SDCF Announces Host Venues for Lloyd Richards New Futures Residency Program

The two host venues are Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles and Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.

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SDCF has announced two host venues for its Lloyd Richards New Futures Residency program: Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles; and Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. In this inaugural year, the company's respective artistic directors, Michael John Garcés and Nataki Garrett, will each mentor a visionary mid-career Black director or choreographer for one year while the resident undertakes their own artistic projects at the host venue.

SDCF announced the creation of the residency program in August, recognizing the need for bold leadership in the midst of the country's racial reckoning, and as regional theatres prepare to reemerge from the pandemic. The goal of this unique and urgently needed program is to forge new alliances between BIPOC artists pursuing institutional leadership and forward-thinking artistic directors contemplating significant changes at their organizations. The two Resident Artists will each receive a $40,000 grant from SDCF. SDCF is now accepting applications from mid-career Black directors and choreographers interested in pursuing institutional leadership. The deadline is 6 p.m. EST on Monday, January 18th. The residencies will begin by April 2021.

As SDCF considers its own role in what this historical moment demands, the Foundation has listened to BIPOC artists about the need for supporting entry into institutional leadership. Through this program, SDCF seeks to respond to that need by positioning more BIPOC artists for leadership roles in the American theatre, and, over time, developing a cohort of artists leading our field's reemergence. The host venue selection committee included Mark Brokaw, Lydia Fort, Kent Gash, Wendy Goldberg, Anne Kauffman, Scott Richards, and Chay Yew.

"The creation of the Lloyd Richards New Futures Residency is an important step in supporting artists who represent the future of our industry's leadership, and I am honored to be part of it," said Nataki Garrett, OSF artistic director. "I know first-hand how rare these development opportunities are for BIPOC artists, and I am thrilled that SDCF's vision will support OSF to continue to center directors in how we rebuild and reimagine the future of American theatre."

The Resident Artist at Cornerstone Theater Company will be a member of Cornerstone's ensemble and senior artistic staff and will have the opportunity to support, develop and helm community-based artistic projects, in accordance with the company's collective, consensus-based organizational structure. At Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Resident Artist will curate, produce, and be on the creative team for projects on O!, OSF's digital platform, and will be part of the OSF's repertory producing team working towards a more sustainable and equitable relaunch of the company's in-person season in 2021. In addition to the $40,000 grant from SDCF, the Resident Artists will each receive health insurance as well as housing and transportation stipends from the host venues.

Said Michael John Garcés, Cornerstone's artistic director, "I am deeply grateful and overjoyed that Cornerstone has been chosen by SDCF as a host theatre for the inaugural Lloyd Richards New Futures Residency. Lloyd Richards is a towering figure and ongoing inspiration in the field who had an enormous influence on the form and me, personally. This important initiative, happening at absolutely the right time, will have a huge impact on Cornerstone, our ensemble, and on me, and, I'm hopeful, on our resident director. I anticipate that they will bring new visions and ideas to the company as we examine our company's history and practice and evolve into an ever better, more equitable organization and make better theatre even more fully rooted in community. In turn, I'm hoping that our methodology for engaged theatre-making will expand and deepen this artist's practice. I am personally honored to be acting as a mentor to a visionary director or choreographer, and to collaborate with them on setting a new course for the company as well as in making vibrant new work."

Lloyd Richards' venerable career began as an actor in 1940s New York. In 1956, Sidney Poitier, a friend and former student, secured Richards an interview with producers to direct Lorraine Hansberry's new play A Raisin in the Sun. Richards' work on the production garnered his first of five Tony nominations for Best Direction of a Play; he won in 1987 for his work on Fences. Richards led the National Playwrights Conference (NPC) at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center for more than 30 years, developing work from hundreds of playwrights. From 1979-91, he was Artistic Director of Yale Repertory Theatre and Dean of the Yale School of Drama. A founding member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), he served as president from 1970 to 1980. He received the National Medal of Arts in 1993.

This grant is made possible with support from Rockstar Games, as well as support through the SDCF fellowship funds named for George C. Wolfe, Mike Ockrent, Shepard and Mildred Traube, Sir John Gielgud, and Reginald H.F. Denham; as well as many generous individuals.

For a full program description, eligibility criteria for Resident Artists, and to apply please visit the SDCF website at


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