Support From City Of Miami Beach And Major New Funding From Knight Foundation Position Miami New Drama As South Florida's Rising Premiere Regional Theater

Miami New Drama, the groundbreaking company transforming Miami's theater scene, co-founded by artistic director Michel Hausmann, will continue as the resident company at Miami Beach's historic Colony Theatre for five more years. The renewed commitment from the City of Miami Beach will maintain the company at the Lincoln Road theater until 2023.

The good news is amplified by a transformative $750,000 in new support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which will enable Miami New Drama to significantly build its institutional capacity and expand its mission to produce innovative new works. Knight further announced an additional $150,000 to artist Lileana Blain-Cruz, theater director, in partnership with Miami New Drama, as winners of Knight New Work Miami 2018, an initiative focused on supporting ground-breaking new works of performance art. The project will involve a theatrical dramatization of MacArthur Genius award winner Edwidge Danticat's "Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work" that amplifies the Haitian-immigrant perspective.

The Knight awards are augmented by Miami New Drama's first grant from two other leading Miami philanthropic forces, The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at the Miami Foundation, for a new education initiative.

Together, the validation from Miami's leading institutions lift Miami New Drama,barely three years after its launch, to a new level of artistic and organizational status that brings the group significantly closer to its goal of becoming a major regional theater. Artistic director Michel Hausmann says the response shows that the company's dedication to original work which resonates with the city's unique multi-cultural community has inspired audiences and funders alike.

"It's a humbling experience, and it also makes me feel very optimistic," says Hausmann. "The success of our endeavor shows that in Miami we are hungry to define ourown narrative. The Knight Foundation understands that culture is the heart of Miami and they are committed to a new vision for the city. Their support has had a domino effect on fundraising and recognition from other institutions."

"Miami New Drama is known for producing original, groundbreaking theater that reflects the bold spirit of our city," said Victoria Rogers, Knight Foundation vice president for arts. "Supporting its progress and permanence will help to foster more great art in Miami."

"Miami New Drama's innovative, challenging productions push the envelope -- exactly the kind of thing we need more of in the City," said City of Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. "The arts have always been central to Miami Beach, and we are thrilled to be theirlong-term home and support their commitment to making our city a dynamic place to live and visit."

Knight Foundation announced $37 million in new funding to 22 Miami arts organizations on Monday, including $750,000 to Miami New Drama. Miami New Drama was further honored to be a partner in one of just five projects to receive a Knight New Work Miami award. Obie Award winning New York director Lileana Blain-Cruz, raised in Miami by Haitian and Puerto Rican parents, will lead the multi-media production, which will incorporate music and movement to amplify the Haitian immigrant experience, and premiere during the 2020-2021 season.

The project is the first foray into theater for the Little Haiti-based Danticat, and is a dream come true for Blain-Cruz, who has long admired and been inspired by Danticat's writing, and is the latest in a string of artists with Miami roots to do their first projects here with Miami New Drama.

The troupe's commitment to producing innovative new work uniquely relevant toMiami has been supported by two previous $150,000 Knight Arts Challenge grants. The first was for Hilary Bettis' Queen of Basel, which premiered in the spring of 2018; and the second for Cocaine Cowboys, a theatrical version of Billy Corben's acclaimed documentary,which debuts in March of 2019. On January 26th the company will premiere FAKE, a new play about the art world by pioneering Cuban-American playwright Carmen Pelaez, honored Monday as a Knight Arts Champion.

"The nature of new work is that it's incredibly risky," says Hausmann. "This funding allows us to continue to pursue new work that speaks to our community, and engages with diversity in an honest way. As the country becomes more diverse, I think we are helping to imagine a future for the arts."

The $750,000 support from Knight, which will be distributed over five years, is to promote the creation of cutting-edge art in Miami. The monies will go towards an incubator for new plays, increased staffing, and to attract top notch national talent by seeking membership in the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), an association of the country's leading regional theatres, which includes famous names such as the Yale Repertory Theater, Lincoln Center Theater, and The Goodman Theatre. South Florida has not had a LORT theater since the Coconut Grove Playhouse closed in 2006.

These projects will be joined by a new educational effort, thanks to a $50,000 grant from The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at the Miami Foundation. A touring production of the classic Greek tragedy Antigone will bring theater to public school students and use the play as a catalyst for discussion of challenging social and political issues.

For interviews, photos, and information on Miami New Drama's programs and productions, contact Erik Rodriguez at press@miaminewdrama.org or 305-674-1040.

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