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Theatre for a New Audience Receives $50K NEA Grant to Support Two Dramas

In its first 50 years, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) awarded more than $5 billion in grants to recipients in every state and U.S. jurisdiction, the only arts funder in the nation to do so.

On December 8, the NEA announced awards totaling more than $27.6 million in its first funding round of fiscal year 2016, including an Art Works award of $50,000 to Theatre for a New Audience in support of two landmark dramas produced in repertory, both dealing with life-shattering spousal conflict: Thornton Wilder's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and a new version in English by David Greig of August Strindberg's The Father. Associate Artistic Director Arin Arbus directs both productions, and John Douglas Thompson is set to play Torvald and The Captain.

The two plays will be performed in repertory from April 30 through June 12, 2016 at Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn.

The Art Works category of the NEA supports the creation of work and presentation of both new and existing work, lifelong learning in the arts, and public engagement with the arts through 13 arts disciplines or fields.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said, "The arts are part of our everyday lives - no matter who you are or where you live - they have the power to transform individuals, spark economic vibrancy in communities, and transcend the boundaries across diverse sectors of society. Supporting projects like the one from Theatre for a New Audience offers more opportunities to engage in the arts every day."

Arin Arbus, TFANA Associate Artistic Director, has directed six productions of Shakespeare for the company, including acclaimed stagings of Othello and Macbeth. For the first time for TFANA, she will direct two provocative contemporary classics about marriage in rotating repertory - Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, in an adaptation by Thornton Wilder not seen in New York since its Broadway premiere in 1937, and August Strindberg's The Father in a new version in English by David Greig (Strindberg's Creditors at BAM), commissioned by TFANA. Strindberg wrote The Father as a direct rebuttal to Ibsen's A Doll's House, fulminating against Ibsen's tale of a woman bravely escaping a stifling bourgeois marriage. Lean and fresh translations will support this sense of enduring contemporaneity. This is the first time the two plays will be performed in repertory in the English-speaking theatre. John Douglas Thompson returns to TFANA, following his award-winning performance in Tamburlaine the Great in the 2014-2015 Season.

A Doll's House is also sponsored by Deloitte. Endowment funds for the productions of A Doll's House and The Father are provided by The Howard Gilman Foundation Fund for Classic Drama.

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