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Lenora Champagne Awarded Inaugural Katherine Owens Fund for New Work

The fund was created to honor Undermain Theatre’s late founding artistic director.

DALLAS: Undermain Theatre, in celebration of late founding artistic director Katherine Owens’ birthday, has announced the inaugural commission for the Katherine Owens/Undermain Fund for New Work. This $10,000 commission is being awarded to Lenora Champagne for her new play Feeding on Light, a collaboration that explores the life and influence of French philosopher Simone Weil. The play, which will be featured as a staged reading in spring 2021, is based on Champagne’s personal relationship and discussions with Owens, to whom the play is dedicated.

Lenora Champagne.

“I was asked to write this play by Katherine Owens, a friend, director, and supporter of my work,” said Champagne in a statement. “We met in New York City and upstate to discuss the project and work on it together. Over the summer of 2019, I was deeply involved in re-reading Weil’s biography and her work, which had fascinated me some years ago, when I learned that Katherine had died. She was only 61, and I’d had no idea that she was ill. She only knew she was ill a short time herself, and had thought she would recover. Katherine was a stellar director and such a generous and inspiring collaborator and friend. I have tried to take to heart the exhortation to wait for the light, to humbly hope for grace to somehow lift these words to a place of joy.”

In addition to a staged reading as part of Undermain’s Whither Goest Thou America Festival of New Plays, Feeding on Light will also receive a full workshop production during Undermain’s 38th season. The Katherine Owens Fund for New Work was established by Bruce DuBose, Owens’ husband and Undermain producing artistic director, and Undermain’s board of trustees to continue to support the work Owens had fostered during her 36 years at the company.

Additionally, DuBose has put together Katherine Owens: Wabi-Sabi Rodeo, a look behind the scenes of Owens’ career, featuring a compilation of her experimental films, videos, and photographs set to an original score. This work is available to stream for free on Undermain’s Vimeo through Nov. 1.

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