NEW YORK CITY: History Matters/Back to the Future has announced the recipients of its inaugural Sallie Bingham Grant. The monetary award will support a reading or full production of a play by a historic female playwright, to take place at a university. Four $2,000 grants will be awarded to four students around the country, and an additional $500 stipend will be given to the faculty advisor of each project.
History Matters/Back to the Future, Inc. is a non-profit organization that promotes the study and production of plays written by women before 1965. The new grant is named in honor of Sallie Bingham, a writer, teacher, activist, and philanthropist who made a generous gift to the organization. Students and faculty advisers co-submitted project proposals.
“In the years since I first learned about and began to support History Matters, I’ve seen this project grow and bloom, reaching new audiences, saving from oblivion important, inspiring—and forgotten—plays from the long and noble history of women playwrights,” Sallie Bingham in a statement.
This year’s awardees include Ksenia Volynkina, from CUNY/Queensborough Community College, who will direct a production of Adrienne Kennedy’s The Owl Answers (Aug. 24-25). Jodi Van Der Horn-Gibson will serve as the faculty advisor.
Ellen Everitt from University of Georgia will present a production of Aphra Behn’s The Emperor of the Moon in the spring of 2019. The faculty advisor will be Marla Carlson.
Caroline Hill from Ohio State University will direct a reading series of plays by Georgia Douglas Johnson and Eulalie Spence, as part of the “I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100” Festival in Columbus, Ohio, in October. Jennifer Schlueter will be the faculty advisor.
Also at Ohio State University, Aviva Helena Neff will present a production of Georgia Douglas Johnson’s A Sunday Morning in the South accompanied by readings of other plays by Johnson. Schlueter will be the advisor, and the works will also be a contribution to the “I, Too, Sing American: The Harlem Renaissance at 100” Festival.
“History Matters/Back to the Future makes clear that women have been an essential part of writing for the American theatre since its inception and that they have wrestled with the most fundamental questions of our history and society and that they are often quite funny while doing it,” said Kathleen Chalfant in a statement.