ACT Receives $40,000 to Fund Partnership with Lucia Neare

A Contemporary Theatre and artist Lucia Neare were recently awarded a $40,000 Exploration Grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to participate in the Building Demand for the Arts program. The Building Demand for the Arts program was created to address a critical need in the arts: to provide artists and organizations the luxury of time and resources to stand back, critically reflect, and imagine and dream together about how to approach building demand for art in new and expansive ways.

"I am thrilled at the opportunity of this partnership. The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is giving us the possibility to embark on a powerful journey with Lucia Neare in which we will discover how to communicate with a segment of the population we are eager to cultivate," says Executive Director Carlo Scandiuzzi.

This award will establish artist Lucia Neare in residence at ACT for 15 months, beginning January 1, 2016. During this period, ACT and Neare will plunge into a process of critical reflection to explore the intersection of live theatre and tech/geek culture, including the creation and maintenance of avatars (whether through tangible forms like the new performance media of cosplay, or in the virtual realm of such massive multiplayer online role-playing games as World of Warcraft). Neare's critical reflection will include surveying the local tech industry, and observing ACT as an artistic organization. She will also conduct field research at four major Seattle geek-culture conventions: Emerald City Comicon, Sakura-Con, PAX Prime, and Geek Girl Con. At the project's conclusion, Neare will create a plan for ACT to increase demand for live theatre performance among Millennials employed in the high-tech industry.

"Broadening our thinking about who our audiences are and how we connect with them is enormously challenging. We look forward to seeing what Lucia Neare and A Contemporary Theatre can imagine and undertake together to build demand for the arts in new ways," says Ben Cameron, Program Director for the Arts at DDCF.

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people's lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke's properties. The Arts Program of DDCF focuses its support on contemporary dance, jazz and theatre artists, and the organizations that nurture, present and produce them. For more information, visit

Lucia Neare is a 21st-century pioneer of larger-than-life theatre in public spaces. Her company's mission is as much social and political as artistic: to confront urban dilemmas with the power of free theatre, and nurture community by inspiring radical joy in the public realm. In 2014, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation bestowed one of its inaugural Impact Awards on Neare for these groundbreaking large-scale, public works. Neare has received awards, commissions, and honors from organizations such as: Seattle Art Museum, Artist Trust, 4Culture, Washington State Arts Commission, Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, Seattle City Light, among many others. In 2012 she received Seattle's Mayor's Arts Award. The same year, she was appointed Artist-in-Residence for both Seattle and the city of Redmond.

Located in Seattle's Downtown Historic Theatre District, ACT is home to five performance spaces under one roof. Since 1965, ACT has been a destination for experiencing new voices, stories, and art. ACT is steadfast in its dedication to producing work with contemporary playwrights and local performing artists through its Mainstage Play series, ACTLab producing partnerships, and Young Playwrights Program. With more than 450 performances a year, ACT is a community hub where artists and the public connect about today's issues and ideas, and celebrate the shared experience.

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