McCarter Theatre Center Receives NEA Grant for New Play Development

McCarter Theatre Center is a recipient of an Art Works grant of $35,000 to aupport the McCarter LAB, a year-round creative incubator that provides key support to writers at all stages of their careers, cultivating meaningful artistic relationships and original works for McCarter's main stages and future co-productions. National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $30 million in grants as part of the NEA's first major 2017 funding announcement.

Fostering the development of new plays, adaptations, musicals and investigations into the classics, the LAB consists of readings, workshops, the Sallie B. Goodman Artist Retreat, commissions, and the annual LAB Spotlight Production. It also provides McCarter's audiences with an exclusive window into the creative process. Most McCarter LAB programs take place in the intimate and flexible performance studio located within the Roger S. Berlind Theatre. New work developed at McCarter have included pieces by such renowned playwrights as Christopher Durang, Danai Gurira, Heather Raffo, and more.

Below, check out a short video interview with such McCarter-associated playwrights as Ken Ludwig, Ayad Akhtar, Lydia Diamond, and more!

"The arts are for all of us, and by supporting organizations such as McCarter Theatre Center the National Endowment for the Arts is providing more opportunities for the public to engage with the arts," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "Whether in a theater, a town square, a museum, or a hospital, the arts are everywhere and make our lives richer."

Emily Mann, McCarter Theatre Center Artistic Director and Resident Playwright, added: "I am honored to see McCarter's new play development work recognized with such a generous grant from the NEA. Over the past 25 years, the McCarter LAB has grown into a year-round program that provides writer-centric development supporting approximately 20-25 projects each year, reflecting the passion and commission of new works and the artists who create them."

LAB SPOTLIGHT - In 2017, McCarter will produce a McCarter LAB Spotlight production of Noura by Heather Raffo. Spotlight productions are fully-realized small-scale productions, providing a new play with all the benefits of a professional cast and design elements presented in the intimate Berlind Theatre performance studio. Two previous LAB Spotlight Productions, Tarell Alvin McCraney's The Brothers Size and Danai Gurira's Eclipsed, have gone on to numerous full-scale productions.

COMMISSIONS - The LAB commissions new plays from playwrights across the country. Since the inception of McCarter's commissioning program in the late 1990s, McCarter has commissioned a total of 30 plays including Edward Albee's Me, Myself and I; Christopher Durang's Miss Witherspoon and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike; Beth Henley's Ridiculous Fraud; and Stephen Wadsworth's translations and adaptations of Pierre Beaumarchais' The Figaro Plays. The theater anticipates awarding new commissions to two playwrights and will continue four in-process development commissions to Christopher Durang, Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare, Rachel Bonds, and Heather Raffo. Over 80 percent of McCarter-commissioned plays have been professionally produced on an American stage.

ARTIST RETREAT - The annual Sallie B. Goodman Artists' Retreat takes place every spring providing 9-12 artists with 10 days of uninterrupted time to work, build relationships with peers, and recharge. Recent retreat participants include Ayad Akhtar, Rachel Bonds, Nilo Cruz, Chris Durang, and Jiehae Park.

WORKSHOPS AND READINGS - Workshops and readings take place throughout the year and are driven entirely by the needs of the artists and their individual projects with most readings being made open to the public. A centerpiece of McCarter's LAB readings is the annual "In the Writer's Voice," an evening of writers and composers
reading and performing excerpts from their works-in-progress. "In the Writer's Voice" is always free and open to the public.

For more information about The McCarter LAB, visit

McCarter is supported by Princeton University, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and over 3,000 individuals, corporations, and foundations. McCarter Theatre is located at 91 University Place in Princeton, NJ. For more information, visit

For more information on projects included in the NEA grant announcement, visi

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