Page 73 Announces Bleu Beckford-Burrell as 2021 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow

Page 73 Playwriting Fellows receive financial resources (including $10,000 as well as a developmental budget of up to an additional $10,000) as well as creative support.

By: Jan. 11, 2021

Page 73 Announces Bleu Beckford-Burrell as 2021 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow

Page 73 has named Bleu Beckford-Burrell the 2021 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow. An Interstate 73 writers group member who was first invited to work with Page 73 in their 2017 Summer Residency, Beckford-Burrell is also one of the playwrights granted 11-day virtual residencies this season. Her ongoing relationship with Page 73 is characteristic of the company's multifaceted approach to fostering the work and careers of playwrights who have yet to have their Off-Broadway debut-and of the artistic exploration enabled by such extended engagement. Her residency will culminate in a New Play Conversation on January 21, featuring an excerpt of her play La Race, a panoramic work mining issues of local politics, race, and gentrification in Far Rockaway.

Page 73 Artistic Director Michael Walkup says, "Bleu treats the stage as a very large canvas to tell stories and she populates them with characters-often from her hometown of New York City-whom you want to get to know. She's always on the lookout for human folly and keeps a sharp eye on her characters; no one gets off easily, which in Bleu's work sometimes leads to comedy and sometimes to tragedy. Bleu will use the resources of the fellowship on multiple projects, and specifically to develop a play she's been really wanting to write, taking a big risk with a work that uses the spectacle of theater in ways she hasn't explored as much before. We're excited to be supporting her at this moment of exploration, and proud to continue to deepen our work with such a talented playwright."

For the first time in the Fellowship's history, Page 73 this year provided an honorarium of $1,000 for all five of its finalists. In keeping with this responsive approach to the needs of these extraordinary times, they are also for the first time ever doubling their fellowship: 2020 Fellow Emma Goidel (who co-founded the Philadelphia-based company Orbiter 3 and was also in the 2020 Interstate 73 writers group with Beckford-Burrell) will continue into a second year of the Fellowship program and receive a second annual stipend of $10,000. Both Beckford-Burrell and Goidel will be able to continue their Fellowships until it is safe to convene, and meet with collaborators, in person-so their works can be activated however they may choose.

Walkup explains, "At the beginning of Emma's Fellowship we talked about her past experience making devised theater in Philadelphia, and we were excited to use the Fellowship year to introduce her to new artists in New York, and create workshops that would have elements of this tactile, collaborative process, but with Emma sitting in the playwright's chair. We had this hope and plan for something that became the opposite of how theater could be made during a pandemic. The Fellowship aims to be transformative for a playwright's career, and recognizing what happened in the theater industry in 2020, we needed to self-reflect to ensure that we delivered on that potential for Emma. The value of getting in a room with a director and professional actors is one of the core opportunities of the Fellowship, and we're not going to call it complete until both Bleu and Emma have had that opportunity."

Each year, for the Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship, a new Fellow receives artistic and financial resources to develop one or more new plays of their choosing. They are honored with an unrestricted award of $10,000 and a development budget, managed by Page 73 and the Fellow over the course of the Fellowship year, up to $10,000. This additional budget can be personalized to support the Fellow's proposed project and can include such expenses as research, workshop and reading presentations, and fees for collaborating artists. The Fellows will work with Page 73 on at least one public presentation of their new play, bringing in artistic collaborators such as directors, designers, and actors.

2021 marks the 18th year of Page 73's most prestigious award, annually supporting a playwright who has yet to have a professional premiere in New York City. Previous Fellows include Sanaz Toossi (2019), C.A. Johnson (2018), John J. Caswell, Jr. (2017), Hansol Jung (2016), Nick Gandiello (2015), Clare Barron (2014), Caroline V. McGraw (2013), Max Posner (2012), Janine Nabers (2011), Eliza Clark (2010), Heidi Schreck (2009), Tommy Smith (2008), Krista Knight (2007), Jason Grote (2006), Quiara Alegría Hudes (2005), and Kirsten Greenidge (2004).

Not long after two recent Page 73 productions-Michael R. Jackson's Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop (co-produced with and presented at Playwrights Horizons) and Zora Howard's STEW-garnered immense critical and audience acclaim, the pandemic struck; continuing on the same course became, for the entire theater world, an impossibility. Staying true to their mission despite disruption, Page 73 has decided to focus on their fundamental aim of supporting groundbreaking playwrights whose voices the New York theater community at large has yet to hear. Through programs including the Fellowship, the Interstate 73 writers group, and its recently announced series of 11-day playwrights residencies, Page 73 aims to help playwrights ready work for a time when audiences return to theaters-and can fully appreciate conversation-stirring theater that reaffirms the vitality of the form that, in this pause, has been so missed. The organization recently launched their Time Capsule, a collective journaling project drawing on the keen observation of playwrights to create a virtual record of experiences from this moment that will be unlocked in five, and again in ten, years.

About Bleu Beckford-Burrell

Bleu Beckford-Burrell is a first-generation Jamaican-American actor/playwright. Born and raised in New York City, she also works for non-profit organizations where she teaches acting to teens. Her plays include: P.S.365 (2019 O'Neill Finalist), showcased at EST (Youngblood Workshop Series) and The National Black Theatre (Keep the Soul Alive reading series); Lyons Pride (2018 BAPF, Princess Grace Award Finalist, 2019 The Kilroy's Honorable Mention, and Yale Drama Series Runner Up), showcased at Playwrights Realm (Ink'd Festival of New Plays) and EST (Bloodwork Reading Series); La Race (2020 Normal Ave Finalist and O'Neill, BAPF Semi-finalist,) upcoming showcases at Faultline Theatre (Irons in the Fire) and Page 73 (Virtual Residency). She is a member of the Interstate 73 Writers Group and a Colt Coeur resident. She received the Playwrights Horizons Jody Falco & Jeffrey Steinman Commission for Emerging Playwrights (2020) and has been nominated for South Coast Repertory Elizabeth George Emerging Writer Commission (2021). M.F.A. Rutgers University.


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