Northern Stage Producing Artistic Director Receives Genius Grant

By: Sep. 05, 2017
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The Pussycat Foundation, established in the spirit of Cosmopolitan Magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown, has awarded Northern Stage's Producing Artistic Director Carol Dunne a Genius Grant of $250,000 for her achievements in theater arts, recognizing her as a pioneering artist and artistic director. The Pussycat Foundation awards Genius Grants to individuals who dedicate their lives to transformative work with bold leadership and vision. The dollars awarded to Carol are split evenly between Northern Stage and the New London Barn Playhouse, which Carol led from 2008-2014.

Northern Stage Board of Directors Chair Alfred Blum says of this achievement: "When Carol was invited in 2013 to be the Producing Artistic Director of Northern Stage, it was in full recognition of her superb talents as a leader, manager, and visionary for why theater matters and what it can accomplish. The Pussycat Foundation's Genius Grant to Carol validates in a profound way that she is poised to use her accumulated experiences from many settings to contribute to the improvement of live theater, both at Northern Stage, the New London Barn Playhouse, and in a broader setting." New London Barn Producing Artistic Director Keith Coughlin adds, "Carol arrived at the New London Barn Playhouse in 2008 at a tremendously challenging time for this beloved institution. Her work revitalizing the company has led to a new life for the Barn, and we are so grateful to be the recipients of this grant honoring her work. This gives us the opportunity to begin to chart the next new course for the Barn."

The Helen Gurley Brown Genius Grant is a significant and meaningful addition to the vital support Northern Stage seeks and receives in order to enable its nonprofit operations. "I am thrilled and humbled to be the recipient of the Helen Gurley Brown Genius Grant," states Carol Dunne, "My work at the New London Barn Playhouse and Northern Stage has been challenging, fulfilling, and personally so rewarding. Although we have experienced incredible successes with both companies, the not-for-profit theater model presents constant challenges. It is my hope that this grant, which honors us for the work we have created, will help support the success and sustainability of the work yet to come. What an incredible affirmation and support as we kick off our season!"

Northern Stage is thrilled to announce that the 2017-18 season introduces, for the first time in Northern Stage's history, a rotating repertory of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House and Andy Dolan's Robert Frost: This Verse Business. Emmy winner Gordon Clapp stars in both pieces, offering, as Dunne says, "A theatrical feast for our incredibly curious and passionate theater goers." This rep will run September 20 - October 29 and will be sponsored by The Norwich Inn, Casella Resource Solutions, Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty, and Vermont Public Radio. Disney's The Little Mermaid by Doug Wright, Alan Menken, Glen Slater, and Howard Ashman will light up the stage for the holidays, playing November 15 - January 7, directed by Chad Larabee (who also directed the Northern Stage 2015 holiday production of Mary Poppins) and sponsored by La Valley Building Supply and the River Valley Club.

The New Year brings new plays to Northern Stage, and this year will be no exception. Only Yesterday by Bob Stevens is a world premiere production, developed in Northern Stage's New Works Now new play program. John Lennon and Paul McCartney are stuck in a hotel room when a hurricane prevents them from performing. Only Yesterday considers the young men behind the myth as they struggle with fame and find the inspiration for the music that changed our lives. Playing January 31 - February 18, this production is directed by Producing Artistic Director Carol Dunne, stars Christopher Sears and Tommy Crawford, and is sponsored by Coldwell Banker Lifestyles, Wells Fargo Advisors, and Stave Puzzles. Next up is the Pulitzer Prize winning Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar, which examines the prejudices that persistently exist for Muslim Americans in the post - 9/11 world. Disgraced plays February 28 - March 18 and is sponsored by Designer Gold & Lake Sunapee Bank. The season concludes April 11 - May 13 with the classically comic Noises Off by Michael Frayn, directed by Peter Hackett and starring Jamie Horton, Emily Kron, and Bill Kux. Upper Valley Aquatic Center, Mascoma Savings Bank, Chippers, Inc., and White Mountains Insurance sponsor Noises Off.

Two new programs join Northern Stage's educational and outreach initiatives this season: YES, Jr. and a Summer Shakespeare Intensive program. YES, Jr. brings the training of the company's Youth Ensemble Studio for students in grades 7-12 to younger students in grades 4 - 6. Group days at the theater, master classes, post-show conversations, and a one-week rehearsal and performance project will be the hallmarks of this program that educates the theater lovers and artists of tomorrow. The program runs January - March 2018. Northern Stage's Summer Musical Theater Intensive, a top-level training program for serious musical theater students aged 13-18, is the model for the Shakespeare Intensive, which will allow students to rehearse and perform a fully staged and professionally produced Shakespeare piece with rigorous and disciplined acting training.

As Northern Stage broadens its impact on our region, the company maintains its dedication to keeping professional theater and theater education accessible for all. To this end, the company is introducing three new development initiatives: Bespoke Giving Opportunities are tailored to donors' desires to specifically support Northern Stage artists, education initiatives, access programs, and arising opportunities; a Legacy Society has been established to honor and recognize donors who support Northern Stage through planned giving and bequests; and a Gala Fundraiser is slated for Saturday, May 19, 2018, with all proceeds dedicated to education and access programs. All modes of philanthropic giving ensure Northern Stage's continued vitality in service of the Upper Valley region's audiences, artists, and students.

Northern Stage begins its 21st Season with a special celebratory kick-off event on Saturday, September 9. A free open house from 4:00 - 6:30 PM will feature backstage tours, dance lessons, and volunteer registration. Local food trucks will offer food and beverage for purchase on the terrace. The evening continues at 7:00 PM with a jazz concert: The Cyn Barrette Trio opens for Richie Iacona's New York City based Bad Little Big Band performing The American Popular Song - From the Concert Stage to the Dance Floor. The open house is free; tickets for the concert are $40 for adults/$15 students.

Northern Stage is a regional non-profit LORT-D professional theater company with a mission to change lives, one story at a time. Located in White River Junction, VT, Northern Stage actively involves its audiences with ambitious productions and expansive educational programs in its new home, the Barrette Center for the Arts. Founded in 1997, the company has offered more than 120 high-quality professional productions of new works, classics, and musicals. The company is now in its 21st season and annual attendance is over 30,000.