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Sharon Bridgforth

Doris Duke Artist Awards Announced for 2016

6 theatre artists are among the awardees, who each receive $275,000.

NEW YORK CITY: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) has announced the 21 recipients of its fifth annual Doris Duke Artist Awards, honoring recipients in the field of dance, jazz, and theatre. Among them are six theatre artists, who will each receive $275,000: Sharon Bridgforth, Janie Geiser, Taylor Mac, Lynn Nottage, Thaddeus Phillips, and Will Power.

“This was literally an answered prayer: to be able to have a significant amount of funding, human resources, and tools to move into the next phase of my career and life,” said Bridgforth in a statement. “The greatest impact the award will have in my work is to facilitate my ability to work exactly in the way that I envision, but it also feels like a victory for everyone that I’m standing with and because of. If an artist like me—queer-gendered, lesbian, black, working in black forms in such a nonlinear way—could receive not only the prestige and recognition of this award, but also the human and financial resources to live a full, healthy, abundant life, that’s going to be a great inspiration for others.”

Bridgforth is a San Francisco–based playwright, as well as producer, founder, and curator of the Theatrical Jazz Institute. Her work includes River See. She is currently working on dat Black Mermaid Man Lady.

Geiser is a Los Angeles–based visual theatre artist and filmmaker. She is the cofounder of the non-profit AUTOMATA. Her works include Fugitive Time. She is currently working on an installation called SOUND HOUSE.

Nottage is a Pulitzer-winning, New York City–based playwright. Her works include RuinedIntimate Apparel, and Sweat.

Phillips is a director, actor, and designer who works out of Philadelphia and Bogotá, Colombia. His works include 17 BORDER CROSSINGS. He’s currently working on three shows: The Archivist, The Arrival, and 100 Billion Nights.

Taylor Mac. (Photo by Ves Pitts)
Taylor Mac. (Photo by Ves Pitts)

Mac is a New York City–based playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, performance artist, director, and producer. Mac’s work includes The Fre and Hir. Mac is currently working on A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, a 24-hour work that will premiere this year.

Power is a playwright based in Dallas. His works include the musical Stagger Lee. He is currently developing Wade in the Water at Center Theater Group in Los Angeles.

The funding will be distributed over multiple years. In addition, the artists will also receive financial and legal counseling, professional development activities, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities provided by Creative Capital, DDCF’s primary partner in the awards.

This will be the final cycle of artists to receive these awards, which is part of the Doris Duke Performing Artists Initiative, a $50 million fund independent of DDCF’s operating budget. Since the Artists Awards’ inception in 2012, DDCP and Creative Capital have distributed $27.7 million to 101 artists. In the future, DDCF will continue distributing the award, but as part of its annual grant-making budget, and will lower the recipients to three.

“The foundation is pleased to support this new class of Doris Duke Artists,” said Maurine Knighton, program director for the arts at the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, in a statement. “The composers, musicians, theatre artists, choreographers, and playwrights who comprise this cohort are visionaries who have already made important contributions to their respective fields. We hope these awards enhance their capacities for exploration and experimentation, in keeping with Doris Duke’s adventurous spirit. DDCF looks forward to their continued creativity, as their work is not only important to the creative sector but vital to the vibrancy of our society as well.”

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