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Primary Stages Announces Plans for 2022 In-Person Return, Plus New Artistic Development Programs


2021/22 inaugural Creative Access Grant recipients are Tyler Dobies, Roger Q. Mason, Derek Lee McPhatter and Justin Santory.

Primary Stages Announces Plans for 2022 In-Person Return, Plus New Artistic Development Programs

PRIMARY STAGES has announced new artistic development programs, as well as their path towards reopening to in-person theater in Spring 2022.

In this exciting moment of rebirth, Primary Stages has developed an evolved vision for a vibrant creative hub, a welcoming and inclusive community that fosters courageous new work and connects audiences to the art of the written word. To further this, Primary Stages has engaged the staff and board in comprehensive anti-racism work. They are closely examining their personal and professional practices as well as their artistic programming. This core initiative is ongoing as they continue their goal of dismantling exclusionary structures and opening their doors to a more inclusive group of artists and audiences alike.

"The past year was a time of much reflection for Primary Stages. While our doors were shuttered, we had the opportunity to envision what kind of theater we wanted to re-emerge as," said Artistic Director Andrew Leynse. "In addition to the pandemic, our industry went through a seismic change of acknowledging systemic racism and exclusionary practices that has permeated every aspect of our work. In this redefined world, we understood the necessity for transformation. We needed to commit ourselves to creating truly inclusive programming and a company culture that supports and uplifts voices that have been historically shut out. We needed to listen to our community and artists. We needed to more deeply commit to our mission of inspiring, supporting, producing and sharing the art of playwriting."

"Rebuilding begins with playwrights who reflect the vibrant community of New York City. Their work not only addresses the moment we are in but where we are going. These artists are the lifeblood of the American Theater, and after the forced hiatus, they need a platform to come back.

Primary Stages will address this with a range of Artistic Development programs, including existing programs like the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group and new initiatives like the Creative Access Grants, The Echoes Writers Group and Creative Development Grants."

Creative Access Grants

The Primary Stages and Einhorn School of Performing Arts Creative Access Grants are a new initiative providing financial, educational, artistic and community support to playwrights nominated by four culturally specific NYC-based theater companies, providing support to historically underrepresented communities and amplifying the artists and work of these vital arts organizations. Primary Stages is collaborating with Latinx Playwrights Circle, National Black Theatre, National Queer Theater and Pan Asian Repertory Theatre to nominate four 2021/22 Creative Access Grantees who will each receive a stipend and two free classes at Primary Stages ESPA during the Fall and Spring semesters, giving these playwrights resources for their creative and professional development, and expanding their network of connections through support from the Primary Stages ESPA community of fellow artists. As a member of the Primary Stages family, playwrights will have access to free tickets for all Primary Stages productions, talkbacks and artistic events. Playwrights will also be invited to participate in roundtable discussions about their creative process and their experience in the theater industry. The Creative Access Grant program will culminate in public presentations of the artists' works in collaboration with the nominating theater company, celebrating this artistry through our joined communities. Primary Stages hopes for this Grant program to further expand their community of artists and collaborating theaters, developing long-lasting partnerships to ensure that playwrights' voices are supported and amplified.

2021/22 inaugural Creative Access Grant recipients are Tyler Dobies, Roger Q. Mason, Derek Lee McPhatter and Justin Santory.

Creative Development Grants

Creative Development Grants are a new initiative by Primary Stages, offering meaningful support to playwrights whose development process was interrupted by COVID-19. The pandemic not only halted performances, but scores of work in process, leaving playwrights and their work without a space to grow. By supporting artists that Primary Stages believes are voices of change in the industry, they hope to bridge the crisis that we were in and the new future of American theater that they wish to help build. For this pilot program, Primary Stages selected an inclusive cohort of five playwrights whose stories are essential to moving the industry forward, who experiment with the form and celebrate all that theater can do. The playwrights will meet monthly with the Primary Stages Artistic Team over the course of a year to develop a new project of their choosing and on their terms, receiving a stipend for their time.

2021/22 Creative Development Grant recipients include Zora Howard, Matthew Paul Olmos, Jordan Seavey, Charly Evon Simpson, and Susan Soon He Stanton.

The Echoes Writers Group

The Echoes Writers Group at Primary Stages is a year-long educational program focused on finding, nurturing and amplifying the voices of women, non-binary and gender non-conforming artists who are just beginning to discover their theatrical voice. Historically, these artists have faced many barriers to pursuing their work and this group provides the pathway they need to enter the world of playwriting. The first of its kind, Echoes is a place for writers to find, develop and amplify their voice in a supportive and creative community that grows together. Led by the artistic team at Primary Stages, the group is comprised of 10 writers who are just starting to discover their voice and build their craft, particularly those who are interested in learning about the art of playwriting. Each Echoes Writers Group member will receive an honorarium, and the year-long program will culminate with a weekend-long intensive for participants as well as a public presentation of the Group members' works in Spring 2022.

The Echoes Writers Group participates in twice-weekly Mentorship and Sharing Sessions, where writers have the chance to create and develop their own work with professionals who represent a vast array of fields and writing styles. Mentors include Theresa Rebeck, Chisa Hutchinson, Madhuri Shekar, AriDy Nox, Cusi Cram, Brittany K. Allen, Judy Gold, Brenda Withers and Nikkole Salter, and will touch on topics such as Playwriting Fundamentals, Adaptation, Short Form Comedy, Solo Work, TV/Film Writing and more. The Steering Committee includes Kate Hamill, Theresa Rebeck and Madhuri Shekar, and the program will be facilitated by Claudia Acosta.

The Echoes Writers Group is made possible by a generous grant from The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation New ERA Women Writers Program.

As the Resident Off-Broadway Theater Company at 59E59 Theaters, Primary Stages looks forward to returning to in-person productions in the Spring of 2022. Primary Stages is excited to bring back On That Day in Amsterdam by Clarence Coo and peerless by Jiehae Park, which were postponed due to COVID-19, as well as announcing additional programming coming soon. All Primary Stages Subscribers and Partners will be offered free tickets to the shows produced in our 2022/23 Season as an extension of their previously purchased subscriptions.

Primary Stages will continue with its previously announced Living Room Commissions this fall, beginning with BadAss GalBoss Power Hour (Mandatory Meeting - 11/18/2020) written by & starring Kate Hamill and directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel. Presented in association with Jamie deRoy, BadAss GalBoss Power Hour will stream September 22-October 13, 2021. Later in Fall 2021, Undo The Sea, by Jeffry Melnick Award Winner Inda Craig-Galván and directed by Jennifer Chang will also stream as part of the series. More information on Undo The Sea will be announced at a later date.

Primary Stages Living Room Commissions are supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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