“The board’s decision completely took me by surprise,” stated A.S.K. executive director Kym Eisner in a released statement . “I don’t understand it. Nevertheless, I have to respect their right to make it. I have spent close to ten wonderful years with A.S.K., and I am thankful for all the work the staff and I have helped to develop and the individual artists we have supported.”
Before shutting down, A.S.K. will still announce the recipients of its TIME (Time for Inspiration, Motivation and Exploration) grant program in August. TIME will support six "under-recognized theater artists" with grants of $45,000 each. A.S.K. also recently provided support through the Los Angeles Initiative — a total of nearly $100,000 for six local theater companies.
The late Audrey Skirball-Kenis, the company's namesake, founded A.S.K. Theater Projects in 1989 with her husband Charles Kenis. Over the years, A.S.K. has been involved with the development of new work through such programs as the New Play Weekend, Common Ground Festival, Writers' Retreat, Playwright-Composer Studio, Playwrights in the Schools, Stage One and others.
A.S.K. has teamed up with London's Royal Court Theatre, New York City's Lincoln Center Theater and the Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum. Some of the artists touched by A.S.K.'s programming include Suzan-Lori Parks, Doug Wright, Maria Irene Fornes, Paula Vogel, Tony Kushner, Mac Wellman, Don Cheadle, Donald Margulies, Charles Mee, Anne Bogart, Richard Foreman, Luis Alfaro, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jeffrey Hatcher, Kia Corthron, Margaret Edson, Erik Ehn, Karen Finley and Christopher Shinn.
For more information on the company, visit www.askplay.org.