Playwrights' Center Announces 2017-18 McKnight Fellows, New Core Writers

Playwrights' Center Announces 2017-18 McKnight Fellows, New Core Writers

The Playwrights' Center is excited to announce the 2017-18 McKnight National Residency and Commission recipient, 2017-18 McKnight Fellows in Playwriting, 2017-18 McKnight Theater Artist Fellows, 2017-2020 Core Writers and 2017-18 Core Apprentices.

"The five panels have selected an incredible cohort of visionary playwrights and theatermakers," says Jeremy B. Cohen, Producing Artistic Director of the Playwrights' Center. "I'm proud we can offer ongoing support to some artists who have been in the Playwrights' Center fold for a while, as well as welcome many writers to the Center for the first time. It's also significant that 78% of our incoming roster for next year are female artists, including all seven incoming Core Writers."


Mfoniso Udofia

The McKnight National Residency and Commission funds the creation and development of new works and comes with a $15,000 commission, $5,750 in workshop funds, and travel and housing stipends. Past recipients include Kia Corthron, Erik Ehn, Kate Fodor, Karen Hartman, Daniel Alexander Jones, Sibyl Kempson, Craig Lucas, Taylor Mac, Ruth Margraff, Dan O'Brien, Betty Shamieh and Mac Wellman.

The 2017-18 recipient is Mfoniso Udofia, who is writing a nine-play Ufot Family play cycle, of which "Sojourners" and "Her Portmanteau" are running in repertory now at New York Theatre Workshop. Udofia's commissioned play for the McKnight National Residency and Commission is a new play in the Ufot cycle. She is also translating Shakespeare's "Othello" for Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Play on! Project.


Benjamin Benne, Rachel Jendrzejewski

The McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting awards two Minnesota-based playwrights a $25,000 stipend, $2,500 to support play development and other professional expenses, and $1,400 in travel funds. Past recipients include Carlyle Brown, Lisa D'Amour, Barbara Field, Keli Garrett, Jeffrey Hatcher, Christina Ham, Cory Hinkle, Carson Kreitzer, Melanie Marnich, Greg Moss, Kira Obolensky and Dominic Orlando.

Benjamin Benne, a 2016-17 Many Voices Fellow at the Playwrights' Center whose plays include "Terra Incognita," "at the very bottom of a body of water," and "q u e r e n c i a: an imagined autobiography about forbidden fruits."

Rachel Jendrzejewski, a previous Jerome Fellow and Core Writer with the Playwrights' Center whose plays and performance texts have been produced by the Walker Art Center, Red Eye Theater, Public Functionary and others.


Bart Buch, Katharine Horowitz, Regina Marie Williams

The McKnight Theater Artist Fellowships at the Playwrights' Center recognize Minnesota theater artists other than playwrights whose work demonstrates exceptional artistic merit. The fellowship provides a $25,000 award as well as access to $7,000 in development funds to launch a new collaborative theatrical work. Past recipients include Sarah Agnew, Ansa Akyea, Barry Browning, Shá Cage, Sun Mee Chomet, James Craven, Marcus Dilliard, Masanari Kawahara, Christopher Lutter-Gardella, Greta Oglesby, Sonja Parks, Denise Prosek, Joel Sass, Michael Wangen, James A. Williams, Stephen Yoakam, Mathew LeFebvre, Austene Van, and Sally Wingert.

Bart Buch, a puppet director and designer who focuses on interpreting poetry into puppet performances that he calls puppet poems. Buch has worked at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre for 20 years.

Katharine Horowitz, a sound designer known for layered effects and soundscapes who has designed for the Guthrie Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, History Theatre, Mu Performing Arts, Park Square Theatre and many others.

Regina Marie Williams, an actor seen recently in "The Bluest Eye" at the Guthrie Theater. Williams is a Penumbra Theatre company member and a Ten Thousand Things core member, and she originated the role of Nina in Christina Ham's "Nina Simone: Four Women" at Park Square Theatre.


