Dorset Theatre Festival Receives Generous Grants in Support of New Play Development Program

Dorset Theatre Festival Receives Generous Grants in Support of New Play Development Program

The National Foundation for the Arts, the Edgerton Foundation and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust have all awarded prestigious grants to the Dorset Theatre Festival this season in support of their New Play Development Program.

Over the past 6 years, as part of their New Play Development Program, the Dorset Theatre Festival has hosted over 70 playwrights?;? developing over 90 new works, 18 of which have gone on to receive full productions or further development at some of the most prestigious venues in the country. The national theatre community has taken note. "We are so thrilled that our dedication to supporting the creation of new work has gotten the attention of these particular funders, known nationally for their stalwart commitment to New Play Development on the highest level. Especially wonderful news for us was having our Premiere of Theresa Rebeck's new play, The Way of the World, awarded the prestigious Edgerton Foundation New Play Award", says Managing Director Molly Hennighausen. All three awards are to support the theatre in its continuing mission to function as a new works incubator that will nurture new voices and engage the community in the artistic process.

Over the last nine years, the Edgerton Foundation has supported an extended rehearsal process for 272 world premiere productions. Through this support, many plays have scheduled numerous subsequent productions, with 18 making it to Broadway and All the Way winning two Tony Awards in 2014. Nine plays have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, with Next to Normal winning in 2010, Water by the Spoonful in 2012, The Flick winning in 2014, and Hamilton winning in 2016.

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA celebrates it's 50th anniversary this year and continues to fund and support opportunities for Americans ?to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. ?The funding awarded to Dorset Theatre Festival directly supports its New Play Development Program and enables the mentoring of emerging and established playwrights in the development of new plays from conception to production; including the Jean E. Miller Young Playwrights Competition and playwriting residencies at local middle and high schools ?

The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust is known as one of the top funders of New Play Development nationally, supporting playwrights at every level, is well known for its Annual Awards Ceremony each year at Lincoln Center, during which representatives from every major theatre in the nation come together to celebrate new play development. "Being invited to attend the Awards Ceremony at Lincoln Center these past 2 years as one of the recipients of support from this prestigious organization, in the company of the top theatre luminaries of our times, is something to be truly proud of and bring back to Vermont to celebrate. How amazing that our little corner of the universe in Dorset has begun to have this kind of reach", says Artistic Director, Dina Janis.

This season, the Festival continues its commitment to new plays with a Regional Premiere of award winning playwright Sarah Ruhl's play Dear Elizabeth, a World Premiere of Theresa Rebeck's play, The Way of the World, and their acclaimed New Play Reading Series featuring the work of Brian Dykstra, Royston Coppenger and Sherry Kramer.

Founded in 1976, the Dorset Theatre Festival creates bold and innovative theatre that engages a diverse, multi-generational community, enlightening, entertaining, and inspiring its audience through the celebration of great plays produced with the highest degree of artistry. For more information on this program as well as the Festival in general, please go to or call 802-867-2223.

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