Announcement of Selected Projects
National Endowment for the Arts and Arena Stage Announce Inaugural Selections for NEA New Play Development Program
Center Theatre Group and McCarter Theatre projects named as NEA Outstanding New American Play selections
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 27, 2008
Washington, DC -- The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) today announced the first seven selections for the NEA New Play Development Program. The two NEA Outstanding New American Play selections will receive $90,000 each to support advanced development activities, culminating in a full production of each play. The five NEA Distinguished New Play Development Projects will receive $20,000 each to support early development activities for a new play. The selected theaters are based in California, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Texas. Each participating theater will collaborate closely with the playwright on development activities, such as workshops and staged readings. Administered by Arena Stage, the new initiative is intended to help the nation’s nonprofit theaters bring more new plays to full production.
“Every year the NEA supports about 135 new theatrical premieres, but the NEA New Play Development Program, in partnership with Arena Stage, is something special. It creates a small but superb national network to develop new works from across the country,“ said NEA Chairman Dana Gioia.
“Arena Stage fiercely believes American playwrights are the lifeblood of our American theater. Therefore, a big part of Arena's mission is focused on finding ways to further the development of these voices,“ said Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith.”Our initial excitement at being selected to host the NEA New Play Development Program grew exponentially throughout this process: first with the quality of the applications, then with the quality of the discussions at panel and finally into the selections themselves. It has been a privilege to partner in a vibrant way with the NEA on this important project, and we now look forward to witnessing the evolution of each of these remarkable plays.”
The two projects selected as NEA Outstanding New American Plays will be produced by Center Theatre Group (Los Angeles, CA) and McCarter Theatre (Princeton, NJ). Center Theatre Group will produce Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph as part of its 2009 season. Joseph’s play underwent earlier development work at the Lark Play Development Center, the State University of New York at Purchase, and Tectonic Theater Project. McCarter Theatre will produce Tarell Alvin McCraney’s trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays as part of its 2008-09 season, including the world premiere of Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet. While McCarter has previously worked with McCraney on the trilogy’s first two plays, this is the first time that all three plays will be presented together on consecutive evenings.
Five theaters will receive support for NEA Distinguished New Play Development Projects. This support will help advance the plays through development activities such as dramaturgy, design workshops and consultations, read-throughs, public readings, workshop productions, and open rehearsals. The five selected projects are:
California Shakespeare Theater (Berkeley, CA)
Pastures of Heaven by Octavio Solis
The Children’s Theatre Company (Minneapolis, MN)
Happy End to Everything by Lloyd Suh
The Foundry Theatre (New York, NY)
Detour/South Bronx by Claudia Rankine
Lark Play Development Center (New York, NY)
Agnes Under the Big Top, A Fairy Tale by Aditi Brennan Kapil
Rude Mechanicals (Austin, TX)
I’ve Never Been So Happy by Kirk Lynn.
The NEA New Play Development Program also will support artistic excellence in the theater field by encouraging dialogue around existing and new models for new play development, including the seven selected projects. In partnership with the NEA, Arena Stage will provide a forum that will not only encourage this discussion but will actively support the dissemination of any findings throughout the field. This inaugural round of the program will culminate in a festival presentation of all seven projects at Arena Stage in fall 2010.
Fore more information about the NEA New Play Development Program, please visit newplay.arenastage.org
The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established, bringing the arts to all Americans, and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Arts Endowment is the nation’s largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases. For more information, please visit www.arts.gov
Under the leadership of Artistic Director Molly Smith, Washington, DC-based Arena Stage has become the largest theater in the country dedicated to American plays and playwrights. Founded in 1950 by Zelda Fichandler, Thomas Fichandler, and Edward Mangum, Arena Stage was one of the nation’s original resident theaters, and has a distinguished record of leadership and innovation in the field. With the opening of the new Mead Center for American Theater in 2010, Arena Stage will have emerged as a leading center for the production, development and study of the American theater. Now in its sixth decade, Arena Stage serves a diverse annual audience of more than 200,000. For more information please visit www.arenastage.org
Round 1 White Papers
- White Paper on the Distinguished New Play Development Project category (PDF)
- White Paper on the Outstanding New American Play category (PDF)
- In June 2010
- Arena Stage withdrew from
administering Round 2 of the Program.
- In October 2008
- Seven projects were selected for support in Round 1 and an additional eleven projects were named by the panel as finalists. Read more
- New Play Blog
- Documents the process and
progress of each project