NEW YORK: New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) and playwright Jeremy O. Harris have named Sydney Chatman and Winsome Pinnock as the inaugural recipients of the Golden & Ruth Harris Commission. Chatman and Pinnock will each receive a $50,000 commission for a new theatrical work.
“I am overwhelmed and delighted by the opportunity to work with Jeremy to commission Sydney Chatman and Winsome Pinnock, two tremendous artists with singular visions whose works speak with eloquence, urgency, and specificity to the complexities and contradictions of our world,” NYTW artistic director James C. Nicola said in a statement. Harris added, “Using what I’ve learned from producing commercial theatre, it feels incredibly affirming to be able to provide these two artists with a type of financial stability often denied to theatre artists. Perhaps this commission, provided in this time, will help shift norms in our industry toward sustainable and well compensated careers for theatre artists, especially women of color, the backbone of our canon.”
Chatman is a director, educator, producer, and writer who uses theatre as a medium to conjure freedom, hope, joy, and justice. In 2008, she co-founded the Tofu Chitlin’ Circuit, a company that supported underserved Chicago communities through innovative programming. She also founded Fly Black Girl Education & Theatre, a healing and theatrical conservatory for and about Black women and girls. Chatman is the recipient of a Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation fellowship and the Goodman Theatre Maggio Directing fellowship, among others. She will develop The Messiah in Mink: The Rise and Fall of Prophet Jones through the commission.
Pinnock is a prolific U.K.-based playwright who is the recipient of the Alfred Fagon Award, the George Devine Award, and the Unity Theatre Trust Award, among others. She was a senior visiting fellow at Cambridge University and has been a writer in residence at Holloway Prison, Royal Court Theatre, Kuumba Arts Community Centre, and the Royal National Theatre Studio, among others. She was admitted as a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2020, and her short play Una Calling debuted online in the Globe Theatre’s Shakespeare and Race Festival.
Four finalists will also receive a cash prize of $12,500 in support of their artistic endeavors. The finalists are Rhodessa Jones, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Djanet Sears, and Pamela Sneed.
New York Theatre Workshop strives to empower visionary theatremakers and bring their work to adventurous audiences through productions, artist workshops, and educational programs, nurturing pioneering new writers alongside powerhouse playwrights.
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