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Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins Receives Inaugural Pinnacle Commission

The new $60,000 commission is a joint effort by South Coast Repertory and Playwrights Horizons.

COSTA MESA, CALIF. and NEW YORK CITY: South Coast Repertory and Playwrights Horizons have named Branden Jacobs-Jenkins the recipient of the inaugural Pinnacle Commission. The commission is part of South Coast Rep’s the Lab@SCR, a play development program.

Created in 2019 as another way to recognize and expand support for established artists of remarkable achievement, the Pinnacle Commission includes $60,000 to playwrights, the largest commission SCR offers.

“I’m proud and grateful to launch the Pinnacle Commission as part of the Lab@SCR,” South Coast Rep artistic director David Ivers said in a statement. “I’m further humbled our esteemed colleagues at Playwrights Horizons have agreed to partner with us in supporting the immensely talented Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.”

Playwrights Horizons artistic director Adam Greenfield added in a statement that the commission “brings so much to look forward to as we deepen our relationship with our colleagues at South Coast Repertory and begin a new journey with Branden, whose work adds endless surprise and complexity to the American canon.”

Jacobs-Jenkins is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, for his 2016 play Gloria and his 2018 play Everybody. A MacArthur Foundation fellow, Jacobs-Jenkins is a recipient of the Steinberg Playwrights Award, the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, the PEN/Laura Pels Theater Award, the inaugural Tennessee Williams Award from the Sundance Institute, and United States Artists and Guggenheim fellowships, among other honors. He has taught playwriting at the University of Texas and the Juilliard School, among others, and currently teaches at Yale University. Jacobs-Jenkins recently made his South Coast Rep debut with Appropriate, which co-won the 2014 Obie Award for Best New American Play along with his other play An Octoroon.

“I’m so honored to be the first recipient of this commission,” Jacobs-Jenkins said in a statement. “This is an unheard-of opportunity for any dramatist, and I just look forward to working with these two legendary institutions of new American playwriting.”

The Pinnacle Commission builds on South Coast Rep’s commitment to spotlighting and supporting both new and established voices in American theatre. South Coast Repertory is recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States and is renowned for its extensive new-play development programming. One quarter of the theatre’s more than 500 productions have been world premieres. As of 2021, the theatre had a budget of approximately $5.7 million.

Playwrights Horizons is dedicated to the development of contemporary American playwrights and to the production of innovative new works. Playwrights Horizons supports writer in every stage of their growth through commissions, a master class series, an audio program, and a digital magazine. As of 2021, the theatre had a budget of approximately $8 million.

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