MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK CITY: The five theatres that comprise the Generation Now partnership—Latino Theater Company, Ma-Yi Theater Company, Native Voices at the Autry, Penumbra Theatre, and Children’s Theatre Company—have awarded their first round of commissions to four projects. These include One Small Alice by Ifa Bayeza; Drawing Lessons by Michi Barall; Comanche Girl on the Moon by Dustin Tahmahkera; and a work exploring the world of folklórico dance by the Latino Theater Company.
“We are thrilled to partner with these leaders and their extraordinary organizations to develop new ways of creating works for multigenerational audiences,” Peter Brosius, artistic director of Children’s Theatre Company, said in a statement. “We are eager to work together to support these remarkable artists in their journey to bring new stories, new perspectives, and new aesthetics to the field.”
Generation Now brings together five theatres across the nation to commission and develop new works for multigenerational audiences by both established and emerging BIPOC artists. All commissions will receive at least two developmental workshops at the co-commissioning theatres. The goal of the partnership is to expand the canon of work produced and to create a model of transformative partnership for the theatre field.
Bayeza’s One Small Alice was co-commissioned by Penumbra and Children’s Theatre Company. The play transposes Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass into the journey of a 9 year old girl on the Underground Railroad.
Bayeza is a playwright, director, novelist, and educator. She is known for the Till Trilogy, which includes the plays The Ballad of Emmett Till, That Summer in Sumner, and Benevolence. She is also the co-author of the novel Some Sing, Some Cry with the late Ntozake Shange. A finalist for the Herb Alpert Award and the Francesca Primus Prize in 2020, Bayeza was the inaugural humanist in residence at the National Endowment for the Humanities. Bayeza is the recipient of two concurrent commissions from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is a 2022 MacDowell fellow. A graduate of Harvard University, Bayeza received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Barall’s Drawing Lessons was co-commissioned by Ma-Yi and Children’s Theatre Company. The play follows Kate, a girl who has just started middle school and can’t seem to talk to anyone, but can communicate with Paul, a comic strip artist at a newspaper. The play will be available for licensing with Plays for New Audiences post-production.
Barall is a New York-based actor, playwright, and academic. Her dance-theatre piece Rescue Me was produced at the Ohio Theatre by Ma-Yi in 2010. In 2017, her music theatre adaptation of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, Peer Gynt and the Norwegian Hapa Band, at ART/New York. Barall holds an MFA from New York University and PhD in Theatre and English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University and is a faculty member at Purchase College.
Tahmahkera’s Comanche Girl on the Moon was co-commissioned by Native Voices at the Autry and Children’s Theatre Company. The play follows an imaginative but insecure Comanche girl, Petu, who discovers her late grandmother’s rocket ship in Oklahoma. It will be available for licensing with Plays for New Audiences post-production.
Tahmahkera is a Comanche playwright and professor of Native media and sound studies at the University of Oklahoma. His short play 9-1-1 Comanchería received best play and audience favorite awards at Native Voices at the Autry’s recent Los Angeles play festival, and is part of a series of original short plays in his book, Comanche vs. the World. Tahmahkera’s previous books include Tribal Television: Viewing Native Peoples in Sitcoms from the University of North Carolina Press and Cinematic Comanches: The Lone Ranger in the Media Borderlands from the University of Nebraska Press.
Latino Theater Company’s untitled folklórico play, which was co-commissioned by the company and by Children’s Theatre Company, is a journey into the world of Mexican folklórico dance through the lens of young people confronting their roots, identity, and truth.
Generation Now received funding from the Mellon Foundation in 2021 to co-commission and co-develop 16 new plays by both established and emerging BIPOC artists for multigenerational audiences over five years.
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