HowlRound and the Mellon Foundation Announce 13 Playwrights Joining National Playwright Residency Program

By: Jun. 23, 2020
Enter Your Email to Unlock This Article

Plus, get the best of BroadwayWorld delivered to your inbox, and unlimited access to our editorial content across the globe.

Existing user? Just click login.

HowlRound and the Mellon Foundation Announce 13 Playwrights Joining National Playwright Residency Program

HowlRound Theatre Commons has announced it has been awarded a three-year, $1,336,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support HowlRound's core programs and the continuation of the National Playwright Residency Program (NPRP), funding thirteen new playwright residencies in nine states.

"We couldn't be more thrilled for this support that will help us continue to amplify progressive and disruptive ideas about the theatre, and to deepen the impact of our core programs," shared HowlRound Director and Co-Founder Jamie Gahlon. She continued, "In this period of acute devastation for individual artists, the questions posed by The National Playwright Residency Program remain urgent: How do we pay our artists equitably? Can we trouble the status quo and re-think the relationships between artists and institutions? In this moment of vast transformation and precarity, what does it mean to make a playwright essential and centered in a theatre institution?"

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and HowlRound launched NPRP in 2013 as an intervention into the traditional relationships between artists and institutions, and a way of reimagining what institutions might look like when an artist's voice is at their cores. Residencies are collaboratively imagined and designed by playwrights and host theaters, and the grant funds three years of full-time salary and benefits for awarded playwrights, as well as discretionary artistic development. Host theatres commit to mounting at least one full production by the award playwright in the time of the residency.

NPRP Cohort Three includes the following thirteen residencies across ten cities:

· J. Nicole Brooks/Lookingglass Theatre Company - Chicago, Illinois

· Carlyle Brown/Illusion Theater and School - Minneapolis, Minnesota

· Star Finch/Crowded Fire Theater & Campo Santo - San Francisco, California

· Virginia Grise/Cara Mía Theatre Co. - Dallas, Texas

· Basil Kreimendahl/Rattlestick Playwrights Theater - New York, New York

· E.M. Lewis/Artists Repertory Theatre - Portland, Oregon

· Murielle Borst-Tarrant/La Mama Experimental Theatre Club - New York, New York

· Psalmeyene 24/Mosaic Theater Company - Washington, District of Columbia

· Betty Shamieh/The Classical Theatre of Harlem - New York, New York

· Regina Taylor/Repertory Theatre of St. Louis - St. Louis, Missouri

· Cori Thomas/The Women's Project & Productions - New York, New York

· UNIVERSES (Mildred Ruiz-Sapp and Steven Sapp)/Connecticut Players Foundation - New Haven, Connecticut

· Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay/Theater Mu - St. Paul, Minnesota

These artists and theatres join the following residencies which were renewed from Cohort Two and announced in November 2019: Madeleine George/Two River Theatre, Red Bank, New Jersey; Kirsten Greenidge/Company One Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts; Lauren M. Gunderson/Marin Theatre Company, Mill Valley, California; Rehana Lew Mirza and Mike Lew/Ma-Yi Theatre Company, New York, New York; Taylor Mac/HERE Arts Center, New York, New York; Herbert Sigüenza/San Diego Repertory Theatre, San Diego, California; and Vera Starbard/Perseverance Theatre, Douglas, Alaska. Gunderson said of the new cohort "This incoming group of writers and theaters are visionary folx that will offer such excellence, uplift, and forceful storytelling to the American theatre. I'm overjoyed to be in their company."

HowlRound and the Foundation have worked closely with grantees to document the impact of this program, as well as with outside evaluators to measure its success. The program assessment shows that the NPRP model positively impacts playwrights and host theaters in many ways, including by removing financial burdens felt by freelance playwrights and centering the artist in administrative conversations. HowlRound and the Foundation are committed to studying outcomes and shifting the program as needed to push the field forward by reimagining the relationship between institutions and artists, as well as modeling the collaborative effort between field leaders and funders.