Carter and Cornelius Join Tony-Winning Victory Gardens

News   Carter and Cornelius Join Tony-Winning Victory Gardens Chicago's Victory Gardens Theater has announced the appointment of Chicago playwright Aaron Carter as the company's new literary manager and Robert Cornelius as arts education director.

Cornelius brings with him more than 20 years experience as an actor, singer and educator.

Carter, 32, will take over the position held for two years by Andrea J. Dymond, who has accepted a teaching position in the theatre department at Columbia College in Chicago. Dymond, currently staging Victory Gardens' 2007-2008 season opener The Defiant Muse by ensemble playwright Nicholas A. Patricca, will remain with Victory Gardens as resident director.

"I've known Aaron for years, and I have the highest respect for him as an individual and as an artist," stated Dennis Zacek, artistic director of Victory Gardens Theater. "We are very fortunate to have someone as well qualified as Aaron in this position. He brings strong administrative skills as well as a keen artistic insight since he is a playwright himself."

As literary manager, Carter will supervise the reading of scripts submitted to Victory Gardens, as well as establish and maintain relationships with playwrights and agents. Carter will also oversee Victory Gardens' Readers Theater program, which assists playwrights in the development of their work by allowing them to hear their plays read aloud by actors in front of an audience.

Plays are usually by Chicago writers and may be given full productions at a later date. Readers Theater presentations are free and open to the public. "This is a great opportunity. I'm excited to implement literary management practices that I've wanted when on the playwright's side of the submission process," stated Carter. "It was an internship with Victory Gardens that first brought me to Chicago almost 10 years ago. I've been hoping for some time to get a chance to join the team."

Carter, originally from Ohio, received his MFA in Playwriting from Ohio University. His mentor was Charles Smith, head of the university's Professional Playwriting Program, and a member Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble. His paternal grandfather was a black Baptist preacher, and his maternal grandparents were white vaudeville performers. The influence of his ancestors is seen in Carter's Aaron's work which focuses on "race, faith, and obscure performance skills," according to VGT.

His plays include Panther Burn, which was produced in October 2006 by MPAACT at the Victory Gardens Greenhouse, and was nominated for the Black Theater Alliance's "Best Writing of a Play" Award. His short play Kegger was part of Collaboraction's Sketchbook 2006, and First Words was presented at Around the Coyote reading series. Swamp Baby was read in the Side Project's Harvest Series in Chicago, as well as the Soho Think Tank Sixth Floor Reading Series in New York. If Condition was produced as part of Manhattan Rep's Winterfest, also in New York.

His latest play, Iowa Akhbar, will be presented in a workshop as part of the KNF Series in New York. The play was originally read at Chicago Dramatists, and further developed at Grinnell College.

He is also the creator of the blog New Terminology For Dramaturgy, http://www.ntfd.blogspot.com.

One of Chicago's most respected Off-Loop theatres, Victory Gardens is primarily devoted to new work, and since its founding in 1974, the company has presented more world premiere mainstage productions than any other Chicago theatre. Thirty-three years later, Victory Gardens still emphasizes the work of Chicago writers and its own 12-member Playwrights Ensemble, a relationship that helped Victory Gardens receive the 2001 Tony Award for Regional Theatre.

In September 2006, Victory Gardens opened a new state-of-the-art mainstage in Chicago's historic Biograph Theater, located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

For complete information, visit http://www.victorygardens.org.