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National New Play Network Announces 2018-19 Award Recipients

Among the honorees are Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm, who was recognized for political theatre, as well as Collaboration Fund recipients and producers in residence.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The National New Play Network (NNPN) has announced its 2018-19 award recipients. These include the Smith Prize for Political Theatre, six producer residencies, and five Collaboration Fund awards, which total $136,000. They were announced at the 2018 NNPN National Conference at Mixed Blood Theatre.

“NNPN’s impact continues to shape the future of the American theatre,” said NNPN executive director Nan Barnett in a statement. “These awards will support the creation of new works, sustain new-play theatres, and strengthen the skills of new-play theatremakers in communities large and small. The Network is excited about the potential of these artists, projects, and partnerships.”

Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm.

The Smith Prize for Political Theatre went to playwright Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm. His play Uncle Vanye will be commissioned by NNPN. Established in 2004 by Timothy Jay Smith and socially conscious donors, the prize recognizes the work of emerging playwrights and encourages them to tackle the pressing issues of our times.

This year’s producers in residence are India Burton of Cleveland Public Theatre, Nancy Garcia Loza of 16th Street Theater, Kate Leary of Magic Theatre, Paige Zubel* of InterAct Theatre Company, Kristin Clippard of Orlando Shakes, and Jessica Parks of New Jersey Repertory Company. Clippard and Parks were producers in residence in 2017-18 and will continue for a second year. The program aims to support NNPN core member theatres by immersing these producers as residents of the companies, and teaching them about NNPN’s successful models for collaboration, deepening their connections to NNPN artists and leaders, and increasing their visibility to the field.

Recipients of Collaboration Fund will use their funding to produce collaborative projects with other core member theatres. The fund was established to encourage innovative, pioneering, project-based partnership between theatres and to support playwrights and new plays.

Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte will collaborate to create The Second Story Project, a simultaneous production of two commissioned family-oriented plays by Steven Dietz. B Street Theatre will utilize its funds to expand its New Comedies Festival in June 2019, which will include artists from across the U.S. and will feature four finalists selected from an open submission process, one of which will be chosen to receive a full production in the 2019-20 season.

Cleveland Public Theatre and Borderlands Theater will partner to hold residencies and development processes to create a new play exploring Cleveland and Tucson, Ariz.’s relationships to water and the environment. Florida Studio Theatre will hold a Women in Playwriting Festival in May 2019, which hopes to connect four female playwrights and allow them to develop their own work and the work of others.

Milagro will present its second new-works play festival, Ingenio, in September, and will partner with Northwest Theatre Workshop to offer workshops to the participating playwrights. Teaching artist and playwright Diana Burbano will be the host and mentor to four emerging Latinx playwrights, who will receive week-long rehearsal periods, concert readings, and feedback sessions.

NNPN is a national alliance of professional theatres that collaborates to encourage the development and life of innovative new plays.

*An earlier version of this article misspelled Paige Zubel’s name. It has been corrected.

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