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WILD HOME: A Theatre Odyssey Across Rural America Will Receive National Endowment For The Arts ArtWorks Grant

WILD HOME: A Theatre Odyssey Across Rural America Will Receive National Endowment For The Arts ArtWorks Grant

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Mary Anne Carter has announced more than $84 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment's second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2020. Included in this announcement is an Art Works award to Notch Theatre Company for "Wild Home: A Theatre Odyssey Across Rural America."

Wild Home: A Theatre Odyssey Across Rural America is a theatre project created by Notch Theatre Company and Jessica Kahkoska that brings to the stage the stories of American wilderness areas under threat and the people who depend on them at this crucial time.

As our country faces the greatest loss to public lands in history, Wild Home takes an odyssey across rural America, collaborating with 15 towns significantly pressured by extractive industries. In each town, Notch Theatre Company and Wild Home Co-Creator Jessica Kahkoska partner with local stakeholders to host public story-sharing events. A professional playwright then crafts a series of short plays based on shared testimony and community feedback. The plays are performed by community and professional actors in outdoor, wilderness spaces and interspersed with facilitated dialogue to further engage audiences in conversation. The program is designed so Wild Home communities and their plays can travel from rural areas to urban city centers, expanding and deepening the conversation around the value of American wilderness spaces at both a grassroots level and on a national, policymaker scale.

Wild Home was created to be a locally-driven collaboration that supports and amplifies the dialogue and efforts already underway in each town. By partnering with community stakeholders (policymakers, nonprofit organizations, activists, farmers, ranchers, forest rangers, artists) at every level of the process to define and own the program, the Wild Home performances are not the end goal, but rather part of a larger movement, helping to sustain grassroots efforts once the curtain goes down.

Wild Home was launched in 2018 in the North Fork Valley on Colorado's Western Slope, made possible in part, by the Network of Ensemble Theaters, supported by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CommonSense Foundation and by Drew and Amy Aquino. The Colorado plays, written by Jessica Kahkoska, were presented in partnership with the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition at Delicious Orchards in Hotchkiss Colorado (April 2019) and in partnership with Colorado Environmental Film Festival and GoodCinema in Denver (January 2020). Currently the program is collaborating with the communities of the Wayne National Forest in Ohio, with plays being written by cultural worker Gwen Kingston.

To learn more about Wild Home, see HowlRound's feature on the program in their "Theatre in the Age of Climate Change series," watch this video, visit Notch's website, or reach out to info@notchtheatre.org.

For more information on the National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

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