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Jeremy O. Harris and the Bushwick Starr Announce Pet Project Grant

A total of $76,000 from licensing fees and publishing royalties of ‘Slave Play’ will be randomly awarded to 152 writers.

NEW YORK CITY: Playwright Jeremy O. Harris has announced the Pet Project Grant, a partnership with the Bushwick Starr to distribute $500 grants to playwrights. The funds, which are supported by the licensing fees and publishing royalties of Slave Play, will benefit 152 playwrights affected by the pandemic.

Jeremy O. Harris. (Photo by Andre D. Wagner for the New York Times)

The application will open on May 29 and will cap at 1,500 submissions. Submissions of shorter plays and texts should translate into an evening of performance. The recipients will be randomly selected from the applicant pool, and submissions will be viewed and administered by the Bushwick Starr curatorial staff to confirm eligibility. While the prize is not merit-based, the staff asks for page numbers of excerpts and is interested in getting familiar with all the writers’ work. Grants will be issues on June 15.

“Recently while watching our country’s commander in chief, he proclaimed that funding the Kennedy Center’s relief plan was the left’s attempt at bolstering their ‘pet project,’” said O. Harris in a statement. “As a lifelong theatre lover and maker, the thought that the livelihoods of theatre artists could be boiled down to a simple ‘pet project’ filled me with the type of rage I rarely feel, and furthermore filled me with anxiety for the well-being of many of my peers during this dark time. As many playwrights I know were supposed to open their first show, begin their first residency, enter or leave graduate studies, or simply be focusing on writing their second draft, many were paralyzed with fears for their health, the well-being of their families, or how they might stock their refrigerator with groceries. After a year of surprising abundance from a mix of luck and dedication to the ‘pet project’ of being a playwright, I thought it prudent to do my part to aid in some small way with the relief our government deems unnecessary for our community.

“So to that end, in order to make the most impact for the most people, I wanted to be able to give 500 dollars to as many playwrights as I could from the licensing fees and publishing royalties of my pet project, Slave Play, moreover I wanted the process of distribution to be as easy as possible with the hope and trust that those who were most in need would be allowed the chance to benefit first. I’m also thankful that I was able to do this with the facilitation of a small theatre who has always believed in the power of the ‘pet project,’ the Bushwick Starr, and hope that if this inspires others they will send more funds their way so that as many playwrights as possible can maybe feel relief so many desperately need at this time.”

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