National New Play Network Announces 2018-19 Awardees

National New Play Network Announces 2018-19 AwardeesNational New Play Network, the country's alliance of professional theaters that collaborate in innovative ways to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays, announces its 2018-19 grant recipients, including the 2018 Smith Prize for Political Theatre, six Producer Residencies, and five Collaboration Fund awards that will support partnerships between multiple Member Theaters, playwrights, and other theater makers in various projects.

>From Executive Director Nan Barnett: "NNPN's impact continues to shape the future of the American theater. These awards will support the creation of new works, sustain new play theaters, and strengthen the skills of new play theater-makers in communities large and small. The Network is excited about the potential of these artist, projects, and partnerships."

NNPN Affiliated Artist Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm received the 13th Smith Prize for Political Theater, established in 2006 by Timothy Jay Smith and a group of socially conscious donors to encourage emerging playwrights to tackle the pressing issues of our times.

Uncle Vanye, Chisholm's proposed adaptation of Chekhov classic, takes on issues of gentrification, exploring our complicated relationships with corporations, community, and social capital in "developing" spaces. For Chisholm, "Uncle Vanya is a story about limitations. It's about people who understand, in their bodies, that they aren't entitled to anything - least of all happiness. But never the less they persevere. In order to truly capture this feeling of hopelessness and endurance the adaptation must center around a black family living in my hometown: St. Louis."

Tearrance has previously participated in NNPN's MFA Playwrights' Workshop in partnership with the Kennedy Center and Stanford University, National Showcase of New Plays, and Rolling World Premiere programs with his play Br'er Cotton.

In 2018-19, four emerging theater-makers will serve as Producers in Residence at NNPN's Core Members: India Burton at Cleveland Public Theatre, Nancy García Loza at 16th Street Theater (Berwyn, IL), Kate Leary at Magic Theatre (San Francisco), and Paige Zubel at InterAct Theatre Company (Philadelphia).

Additionally, two of the current 2017-18 Residents will continue in a second year: Kristin Clippard at Orlando Shakes and Jessica Parks at New Jersey Repertory Company (Long Branch). The program aims to revolutionize the way theaters support rising leaders in the new play field by embedding the selected Residents in Core Member Theaters for 10 months. While immersed in the day-to-day, production, and seasonal operations of a new play theater, Residents learn about NNPN's successful models for collaboration, deepen their connections to the artists and leaders of the Network, and increase their visibility to the field.

The Collaboration Fund was established in an effort to encourage innovative, pioneering, project-based partnerships among theaters in support of playwrights and new plays. Monies are awarded annually on a competitive basis to projects proposed by National New Play Network Core Members, working together with other Member Theaters and playwrights on the development or production of a new work or works. This year, NNPN will support five collaborative projects.

NNPN Core Member Actor's Theatre of Charlotte and Children's Theatre of Charlotte will use NNPN funds to support the simultaneous production of two commissioned plays with a central, parallel theme by NNPN Affiliated Artist Steven Dietz. The Great Beyond, running March 14-April 16, looks at events from the vantage point of and for adults, while The Ghost of Splinter Cove (March 22-April 7) has been crafted to be viewed through the eyes of a child. The collaboration, called The Second Story Project, creates the opportunity for families to see both productions in a single day and deepen their experience with the story and the theaters through access to this range of perspectives.

Core Member B Street Theatre (Sacramento) will use NNPN funds to launch a full-scale New Comedies Festival in June of 2019. After a successful pilot in 2018, B Street will expand the scope of the program, bringing in artists from across the country to be a part of the festival. With an open submission process, the New Comedies festival accepts scripts of all shapes and sizes, including musicals, solo pieces, farces, dark comedies, and political comedies. Four finalists for the festival receive a week-long workshop, followed by two public readings. Ultimately, one of these four finalists will receive a full production in B Street's 2019-20 season.

With the support of funds from the Collaboration Fund, Core Members Cleveland Public Theatre and Borderlands Theater (Tucson) will establish a partnership through the creation of a new work exploring each theater community's relationship to water and environment. This work will address the ways in which both Tucson and Cleveland relate to water, from Cleveland's history as a city on a lake to Tucson's search for freshwater in a desert climate. The artistic teams will work together on the play through hosted residencies and development processes at each theater company.

NNPN will support Core Member Florida Studio Theatre's Women in Playwriting Festival, a week-long event during May 2019, the company's dedicated new play month. Four women playwrights will travel to Sarasota to work on the development of their new work and each have a public staged reading in one weekend. The structure of the workshop will allow each playwright to invest not only in the development of their own work, but also in the work of the other playwrights. The theater will become the bridge between the women to promote collaboration between them, the theater, and to engage FST audiences in the development process.

