CPT Awarded $50,000 Joyce Award Grant – Commission Will Stage New Work With Artist Lisa Langford

CPT Awarded $50,000 Joyce Award Grant – Commission Will Stage New Work With Artist Lisa Langford

The Joyce Foundation announced today that Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) has been awarded a $50,000 2019 Joyce Award that supports collaborations between artists of color and arts and cultural organizations throughout the Great Lakes region. This award includes a $15,000 commission fee awarded directly to Lisa Langford.

Cleveland-based playwright, Lisa Langford, will stage a new play with Cleveland Public Theatre entitled Rastus and Hattie. Set in the near future, the play takes a page from the story of a real human-like robot developed by Westinghouse in the 1930's. The robot, designed with brown skin and clad in overalls, was to be a prototype of a fleet of time-saving laborers.

Langford's modern-day play, set for a world premiere at Cleveland Public Theatre in the fall of 2019, will revisit this historical moment to confront the nexus of race and history, and underscore the need for deeper human interaction, compassion, and understanding. Langford and CPT will work with a broad cross-section of community partners to develop the new work and stage performances throughout Northeast Ohio.

"For years Cleveland Public Theatre has been supporting Lisa Langford's work," said Raymond Bobgan, CPT's Executive Artistic Director. "We believe she is one of the most important voices emerging in American theatre and we are thrilled to be receiving this support - and for Lisa to be receiving the prestige of this award. We know from experience that significant financial awards to artists have exponential impact on our communities."

Lisa Langford, 2019 Joyce Award Recipient says: "I'm so excited to share this award with CPT. It's especially meaningful because, like CPT, it supports and recognizes the impact of artists of color in their communities."

To date, the Joyce Awards have granted $3.5 million to commission 65 new works connecting artists with cultural organizations throughout the Great Lakes region. The award is used to support artists in the creation and production of a new work and provides the commissioning organization the resources needed to engage potential audiences, new partners, and their larger communities.

"These grants will allow the art organizations to commission accomplished artists in theatre and book arts to produce new work that will have a profound impact on Cleveland's communities of color," said Tracie Hall, director of The Joyce Foundation's Culture Program. "The grants will not only stage new works, but the ability to engage local community members in the development of the pieces will deliver greater meaning for the city and greater Ohio."

The other 2019 Joyce Awards winners include Playhouse Square Foundation, with theatre artist Kaneza Schaal and award-wining author and illustrator Christopher Myers; Milwaukee's TRUE Skool, with pioneering female hip-hop artists, Ana "Rokafella" Garcia, Cita "CHELOVE" Sadeli and Aja Black; the Lao Assistance Center in Minneapolis with poet Bryan Thao Worra; The Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and visual artist, Emmanuel Pratt; and Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois Chicago with Mexican visual artist, Adela Goldbard.

To view a video on the Joyce Awards, please click here.

For more information on the Joyce Awards and the Joyce Foundation, please visit www.JoyceFdn.org.

ABOUT THE JOYCE FOUNDATION The Joyce Foundation is a nonpartisan, private foundation that invests in public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region. The Joyce Foundation supports policy research, development, and advocacy in five areas: Education & Economic Mobility, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention & Justice Reform, Democracy, and Culture. The Joyce Foundation has budgeted 2018 charitable distributions of $50 million on assets of approximately $1 billion.

ABOUT Lisa Langford Lisa Langford earned a BA in Modern European History from Harvard University and an MFA in playwriting from Cleveland State University. Lisa's play Rastus and Hattie was also selected for the National New Play Network (NNPN) National Showcase of New Plays in Sacramento, California, December 2018. Her play, The Art of Longing, was a finalist for the Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women Performance Writers and a semifinalist for the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's 2017 National Playwrights Conference; it was produced in the Fall of 2018 at Cleveland Public Theatre. Lisa was also a finalist in NYC's The Playwrights Realm's Scratchpad Series and selected for the National New Play Network's Cross Pollination Project. Her ten-minute play, The Bomb, about the Black Lives Matter movement, is published in the anthology, Black Lives, Black Words. She is the 2018/2019 Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellow at Cleveland Public Theatre.

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