McCraney's New Play for Steppenwolf Gets Boost From Joyce Awards

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26 Jan 2010

The Joyce Foundation announced recipients of the 2010 Joyce Awards, which support artists of color in major Midwestern cities. Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney's new play for Steppenwolf Theatre Company is on the list of winners.

Joyce is awarding five arts organizations grants of $50,000 each to support new works in dance, music, theatre and visual arts.

The Joyce Award in the Theatre category will allow the Steppenwolf to commission a new work by McCraney based on the biblical book of Job.

"The piece will be developed for the Steppenwolf ensemble with the playwright's frequent collaborator, director, and Steppenwolf ensemble member Tina Landau," according to the Joyce Foundation.

McCraney, according to his Joyce Awards bio, is an African-American playwright and the recipient of the first New York Times Outstanding Playwright Award for his play The Brothers Size. McCraney received a BFA in acting from DePaul University in Chicago and in 2007 graduated from the Yale School of Drama. McCraney is the RSC/Warwick International Playwright in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and a member of Teo Castellanos/D Projects Theater Company in Miami.



His work combines Yoruban and Afro-Caribbean cultural influences with storytelling elements from the classical Greek and modern European dramatic traditions, blending them through dialogue that evokes the vernacular of the urban street and lyricism of hip-hop. McCraney's The Brother/Sister Plays (In the Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size and Marcus: Or the Secret of Sweet) are currently playing in repertory at Steppenwolf.

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Joyce winners in other categories include:

DANCE: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts (Saint Paul) to commission African American choreographer Uri Sands to create a new dance work inspired by the paintings of African American artist Ernie Barnes.

MUSIC: Old Town School of Folk Music (Chicago) to commission the African American stringband the Carolina Chocolate Drops to create Kingdom Coming, a new multimedia collaborative performance piece that celebrates black heritage from Vaudeville.

VISUAL ARTS: The Milwaukee Art Museum (Milwaukee), in partnership with the Chipstone Foundation, to support news works by African-American visual artist Theaster Gates for a multimedia exhibition/installation that includes pottery, sculpture, video and music.

VISUAL ARTS: Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Minneapolis) to commission Iranian American artist Ali Momeni to create two new media installations to launch the museum's inaugural year of contemporary art programming.

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Since its inception in 2003, the Joyce Awards has supported cultural institutions in Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis/St. Paul. "Award winners have not only presented their works to the institutions' traditional audiences; they have also worked with community groups, school children, and public art projects," according to a statement. "The goal is for these commissions to produce vivid, new works of art that strengthen cultural venues and draw people of diverse backgrounds to experience the rewards of participating in the arts as well as elevate the visibility of creative works by minority artists."

For more information on applying for a 2011 Joyce Awards or to learn more about the Joyce Foundation, visit www.joycefdn.org or call (312) 782-2464.