NEW YORK CITY: Page 73 has named Bleu Beckford-Burrell to be its 2021 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow. The fellowship, entering its 18th year, provides fellows with artistic and financial resources, including an unrestricted $10,000 award and additional development budget managed by Page 73, to develop a play or plays of their choosing. Fellows then work with Page 73 to produce at least one public presentation of their new play.
“Bleu treats the stage as a very large canvas to tell stories and she populates them with characters—often from her hometown of New York City—whom you want to get to know,” said artistic director Michael Walkup in a statement. “She’s always on the lookout for human folly and keeps a sharp eye on her characters; no one gets off easily, which in Bleu’s work sometimes leads to comedy and sometimes to tragedy. Bleu will use the resources of the fellowship on multiple projects, and specifically to develop a play she’s been really wanting to write, taking a big risk with a work that uses the spectacle of theatre in ways she hasn’t explored as much before. We’re excited to be supporting her at this moment of exploration, and proud to continue to deepen our work with such a talented playwright.”
This year also marks two firsts for the fellowship program. In addition to providing all five finalists for the fellowship with a $1,000 honorarium, Page 73 is also extending 2020 fellow Emma Goidel’s fellowship into a second year and providing Goidel with a second $10,000 stipend. The company has indicated that both fellows will be able to continue their fellowships until their are able to safely collaborate and convene in person.
“At the beginning of Emma’s fellowship, we talked about her past experience making devised theatre in Philadelphia, and we were excited to use the fellowship year to introduce her to new artists in New York, and create workshops that would have elements of this tactile, collaborative process, but with Emma sitting in the playwright’s chair,” said Walkup in a statement. “We had this hope and plan for something that became the opposite of how theatre could be made during a pandemic. The fellowship aims to be transformative for a playwright’s career, and recognizing what happened in the theatre industry in 2020, we needed to self-reflect to ensure that we delivered on that potential for Emma. The value of getting in a room with a director and professional actors is one of the core opportunities of the fellowship, and we’re not going to call it complete until both Bleu and Emma have had that opportunity.”
Bleu Beckford-Burrell is a first-generation Jamaican American actor/playwright. Born and raised in New York City, she also works for nonprofit organizations teaching acting to teens. Her plays include P.S.365 (2019 O’Neill Finalist), showcased at EST (Youngblood Workshop Series) and the National Black Theatre (Keep the Soul Alive reading series); Lyons Pride (2018 BAPF, Princess Grace Award Finalist, 2019 the Kilroys Honorable Mention, and Yale Drama Series Runner Up), showcased at Playwrights Realm (Ink’d Festival of New Plays) and EST (Bloodwork Reading Series); and La Race (2020 Normal Ave Finalist and O’Neill, BAPF Semi-finalist), with upcoming showcases at Faultline Theatre (Irons in the Fire) and Page 73 (virtual residency). She is a member of the Interstate 73 Writers Group and a Colt Coeur resident. She received the Playwrights Horizons Jody Falco & Jeffrey Steinman Commission for Emerging Playwrights (2020) and has been nominated for South Coast Repertory Elizabeth George Emerging Writer Commission (2021). M.F.A. Rutgers University.
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