Core Member Milagro (Portland) will be presenting the second edition of its new works play festival, INGENIO in September 2018, with continued support from NNPN. INGENIO will feature the works of four emerging Latinx playwrights selected through a national open call by teaching artist and playwright Diana Burbano, who will also serve as the program's host and mentor. After a week-long rehearsal period, the plays will be presented in concert readings followed by a feedback session. Throughout the 2018 festival, Milagro and Burbano will also partner with Northwest Theatre Workshop to offer several workshops to the participating playwrights.

Tearrance recently won a Helen Hayes award (the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical) for his play Hooded: Or Being Black for Dummies, which originally ran at Mosaic Theater last season. This year, Tearrance's play Br'er Cotton had a critically-acclaimed production by London's Theatre 503, as well as an NNPN Rolling World Premiere, with productions at Kitchen Dog Theater in Dallas, Lower Depth Ensemble in Los Angeles and Cleveland Public Theatre. Next season, Tearrance will present the world premiere of P.Y.G. at Studio Theater as both playwright and director; the play has previously been developed at the Magic Theater's Virgin Play Festival and at Juilliard.

Tearrance has developed new works with Signature Theatre, Theatre J, Theatre Alliance, and The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. He has held residencies at The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, The Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Djerassi Resident Artists Program and The Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. He was a finalist for the Inaugural Relentless Award and the Theatre 503 Playwriting Award. Tearrance received two of the 2016 National KCACTF awards, the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award and the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award. Tearrance was a part of the Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Rep with his play Anacostia Street Lions. He developed the play Black Lady Authority under the auspices of the Sundance Theater Lab.

Tearrance holds an MFA in Playwriting from the Catholic University of America. He is a recent graduate from the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Julliard, and is a Sundance Institute and Time Warner Foundation Fellow, and a 2050 Fellow at New York Theater Workshop.

The $5,000 Prize is awarded annually as a commission, chosen by the Network, from proposals from NNPN-affiliated early career writers for a play that examines the American body politic. NNPN also compensates a Member Theater up to $2,500 for a developmental workshop of the play, and provides an additional $2,500 to the first NNPN Member to fully produce the resulting work.

Cleveland Public Theatre's mission is to raise consciousness and nurture compassion through groundbreaking performances and life-changing education programs. CPT develops new, adventurous work, and nurtures Northeastern Ohio artists - particularly those whose work is inventive, intelligent, and socially conscious. CPT's acclaimed education programs engage underserved youth and adults in creating new works that speak to contemporary issues, and empower participants to work for positive change in the community.

India Nicole Burton is an actress, director, playwright, and producer. She is a native of Akron, OH and graduated from The University of Akron in 2011 with a BA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis on performance. Upon graduating, India founded Ma'Sue Productions, an African American theatre company located in Akron. She has directed, produced, and performed in several of Ma'Sue's plays and acted as artistic director until 2015. India has worked with many prominent Akron, Cleveland, New York, Atlanta, and L.A. actors, directors, and playwrights. Some of India's acting credits include?Julius Caesar?(Portia),?Booty Candy?(Actor 1), and?An Octoroon?(Dido). India's directing credits include?for?colored girls?who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf (Heads Up Productions),?The Laramie Project?(Heads Up Productions),?Daybreak's Children?(Ma'Sue Productions),?A Happening on Imperial?(Ma'Sue Productions),?O Patria Mia?(Ma'Sue Productions),?Little Women?(Hathaway Brown Theatre Institute), and two short plays produced at Cleveland Public Theatre's Station Hope:?What we could have been?and?Maya: The Poet.?India's assistant directing credits include the 2014 production of?The Color Purple?at Karamu House,?brownsville song (b-side for tray)?at Dobama Theatre, and Cleveland Public Theatre's?Barbecue. She is a 2018/2019 Joan Yellen Horvitz Director Fellow at Cleveland Public Theatre, and is the director of drama at Dike School of the Arts where she trains students in acting and performance, grades pre-K through 8th.?India is currently working on developing and devising an original play about women in the Black Panther Party.

Created to be a theater for people NOT going to the theater, 16th Street was founded in 2007 to serve and give voice to ALL in Berwyn's community: not just for some in our community, but for all. Dedicated to artistic excellence, professionalism (paying artists a decent wage) diversity and affordability, 16th Street exists to encourage debate, discussion and compassion amongst our community through the medium of intimate and diverse theater with the playwright as its central focus. 16th Street is a place where audiences are invited to experience not only their own stories, but to experience their neighbors' stories and stories of "the other."

