LOWELL, MASS.: The Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has announced the establishment of the Mayor Sokhary Chau Playwriting Fellowship. The season-long fellowship will begin in 2024 and will provide writers with the opportunity to create and workshop new work centering Southeast Asian narratives.
“This fellowship will fill a critical need in building a new canon of work for Southeast Asian writers,” Courtney Sale, MRT’s executive artistic director, said in a statement. “There is no better place to create these new narratives than here in Lowell.”
Named after Sokhary Chau, the mayor of Lowell and the first Khmer mayor in the United States, the fellowship will be awarded annually to playwrights living in the U.S. who self-identify as Southeast Asian. Playwrights will have a week-long development process culminating in a public reading at MRT. The work will also be optioned to MRT for production in future seasons.
Commissioned playwrights will receive a development fee, travel support, and housing in Lowell for the duration of the fellowship. Kalean Ung, an actor, singer, and interdisciplinary artist, will judge play submissions with playwright and actor Vichet Chum.
Now celebrating its 45th season, Merrimack Repertory Theatre has as its mission creating remarkable contemporary plays that engage, entertain, and enrich the Lowell community. The company is a leader in producing new plays, including regional and world premieres. As of 2021, the theatre had a budget of approximately $1.4 million.
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