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Playwrights of New York & Bush Theatre Announce New Partnership

Playwrights of New York (PoNY) and the Bush Theatre in London have announced a new partnership: in 2014-15, they will pilot the Playwrights of New York Residency at the Bush Theatre. 2013 PoNY Fellow Kimber Lee will be the first PoNY Resident at the Bush.

The Bush Residency is the newest theatre partnership of PoNY 2.0, an initiative that provides continued, comprehensive career support for PoNY's graduated Fellows. "The PoNY playwrights represent such an exciting breadth of new American voices, and to be provoked by such strong plays was a delight" says Rob Drummer, Associate Dramaturg at the Bush Theatre. "Kimber's work stood out as an incredible fit for the Bush and already just early conversations have shown how exciting her time with us will be." Kimber will be in residence in London developing her work with the Bush Theatre, embedding herself in the local community and writing a new play under commission. Her work will be presented throughout the residency through development sharings and ultimately a staged reading for an invited audience at the Bush Theatre.

"We're so excited to begin a partnership overseas," says PoNY founder Sandi Goff Farkas. "The London theatre world is rich with opportunities and we're thrilled to offer the PoNYs this chance to explore them."

Founded in 2007 by Farkas and the Lark Play Development Center, the unprecedented PoNY Fellowship revolutionized how a new generation of playwrights was supported by shifting emphasis to the life of the artist, and helped catapult a shift in the theatre industry by encouraging other major donor and theatre organizations to deepen their support to emerging playwrights. The Fellowship continues to be the only one of its kind, offering a full-time residence in New York City with artistic support at the Lark Play Development Center and a range of personal and professional benefits. The PoNY Fellowship aims to launch playwrights into sustainable careers.

The Bush Theatre joins a number of other PoNY partners in the PoNY 2.0 program. Current partners include American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) at Harvard University and Labyrinth Theater Company, both of which provide artistic homes for PoNY playwrights. PoNY 2.0 also provides Fellows with access to opportunity and travel funds, Financial Bootcamp training, and a Rooted in NYC grant if the playwright elects to continue residency in New York City following the fellowship year.

Kimber Lee is the 2013 PoNY Fellow, winner of the 2014 Ruby Prize, the 2014-15 Aetna New Voices Fellow at the Hartford Stage, and a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. Her work has been produced and developed by the Center Theatre Group, Lark, TheatreWorks/Palo Alto, the Magic Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Page 73 Productions, the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Mo`olelo Performing Arts Company, Southern Rep and The Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, where she was a Core Apprentice.

Kimber's play fight received the 2010 Holland New Voices Award and was a Finalist for the 2011 Ruby Prize and the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. In 2012, Kimber's play different words for the same thing was a Finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights' Festival, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab. different words for the same thing made its world premiere in May 2014 at the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. Her play brownsville song (b-side for tray) was a winner at the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, and a Finalist for the 2013 Premiere Stages New Play Festival. It received a world premiere at the Humana Festival of New American Plays this spring, and made its NYC premiere this month at LCT3. brownsville song will also be co-presented by Long Wharf Theatre and the Philadelphia Theatre Company in Spring 2015. In March 2015, Kimber's play tokyo fish story will make its world premiere at South Coast Rep.

Kimber received her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin.

"The chance to spend significant time living in London and working with the incredible artists in the Bush Theatre community is a dream, and I am so excited and grateful for this opportunity to expand my artistic horizons," says Kimber.

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