Nancy García Loza (she/her) is a Mexican American pocha playwright rooted in Chicago and Jalisco. She co-launched and participates in ALTA Chicago's El Semillero: Latinx Playwrights Circle since 2014. Her inaugural play, MACHA: a pocha sister story, was a 2017 finalist for the Theater on the Lake In The Works: New Play Commission. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Theatre Marathon, PEACEBOOK (Collaboraction & Goodman), Saints & Sinners (Collaboraction & Steppenwolf), Black Ensemble Theater (a Community Fighting the Ism's), Joe's Pub at The Public (NYC), Encounter Festival (Collaboraction & Theater on the Lake), Paula Vogel's National UBU Bake-Off (Victory Gardens Theater), and more. In early 2018, she joined HBMG Foundation in Creede, CO for the 2018 National Winter Playwrights Retreat for a workshop and reading of MACHA. In 2017, she was invited to participate in the Fornés Playwriting Workshop (Notre Dame - Greenhouse Theater) and the SWARM artists' residency. This May, she makes her California debut at the New Works Lab Festival celebrating Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble's 15th anniversary with a presentation of her short play Jets, Sharks, and Beckys. Check out her new full-length play Hollywood G.T. Oh during the 2018 El Semillero Public Reading Series of New Work at Victory Gardens - which she developed during El Semillero's 2018 Institutional Residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm. Later this summer, her work will appear in Broken Nose Theatre's Bechdel Fest 6, presented in partnership with Steppenwolf's LookOut series.?

She is a Chicago Dramatists Tutterow Fellow (2018-20), an Artistic Associate with Teatro Vista, the Co-Creative Director of The Alliance of Latinx Theater Artists in Chicago, and serves on the Latinx Theater Commons National Steering Committee since 2013. In 2017, she co-launched an initiative to organize one-stop Pop-Up Semillero Latinx Playwrights Circles in cities across the U.S., with stops in NYC (Primary Stages), Houston (Stages Rep - Sin Muros Festival), and next stops: Minnesota (ALMA), San Francisco, and more. In 2018, she was recognized in TCG's American Theatre Magazine Roll Call Series: 6 Theatre Workers You Should Know. Look out for her upcoming interview on 50 Playwrights Project later this year.

She is beyond thrilled to join 16th Street Theater's family as Artistic Associate and as the NNPN Producer-In-Residence for the 18/19 season, where she will spearhead a playwright-led reading series and festival dedicated to Chicago-based early career Latinx playwrights.

Founded in 1988, InterAct is dedicated to presenting new and contemporary plays that explore the political, social and cultural issues of our time. The company produces four plays annually, and is actively involved in the development of new plays, workshops, and playwright support, as well as cultivating prize-winning writers, championing world premiere work, and creating community partnerships.

Paige Zubel is a Philadelphia-based producer and playwright. During her time in college, she co-founded Ignition Productions, a company that developed and premiered 18 new plays by local Houston playwrights. She has since coordinated other new play development oriented events and readings in both Philadelphia and NYC. She is an internationally produced playwright, with notable productions in her hometown of Houston, TX (In Full Bloom, Gel Us), NYC (The Pull of the Moon, Dead Meat), and Scotland (Under Covers). Her plays and prose have been published by One Act Play Depot, Every Day Fiction, and Hashtag Queer. Zubel is the Artistic Associate of Shakespeare in Clark Park and a member of The Foundry, a Philadelphia emerging playwrights' lab partnered with PlayPenn. She holds a BFA in Playwriting and Dramaturgy from the University of Houston.

Magic Theatre is dedicated to the cultivation of bold new plays, playwrights, and audiences - and to producing explosive, entertaining, and ideologically robust plays that ask substantive questions about, and reflect the rich diversity of, the world in which we live. Magic believes that demonstrating faith in a writer's vision by providing a safe yet rigorous artistic home, where a full body of work can be imagined, supported, and produced, allows writers to thrive.

Kate Leary is a freelance dramaturg and literary consultant. She previously served as Magic Theatre's Literary Apprentice (San Francisco, CA), the Assistant to the Director of the Safe Harbors Indigenous Theatre Collective at La Mama Theatre (New York, NY) and is a Literary Wing member at The Play Company (New York, NY). B.A. Penn State; MFA Columbia University.

Founded in 1989, Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF produces classic, contemporary, and children's plays. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Jim Helsinger and Managing Director PJ Albert, Orlando Shakes has grown into one of the region's most acclaimed professional Equity theaters, garnering national recognition from?The Wall Street Journal's Terry Teachout,?"Hence the high quality of Orlando Shakespeare, a company that deserves to be far more widely known outside Florida."

