Cygnet Theatre Receives NEA Grant to Support August Wilson's GEM OF THE OCEAN, 1/24-2/24

National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Rocco Landesman announced today that Cygnet Theatre is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. Cygnet Theatre is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support Gem of the Ocean, the first play of the August Wilson Cycle Plays. The grant also helps support outreach activities including post show forums and a presentation of Walking in The Shadows of August Wilson by Antonio T.J. Johnson. In total, nine San Diego non-profits received grants in this latest round of funding totaling $213,000.

Cygnet Theatre will present the show January 24-February 24 at the Old Town Theatre.

Gem of the Ocean lays the foundation for Wilson's epic exploration of the cultural and spiritual journey made by 20th-century African Americans. In 10 separate plays, each covering a different decade of the 20th century, August Wilson explores the lives, dreams, triumphs and tragedies of African-American history and culturE. Wilson’s series of plays brought him recognition as one of America’s most celebrated dramatists and earned him numerous awards.

“We are grateful to the NEA for this funding that allows us to enhance the audience’s experience with post-show forums, conducted by experts from UCSD, USD and San Diego Museum of Art,” explained Artistic Director Sean Murray.

In addition to the forums, Cygnet will present Walking in The Shadows of August Wilson, exploring how the Century Cycle plays are connected to Wilson’s life. This program covers the importance of music to Mr. Wilson, particularly the blues; as well as the impact of authors James Baldwin, Amiri Baraka, Jorge Luis Borges and artist Romare Bearden on his work. Through the month of February 2013, Antonio T.J. Johnson will present Walking in The Shadows of August Wilson in schools, libraries and other community venues, including the Mingei International Museum on February 11th.

"I'm proud to announce these 832 grants to the American public." said Chairman Landesman. "These projects offer extraordinary examples of creativity in our country, including the creation of new work, innovative ways of engaging audiences, and exemplary education programs."

For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, visit the NEA website at

Performances for Gem of the Ocean are January 24th through February 24th, 2013. Show times are Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 3pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm and 7pm. Contact the box office at 619-337-1525 or visit

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