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National New Play Network Announces the Bridge Program

The Bridge Program aims to support work centering BIPOC artists and created using anti-racist practices.

National New Play Network Announces the Bridge Program

National New Play Network has announced the creation of a new program aimed at centering Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) artists and anti-racist practices within its Member Theaters.

While NNPN Member Theaters rebuild the capacity to participate in traditional Rolling World Premieres, NNPN has chosen to leverage the financial resources already set aside for that program in its FY21 budget to incentivize theaters to prioritize programming new work by BIPOC artists by creating the Bridge Program. Whether in development or production, work that is responsive to and in conversation with NNPN Member Theaters' specific communities and the particular issues with which they are grappling can move us closer to our goals of creating an anti-racist and anti-biased space for new plays.

The goals of the Bridge Program are two-fold:

To incentivize NNPN Member Theaters to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays by theater artists who are Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) in their re-imagined 2021 seasons.

To incentivize and support NNPN Member Theaters in developing and implementing anti-racist practices in their production of new plays by, for, about, and with BIPOC theater-makers.

In addition to the financial support the theaters receive, they will also participate in monthly facilitated cohort chats so that they can learn from, hold accountable, and inspire one another throughout the coming months. A quarterly cohort chat for the lead project artists will also be facilitated by NNPN.

"We are proud to activate NNPN's commitment to anti-racism and anti-bias through this new program," said Nan Barnett, NNPN's Executive Director. "The commitment of NNPN's Member Theaters to ensuring their art-making becomes anti-racist fills our organization with hope for what the American theater can become."

Funds originally earmarked for our Rolling World Premiere program - temporarily on hold as NNPN theaters remain closed - have been supplemented by additional funds released from reserves by NNPN's forward-thinking Board of Directors. An additional $20,000 - half of which came as a matching gift from NNPN's founder, David Goldman, means that a total of over $150,000 will be allocated to the 18 projects that comprise the program's first cohort.

Adjudicators for this program selected a cohort of 18 projects from 33 proposals submitted by NNPN Member Theaters. The adjudication committee was comprised of Leslie Ishii, Camille Hayes, Mina Morita, Nan Barnett, Bridget O'Leary, Jacqueline Flores, Sara Norris, Riti Sachdeva, Ron Himes, Joseph Biagini, Naysan Mojgani, Peggy McKowen.

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