Over the past two decades, New York's Ensemble Studio Theatre has fostered the creation of more than 5000 new plays about all sorts of topics. To foster new works about one specific subject -- science & technology -- the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation has given E.S.T. a three-Year, $504,000 grant.
The money would go to commission and produce plays that create "a unique dialogue between theatre and science and technology," said E.S.T. Artistic director Curt Dempster in a statement.
The E.S.T./Sloan Project will link selected playwrights up with experts who'll explain aspects of cutting edge scientific research. Commissions will then range from $10,000 (full-length) to $4,000 (one-acts), with committees made up of artists and scientists judging play submissions.
Ensemble Studio Theatre and the Sloan Foundation have already worked together on last season's play, Flight. According to E.S.T. spokesperson Jim Baldassare, the success of that piece led to artistic director Dempster working with Sloan program director Doron Weber. Founded in 1934, the not-for-profit Sloan Foundation tries to "enhance people's lives through a keener appreciation of our increasingly scientific and technological world."
Horton Foote, author of A Trip To Bountiful and the Pulitzer winning The Young Man From Atlanta, has called E.S.T., "a constant creative force in the American theatre where one is sympathetically encouraged to develop his talent and craft. Among playwrights developing both at E.S.T., have been Howard Korder, Joyce Carol Oates, Steve Martin, Robert Schenkkan (The Kentucky Cycle) and OyamO. -- By David Lefkowitz