Kim Euell, Allison Gregory, Dipika Guha, C. A. Johnson, Carson Kreitzer, Andrea Stolowitz, Stefanie Zadravec

The Core Writer Program at the Playwrights' Center provides play development workshops and professional support to 25 to 30 playwrights from across the country over a three-year term. Work by Core Writers composes the Center's public season (the PlayLabs new play festival in October and the Ruth Easton New Play Series December through April). Past recipients include Christina Anderson, Trista Baldwin, George Brant, Carlyle Brown, Connie Congdon, Marcus Gardley, Sarah Gubbins, Melanie Marnich, Winter Miller, Greg Moss and Qui Nguyen. Joining the 19 continuing Core Writers are these seven playwrights, whose Core Writer terms will run through June 2020:

Kim Euell (Amherst, Mass.), current Playwright in Residence at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Penumbra Theatre company member, whose work has been developed and performed at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Center Theater Group's Mark Taper Forum, Hartford Stage Company and others.

Allison Gregory (Austin, Texas and Seattle, Wash.), whose play "Not Medea" received a 2016 National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premiere, and whose "Wild Horses" will receive an NNPN Rolling World Premiere in 2017-18.

Dipika Guha (Berkeley, Calif.), whose plays include "Yoga Play," "The Art of Gaman," "Mechanics of Love," "I Enter the Valley" and "Blown Youth." Guha is currently translating Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor" for Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Play on! project.

C. A. Johnson (New York, N.Y.), a Louisiana native whose plays include "Mother Tongue," "The Climb" and "Waitin' on the Moon." In addition to her Core Writer workshop, Johnson will develop "Mother Tongue" at the Playwrights' Center in August as part of a partnership with the Dramatists Guild, where she is a fellow.

Carson Kreitzer (Minneapolis, Minn.), a previous Playwrights' Center Core Writer, Jerome Fellow and McKnight Fellow in Playwriting. Kreitzer is a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow and MacDowell Fellow, and she received a 2016 Jonathan Larson Grant for "Lempicka," a new musical about art deco artist Tamara de Lempicka, written with composer Matt Gould.

Andrea Stolowitz (Portland, Ore.), who is the Lacroute Playwright-in-Residence at Artists Repertory Theater. Stolowitz's "Berlin Diary" was presented recently at both English Theater Berlin and Portland's Coho Theatre, and she is a collaborating writer with devised theater company Hand2Mouth Theater.

Stefanie Zadravec (Brooklyn, N.Y.), whose plays include "Colony Collapse" (Kilroys list, Theatre@Boston Court), "The Electric Baby" (Two River Theater, Quantum Theatre), "Honey Brown Eyes" (Theater J, Working Theater) and "The Boat" (The Working Theater Commission).

These seven new Core Writers join the current cohort: Lee Blessing, Carlyle Brown, Larissa Fasthorse, Barbara Field, Christina Ham, Jeffrey Hatcher, Sherry Kramer, Martyna Majok, Marion McClinton, Meg Miroshnik, Kira Obolensky, John Olive, Jason Gray Platt, Gabrielle Reisman, Harrison David Rivers, Jen Silverman, Mat Smart, Kate Tarker and Alice Tuan.


Kirk Boettcher, Dionna Michelle Daniel, Carlos Sirah

The Core Apprentice program at the Playwrights' Center pairs student playwrights with professional mentors and offers full play development workshops at the Center. Past recipients include George Brant, Ike Holter, Hansol Jung, Kimber Lee, Andrew Saito, Jen Silverman, Lauren Yee and Martín Zimmerman. The 2017-18 Core Apprentices are Kirk Boettcher (Augsburg College), Dionna Michelle Daniel (California Institute of the Arts) and Carlos Sirah (Brown University).

In April, the Playwrights' Center announced the 2017-18 Jerome Fellows (Mia Chung, Jessica Huang, Tim J. Lord, Tori Sampson), 2017-18 Many Voices Fellows (Stacey Rose, Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay) and 2017-18 Many Voices Mentee (Julia Gay). With today's news, all Core Writers and fellows for next season have been announced.

Fellowships at the Playwrights' Center, made possible by the McKnight and Jerome foundations, provide more than $325,000 each year to support 13 to 14 fellows and mentees. In addition, the Center serves as an artistic home for 25 to 30 Core Writers on three-year terms. All fellows and Core Writers are selected by independent panels of theater professionals.

The Playwrights' Center also supports close to 2,000 member playwrights around the world and runs a robust series of partnership programs building relationships between playwrights and producing theaters.

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