Kristin Clippard is entering her second year as Producer in Residence for Orlando Shakespeare Theater. She holds a BFA in Acting from Wright State University and an MFA in Directing from the University of Iowa. She trained with Shakespeare & Company, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the former National Conservatory Theatre, and Siti Company. Selected directing credits include The Luckiest People by Meridith Friedman, God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza, Loyalty and Betrayal (a community collaboration based on Julius Caesar), Landless by Andrew Saito, and Champagne Gods by Emily Dendinger. Favorite classic play projects include The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Taming of the Shrew, Measure for Measure, Pericles, Dr. Faustus, and She Stoops to Conquer. Kristin has assisted numerous directors, directed many staged readings of new work, and is a playwright herself. She has served on selection committees for new play competitions such as the Playwrights Foundation in San Francisco, PlayFest at Orlando Shakespeare Theater and the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. She is a member or associate of the Shakespeare Theater Association, Theatre Communications Group, and The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. Kristin has taught theatre to all ages for Valencia College, Anne Arundel Community College, University of Iowa, University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music Preparatory Department, Utah Shakespeare Festival, California Shakespeare Theatre, TheatreWorks, Marin Theatre Company, Word for Word, and more. Formerly, she served as the Directing Fellow at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park in 2015-2016 and was the Education Associate for the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival for several years. Kristin has taught, administered, acted, assisted or directed with theatre companies across the country, as well as many other universities and schools.

The New Jersey Repertory Company is a professional, non-profit theater founded in 1997 by Suzanne Barabas (Artistic Director) and Gabor Barabas (Executive Producer). Located in Long Branch, New Jersey, the theater's primary mission is to develop and produce new plays and to make a lasting contribution to the American stage. In addition, it also seeks to achieve the following: to be a catalyst in the redevelopment and revitalization of its surrounding community; to build and encourage young audiences and inspire interest in theater arts among young people and to nurture the work of writers from diverse backgrounds and build diverse audiences.

Jessica Parks graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts with a BFA in Scenic Design in 2003. Two days after graduation, she started on her first professional job as?prop master for the New Jersey Repertory Company. Six years and over thirty shows later, she became their resident scenic designer in 2009 and made it her artistic home. Since then, she has been dedicated to perpetuating the mission of NJ Repertory of?developing and producing new plays and is very excited to be become a larger part?of this new era for this wonderful company.?Design highlights include:? Butler ?for NJ Repertory?at 59E59 St.?Theaters,?Housewives of Mannheim ?for NJ Repertory at 59E59 St. Theaters, Dan?Lauria's?Dinner with the Boys ?at The Acorn Theater, The Stool at the End of Bar? for The Director's Company at 59E59 St. Theaters. More exerts from her creative journey can be seen at ABOUT ACTOR'S THEATRE OF CHARLOTTE Founded in 1989, the mission of Actor's Theatre of Charlotte is to present, in an intimate environment, bold and innovative new works by contemporary playwrights who share our respect for language and humanity. Our philosophy and goals continue to be the presentation of regional premieres of thought-provoking, challenging and entertaining contemporary plays. Actor's Theatre is committed to producing new works and fostering playwrights both through NNPN and our nuVoices new play festival. As we head into our 30th season, Actor's Theatre of Charlotte is excited to announce that we are now the Resident Theatre Company at Queens University of Charlotte. This new professional and academic partnership will allow ATC the chance to grow and bring new theatrical initiatives to the campus of Queens University.

B Street Theatre is a non-profit, professional theatre company producing primarily new work for adults, families and children. The two-theatre playhouse on B Street in Midtown Sacramento, California is home to the Mainstage Series, B3 Series and Family Series, each created to feature intimate, quality theatre for audiences year-round. Recognized as one of the nation's top professional theatres, B Street Theatre has produced more than 100 new plays, 60 of which are world, national, West Coast or regional premieres. B Street Theatre was originally founded in 1986 by brothers Timothy and Buck Busfield for the purpose of bringing the excitement of live performance to children through the B Street Theatre School Tour. This educational outreach program serves over 200,000 students in Northern California annually. Buck Busfield still serves as the Theatre's Producing Artistic Director. B Street Theatre programs include the Mainstage Series, B Street Theatre Family Series and Family Series Student Matinees (for school field trips), the B3 Series, B Street School Tours, Sketch Comedy, B Street Acting Conservatory and Studio for Young People, and the B Street Theatre Internship program for pre-professional and post-college training. B Street Theatre has produced over 250 professional productions since 1986. 2016 marks B Street's 30th anniversary season.

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