NEW YORK CITY: Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) has announced the recipients of the 2020 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Initiative commissions. MTC’s commissioned writers this year are Kate Attwell, Mia Chung, Noah Diaz, Julia Izumi, Ife Olujobi, and Stacey Rose.
The Foundation commissions plays about science each year from MTC, the Ensemble Studio Theatre, and the National Theatre. Since 2001, MTC has awarded a total of 94 commissions through the Sloan Foundation. MTC first collaborated with the project in 2000 on the production of David Auburn’s Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Proof.
“During these trying times, we are thrilled to be looking to the future with this exceptional lineup of newly commissioned writers,” said Scott Kaplan, MTC’s director of play development in a statement. “We chose these writers based on their ability to marry their singular artistic perspectives with pressing and timely scientific themes. We are grateful to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation for their support over the last 19 years in creating an invaluable opportunity for playwrights to bring vital topics to exhilarating theatrical life.”
Attwell is a playwright, TV writer, and devised theatre maker. She is an Ensemble Studio Theatre, WRAPT Films, and Playwrights Horizons commissioned writer, and was a member of Ars Nova’s PlayGroup, Page 73’s writers’ group, a Mabou Mines Resident Artist and a member of the Public Theater’s Devised Theater Working Group. Recently her plays have been developed at Playwrights Horizons, A.C.T., Portland Center Stage, New York Theatre Workshop, and the Bushwick Starr. Previous work has been seen at: REDCAT / Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (LA), the Public Theater (Under the Radar, 2016), JACK Arts, La MaMa E.T.C., Movement Research at Judson Church, BRIC, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Segal Center (Festival of Performance & Film), and the Wassaic Project. Her play Testmatch premiered last season directed by Pam McKinnon at A.C.T. in San Francisco and was scheduled to play at the Yale Repertory Theatre directed by Margot Bordelon this spring before performances were cancelled in response to the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19. She holds a BA in Performance from the University of Bristol in the UK and an MFA from Yale.
Chung’s Catch As Catch Can will premiere in Steppenwolf’s 2021-22 season; Page 73 produced the world premiere (NYC, Fall 2018). You For Me For You premiered at the Royal Court (London), the National Theatre Company of Korea (Seoul), and Woolly Mammoth Theatre (D.C.); and is published by Bloomsbury Methuen. Awards, commissions, fellowships, and residencies include: Clubbed Thumb, EST/Sloan, Frederick Loewe Award in Music-Theatre, Huntington Theatre, Ma-Yi Writers Lab, MTC/Sloan, NEA, NYTW, Playwrights’ Center, Playwrights Realm, South Coast Rep, SPACE at Ryder Farm, Stavis Award, TCG, and New Dramatists. She received a 2019 Helen Merrill Playwriting Award.
Diaz is a playwright from the Iowa/Nebraska border. His plays have been developed with La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage, the Playwrights Realm, the Sol Project, Two River Theater, Howlround Latinx Theater Commons, Seven Devils Playwrights Conference, and WildWind Performance Lab. He’s a 5-time recipient of playwriting awards from the Kennedy Center and is currently under commission from La Jolla Playhouse, Great Plains Theatre Conference, Baltimore Center Stage, and Audible/Amazon Studios. MFA: Yale School of Drama.
Izumi is a writer and performer who makes plays, musicals, and several opportunities for dance parties. She has developed work through Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Black Swan Lab, WP Theater, Barn Arts Collective’s Hamilton Project Residency, NNPN/Kennedy Center MFA Playwrights’ Workshop, BMI’s Librettists Workshop, the Great Plains Theatre Conference PlayLab, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Her work has been presented at San Francisco Playhouse, Trinity Repertory Company, the National Asian-American Theatre ConFest, Dixon Place, FringeNYC, and Corkscrew Theatre Festival. Honors for her work include O’Neill Theater Center’s NPC Finalist, the Kilroys List Honorable Mention, KCACTF’s Darrell Ayers Playwriting Award, Theater Masters’ Take Ten, NY Society Library’s Emerging Women’s Artist Grant and a Puffin Artists’ Grant. She is a current member of the Clubbed Thumb Early-Career Writers’ Group and will be featured in this season’s Bushwick Starr Reading Series. MFA: Brown University.
Olujobi is a playwright and screenwriter from Columbia, Maryland. She is a 2019-20 New Voices Fellow at the Lark, a 2020-21 Resident Artist at Ars Nova, a member of Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theatre, and an alumni of the 2018-19 Emerging Writers Group at the Public Theater. Her work has been seen at the Public, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Charity Randall Theater (Pittsburgh), Bishop Arts Theater Center (Dallas), City Pier A (New York City), and the Abe Burrows Theater at NYU. She is also the founder and editor of Townies, a zine exploring the experiences of POC and queer people who have a relationship to suburban and rural areas of the U.S. and abroad. She received her BFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2016.
Rose hails from Elizabeth, N.J. and Charlotte, N.C. She is a proud mom, daughter, and sibling. She earned a BA in theatre at UNC Charlotte and is an alum of the MFA program in Dramatic Writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. While at Tisch, she was the recipient of an AAUW Career Development Grant, was a Future Screenwriting Fellow, and honored with the Goldberg Prize for her play The Danger: A Homage to Strange Fruit. Her work has been presented at: UNC Charlotte, On Q Productions, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, the Fire This Time Festival (Slavesperience, America v. 2.1), the Brooklyn Generator (As Is: Conversations with Big Black Women in Confined Spaces), the Bushwick Starr Reading Series (Igniting The Alabaster You!), Mosaic Theatre (The Black Jew Thing co-written with Alexis Spiegel), the Amoralists Theatre Company (Bones, Bonez, Bone$), Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre (Muva Death), National Black Theatre (The Ballad O’ Nigg-O-Lee) and Pillsbury House Theater (Sven, Ole & The Armageddon Myth). She is a two time semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Fellowship, a semi-finalist at Premiere Stages Play Festival, and a finalist at the Fusion Film Festival. Rose was a 2015-16 Dramatist Guild Fellow, a 2017-18 Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellow, a 2018 Sundance Theatre Lab Fellow, and is a 2018-2021 Playwrights’ Center Core Writer. She is a 2018 – 19 member of the Goodman Theatre’s Playwrights Unit and the Civilians R&D Group. She served as writers assistant and script coordinator for season one of “She’s Gotta Have It,” The Series. Her work celebrates and explores Blackness, Black identity, Black history, body politics, and the dilemma of life as the “other.”