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab to celebrate the breadth and vision of Atlanta-based artists, to encourage collaboration among Atlanta's artistic community, and to seed projects that will be produced here in Atlanta. Since 2013, three projects from the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab have gone on to receive world premiere productions at theaters in Atlanta.

The three projects that were chosen for the 4th Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab are:


Lead Artist: Anthony Lamarr White

Support Artists: Rodney Lamar Williams and Keith Franklin

Project Description: In a small Southern town in the 1970s, a black father born into segregation pushes one of his two sons to succeed and cripples the other with anger and hatred.


Lead Artist: Lee Osorio

Support Artists: Melissa Foulger and Angela Farr Schiller

Project Description: Georgia born artist and activist Javi Ramirez never imagined he'd be running for political office. But with the help of an ambitious campaign manager and the reluctant support of his partner he finds himself in a new spotlight. When Javi's past catches up to him, will his campaign and relationship become irreparably mired in his past or can he find his way into the safety of the Briar Patch? A modern meditation on the story of Br'er Rabbit and the Tar Baby.


Lead Artist: Hank Kimmel

Support Artists: Eric J. Little, Tisha Whitaker, Daphne Mintz, and Kathi Frankel

Project Description: Confessions of Hit Man is a 90-minute drama that explores the nature of duty, forgiveness, and redemption. It is the story of a how two former professional football players try to free themselves from a web that has left them inextricably and destructively linked. The goal of this project is to develop Confessions into a riveting, entertaining, and life-affirming drama that will have an appeal beyond a traditional theatre audience.

Learn more about the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab, including information on how to submit a project for consideration, at

The projects of the 3rd Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab will be heard in free performances May 15 & 17, 2017. The shows and schedule are:


Monday, May 15, 2017, at 2:30 and 8:00 p.m., Black Box Theatre at the Woodruff Arts Center

Lead Artist: Vynnie Meli, Playwright

Support Artists: Justin Anderson, Director; Naima Carter Russell, Actress; and Henry W. Kimmel, Dramaturg; Music by the Acappella Company

Project Description: A young gospel singer from a small southern town goes from the music of praise to the music that pays. Jeremiah, who grew up singing in church, is now singing in arenas for thousands of screaming fans. Fractured by the skin-deep and fleeting nature of his celebrity, he goes back home to win back the woman he loves, and who used to love him. The new musical melds together two popular art forms: Musical Theatre and A Cappella. As one reviewer wrote, the music in A Cappella is "proud, big, soulful, joyous, organic, and unafraid." The show won several awards including the Steele Springs Publishing Award at the prestigious New York Musical Festival, where it was originally produced by Greg Cooper in 2015. The Reiser Lab has given Meli and her team the platform needed for further development to take A Cappella to the next level.


Monday, May 15, 2017, at 7:30 p.m., Rich Theatre at the Woodruff Arts Center

Lead Artist: Patricia Henritze, Playwright/Collaborator

Support Artists: Derreck Kayongo, Performer/Collaborator; Matt Huff, Director/Collaborator

Project Description: Idi Amin, America and a Bar of Soap is a solo show inspired by the life of Derreck Kayongo, the CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. Written by Patricia Henritze and directed by Matt Huff, the play follows Derreck from his childhood in Uganda under Idi Amin's brutal regime, through his experiences in Kenya as a refugee, and finally into the U.S. as an immigrant and ultimately a citizen. In 2011 Derreck was chosen as a CNN Hero for founding the Global Soap project. This non-profit international aid organization recycles discarded soap from hotels and distributes newly processed soap to fight hygiene-related diseases, which is the #1 killer of children in vulnerable populations around the world. While Derreck has an amazing story to tell, this is not a documentary or motivational speech. Derreck's journey is filled with humor and the play has something for everyone: dangerous escapes, spies, firing squads, betrayal, hope and redemption. From refugee to CEO, Derreck has learned how to survive, always turning challenges into triumphs. Derreck performs the show with wit and enthusiasm, reminding us we all live in a world where one person can still make a difference.


Wed., May 17, 2017, at 2:30 and 8:00 p.m., Black Box Theatre at the Woodruff Arts Center

Lead Artist: Mary Lynn Owen, Actor and Writer

Support Artists: David de Vries, Director; Kendall Simpson, Composer; Kat Conley, Set Designer; Rachel Parrish, Dramaturg

Project Description: In the wee hours, a woman bakes bread, determined that her mother's barely legible recipe will finally work. But something is different about this night. Her orderly kitchen becomes a mess of past, present, and future, as the ingredients of Time and Memory keep interfering. Drawers are emptied, discoveries are made, and the bread-baking process - the kneading, rising, punching down, shaping and baking, all in real time - becomes an immediate, unpredictable journey. Like life, you never quite know what you're going to end up with. KNEAD, a semi-finalist for the 2017 O'Neill National Playwright's Conference, is written and performed by Atlanta favorite and Suzi-Award winner, Mary Lynn Owen, with direction by David de Vries, and music by Kendall Simpson.

For more information on the showcase of the third Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab,

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