Four Playwrights Snag Lark Play Center Fellowships to Grow New Works

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12 Apr 2011

Bekah Brunstetter
Bekah Brunstetter

The Lark Play Development Center announced four playwrights — Joshua Allen, Thomas Bradshaw, Bekah Brunstetter and Andrea Thome — to receive cash awards and professional support as part of the new "New Voices/New York" fellowship program for local playwrights.

The goal is "to develop new work with an eye towards production."

According to Lark, "During an 18-month residency, New Voices/New York playwright fellows are the beneficiaries of a four-pronged effort to advance their careers: a $20,000 stipend for living expenses, artistic resources, an expanded professional network and financial leverage for local productions. Each playwright fellow is provided an Enhancement Fund of $5,000 with which to leverage a New York City production of a play developed during the residency."

The awards have major support from New York City's Theater Subdistrict Council and additional support from Time Warner.

"We want playwrights to think of writing as their job, not something they do when they get home from work if they still have the energy," Lark's artistic director John Clinton Eisner said in a statement. "We're helping them to recalibrate the equation that balances their needs with productivity. We often talk of giving artists a 'home,' but perhaps we should first provide them the economic freedom to work at their craft and to share what they create."



In addition, the New Voices/New York program enlists artistic leaders from four New York City theatres as "producer advocates" for the playwright fellows: Sherri Kronfeld, artistic director of SUPERWOLF (Brunstetter); Andrew Leynse, artistic director of Primary Stages (Allen); Louis Moreno, artistic director of Intar Theatre (Thome); and Jerry Patch, director of artistic development at Manhattan Theatre Club (Bradshaw). The advocates "have each committed their time and staff support during the fellowship to advise participating playwrights with respect to long-term career goals advancing their work to production."

Here is what the Lark writers are up to:

Allen (The Last Pair of Earlies at Lark, Goodbye, Heathcliff at Actor's Playpen in Hollywood, God Is a Woman at the Space Theatre in Hollywood) will develop his intergenerational family play Boy in a Blue Tweed Suit and begin to write a second play, Chrysalis, about the trials and triumphs of being 14.

Bradshaw (Goodman Theatre's Mary, Brick Theatre's Strom Thurmond Is Not A Racist and Cleansed) will develop Hot & Sticky and a new play about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Brunstetter (A Long and Happy Life at Naked Angels, Be A Good Little Widow at Ars Nova, House of Home at Williamstown Theater Festival, Atlantic Theater's Oohrah!) will begin work on Melancholia, which follows a family traveling the Oregon Trail and explores the nature and consciousness of depression during the 19th century.

Thome (Undone, developed by Lark, INTAR Theatre and Victory Gardens; Worm Girl produced by Cherry Red Productions in Washington, DC) will develop The Necklace of the Dove, inspired by the work of 11th-century Arab-Spanish philosopher Ibn Hazm and the world of Mexican transgender performers in Queens.

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The Theater Subdistrict Council (TSC) is a not-for-profit corporation "established pursuant to a 1998 zoning regulation that allows owners of certain Broadway theatres to transfer air rights within the Theater Subdistrict, provided the theatres are preserved, there are commitments to use the spaces for legitimate theatre use, and funds are deposited into the Theater Subdistrict Fund. The TSC administers the Theater Subdistrict Fund and allocates grants with the goal of promoting the production of new theater work, developing new audiences, and showcasing Broadway's singular role in the history of American theatre."

The TSC consists of the Mayor, the Speaker of City Council, the Manhattan Borough President, and the Director of the Department of City Planning, as well as four representatives appointed by the Mayor and the City Council Speaker from the performing arts, theatrical and related industries.

This past fall, TSC awarded grants to 15 organizations, totaling $2.15 million, for various projects that will foster the creation of new theatrical work and audience development. In addition to the Lark Play Development Center, the award recipients are The 52nd Street Project, Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, The Apollo Theater, The Atlantic Theatre Company, The Broadway League, Fractured Atlas, The Lincoln Center Theater, The New 42nd Street, Playwrights Horizons, Rosie's Broadway Kids, Roundabout Theatre Company, Signature Theatre Company, Theatre Development Funds and Walker International Communications Group.

Founded in 1994 as a laboratory for new voices and new ideas, the Lark Play Development Center "provides playwrights with indispensable resources to develop their work, nurturing artists at all stages in their careers, and inviting them to express themselves freely in a supportive and rigorous environment."

The Lark is led by its co-founder and artistic director John Clinton Eisner and managing director Michael Robertson. For more information www.larktheatre.org.