City Theatre Advances New Play Development in The Midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic 

City Theatre remains committed to its support of new play development and launched several new works initiatives this fall.

By: Oct. 22, 2020
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City Theatre Advances New Play Development in The Midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic 

City Theatre has announced the creation of the Kemp Powers Commission Fund for Black Playwrights. The fund is made possible through the generous support of award-winning playwright Kemp Powers (author of last season's One Night in Miami..., which has just been adapted by Mr. Powers as a film distributed by Amazon Studios) and will offer an annual commission and developmental support to an early-career Black playwright.

"Back in 2019, City Theatre welcomed me with open arms by producing one of my plays, hosting a staged reading of another play, and inviting me to Pittsburgh so that I could interact with some of the dynamic youth playwrights of the city," said Mr. Powers. "As an artist, it is rare to receive that kind of institutional and community support, and it inspired me to want to pay it forward by offering support of my own to the next generation of storytellers."

The first artist to receive the commission is playwright Ty Greenwood. Mr. Greenwood is a Pittsburgh native, Washington & Jefferson College alumni, and recent graduate of the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama's MFA in Dramatic Writing program. The commission will give him the flexibility to work on a new play of his choosing and includes built in developmental support as part of the process.

In addition, through the Powers Fund, City Theatre is providing artivist Treble NLS and collaborators with support in exploring a new semi-autobiographical hip-hop musical. City previously collaborated with Treble through a long-standing partnership with 1Hood Media on the soundtrack for the theater's production of Dominique Morisseau's Pipeline, directed by Reginald L. Douglas. Treble NLS also recently performed as part of City Theatre's Drive-In Arts Festival at Hazelwood Green.

Earlier this month, City Theatre released four videos as part of the Census Project. Through support from the Census 2020 Philanthropic Fund at Grantmakers of Western PA, City Theatre commissioned four playwrights to create monologues inspired by the 2020 census. Each playwright was paired with a community partner organization working with populations likely to be undercounted. The resulting pieces highlight community concerns and the importance of the 2020 census. Playwrights include: a.k. payne, Karla C. Payne, Tlaloc Rivas, and TJ Young. Community Partner Organizations include: 412 Food Resuce, ARYSE, Gwen's Girls, and My Brother's Keeper. All four monologues were filmed as short videos featuring Pittsburgh-based performers and directed by Maurice Redwood.

In addition to these projects, City Theatre is also one of 24 producing organizations collaborating to support The Breath Project-a new theatrical initiative formed by Artistic Director and Co-Founder Gamal Abdel Chasten and Co-Founder Marieke Gaboury in response to the current global spotlight on racial injustice against Black people. Through a national call for submissions, The Breath Project Virtual Festival will feature 24 8minute and 46 second digital works created by artists of color, including our partners at the Alumni Theatre Company. The festival will be held on Saturday, October 24 (5:00pm and 8:00pm EST) and Sunday, October 25 (8:00pm EST). The project also includes a digital archive of 65 full submissions to the festival. City Theatre will feature work by Pittsburgh-based artists leading up to the October presentations and invite audiences to join the virtual festival.


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