The fellowship provides an artistic home for important playwrights of diversity and color to develop new work. The residency will include the commissioning of new plays, and offer developmental readings and workshops. Udofia will also work with Hartford Stage Education’s Write On program, an annual young playwright competition.
“Aetna’s New Voices Fellowship has supported commissioning an array of exciting work over the years, including Quiara Alegrìa Hudes’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Water by the Spoonful, Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance, which recently premiered in London, and Kaneza Schaal’s Jack &, which will be part of BAM’s Next Wave Festival this fall,” said Elizabeth Williamson, Hartford Stage’s associate artistic director, in a statement. “I couldn’t be happier to have the brilliant Mfoniso Udofia joining us as our 2018 Aetna New Voices Fellow. Her Ufot Cycle is being performed around the country, and we’re thrilled to bring her and her work to Hartford.”
Udofia’s The Ufot Cycle is a nine-play saga examining the history of Nigerian immigration in America through the experience of one family. Two of the cycle’s plays, Sojourners and Her Portmanteau, were produced last year at the New York Theater Workshop. Her plays have also been developed, presented, and produced at the Playwrights Realm, the Magic Theatre, Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre, Sundance Theatre Lab, Space on Ryder Farm, National New Play Network’s New Play Showcase, Soul Productions, terraNOVA, the New Black Fest, American Slavery Project, and Liberation Theatre Company. Udofia received the 2017 Helen Merrill Playwright Award and the 2017-18 McKnight National Residency and Commission at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis. Her Portmanteau received an Edgerton New Play Award in 2016, and is currently running at Pasadena, Calif.’s Boston Court Performing Arts Center through June 30. Three of Udofia’s plays were included on the 2017 Honorable Mentions List by the Kilroys.