KETCHUM, IDAHO: Martyna Majok has been selected as the recipient of the 2022-23 Sun Valley Playwright’s Residency. In partnership with The Community Library and The Argyros Performing Arts Center, the residency, now in its second year, offers a community-driven approach to supporting playwrights and fostering new-play development.
“Several national nonprofits that specialized in providing theatre artists with resources to ideate, write, and develop new work shuttered during the pandemic, leaving playwrights with far fewer artistic homes to generate new work,” said SVPR artistic director John Baker in a statement. “The residency grew out of a need to fill this void in a reimagined way. We’ve leaned into being a small, nimble organization that allows us to meet the specific needs of each playwright and engage in meaningful ways with the Wood River Valley community.”
The residency begins each October with the Community Library hosting the writer for a month-long stay at the historic Ernest and Mary Hemingway House and Preserve in Ketchum. During their retreat time, the playwright begins developing a new full-length work for the stage. Over the course of the subsequent year, they continue writing with customized support. The playwright then returns to Idaho the following October to workshop the play and participate in a public sharing of their work at the Argyros Performing Arts Center. During both visits, the playwright will engage with the Wood River Valley community through events, conversations, and receptions.
Obie Award-winning playwright, performer, and inaugural Sun Valley Playwright in Residence David Cale will return to Ketchum with Tony-nominated director Les Waters (Dana H.) to workshop Blue Cowboy, the full-length solo play completed during the residency. Cale will read the new work-in-process at the Argyros Performing Arts Center on Sept. 24.
“Sun Valley Playwright’s Residency gave me the extraordinary honor of being able to write in the Ernest and Mary Hemingway House, and the opportunity to be away from all the distractions of my home, and fully concentrate on beginning a new play that would take place in Idaho,” said Cale in a statement. “But once I was in Ketchum, for me, a kind of magic happened. The idea I had intended to work on was quickly moved to one side so I could work on a new idea which was wholly inspired by, and sprung from, my being in Ketchum.”
Martyna Majok was born in Bytom, Poland and raised in Jersey and Chicago. She was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play, Cost of Living, which will debut this fall on Broadway. Her other plays include Sanctuary City, Queens, and Ironbound, which have been produced across American and international stages. She has received various awards including The Hull-Warriner Award, The Academy of Arts and Letters’ Benjamin Hadley Danks Award for Exceptional Playwriting, Off Broadway Alliance Best New Play Award, The Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding New Play, The Hermitage Greenfield Prize, as the first female recipient in drama, The Champions of Change Award from the NYC Mayor’s Office, The Francesca Primus Prize, two Jane Chambers Playwriting Awards, and many more. Martyna studied at Yale School of Drama, Juilliard, University of Chicago, and Jersey public schools. She was a 2012-2013 NNPN playwright-in-residence, the 2015-2016 PoNY Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center, and a 2018-2019 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University. Martyna is currently writing a musical adaptation of The Great Gatsby, with music by Florence Welch and Thomas Bartlett, and developing TV and film for HBO, Plan B, and Pastel.
“I’m very grateful to Sun Valley Playwright’s Residency, The Community Library, and The Argyros for the time, space, and support to get to work in such a beautiful and culturally significant place,” said Majok in a statement. “It’s an honor to be among the first writers of the program, along with the brilliant and lovely David Cale.”
On Oct. 25, The Community Library will host a conversation with Majok, where she will also read excerpts from her Pulitzer Prize-winning and Broadway-bound play, Cost of Living.
On Oct. 28, Sun Valley Playwright’s Residency will present a reading of Majok’s 2016 highly-acclaimed Off-Broadway play Ironbound, directed by MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow Samuel D. Hunter (A Case for the Existence of God) and featuring David Janeski, Nick Sacks, and Aly Wepplo.
Sun Valley Playwright’s Residency is a non-profit hybrid artist retreat, commissioning program, and new play development lab based in Idaho’s Wood River Valley. SVPR aims to galvanize positive change within Wood River Valley’s community and beyond by giving visionary theatre artists of all backgrounds substantive time and space to focus on creating new work for the stage that produces conversations and learning opportunities locally, regionally, and nationally.
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