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L M Feldman, Harmon dot daut, and Jessica Huang.

Playwrights’ Center, Venturous Theater Fund Name Playwright Fellows

The three fellows will partner with producing theatres across the country.

MINNEAPOLIS: The Playwrights’ Center and Venturous Theater Fund have announced the 2023-25 Venturous Playwright Fellows. The fellows include Harmon dot aut, L M Feldman, and Jessica Huang.

“Centering artists is a core value of Playwrights’ Center, and this redesigned fellowship program is a
heartfelt expression of that value,” producing artistic director Jeremy B. Cohen said in a statement. “We are thrilled to provide meaningful financial support to playwrights, give them resources to develop ambitious plays, and ensure that their work is seen in fully realized productions.”

Fellows will receive $50,000 over a two-year period, as well as funds for developmental and artistic support. Each fellow is partnered with a theatre that commits to producing their play within the next three years. Partner theatres are also eligible to receive up to $75,000 in subsidies from the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation.

“The Venturous Playwright Fellowship is designed to advance bold, experimental, fearless plays to
production through a process that centers artists in decisions about how grant money flows through the theatre ecosystem,” Venturous Theater Fund program director Ben Pesner said in a statement. “We are honored to be supporting Harmon dot aut, L M Feldman, and Jessica Huang, their work, and the theatres across the U.S. that have committed to bringing these remarkable plays to the stage.”

dot aut will partner with Spectrum Theatre Ensemble and the Contemporary American Theater Festival for their play Tornado Tastes Like Aluminum Sting. Feldman will partner with City Theatre Company, Curious Theatre Company, and the VORTEX with her play Another Kind of Silence. Huang will partner with Florida Studio Theatre for her play Mother of Exiles.

dot aut, the resident playwright at Spectrum, is an Amazigh playwright, film director, and composer whose work has been produced by the Tank, Dixon Place, and KC Fringe Festival, among others. They are a fellow at the Hermitage Artist Retreat.

“I am full of gratitude,” dot aut said in a statement about the fellowship. “What does the Venturous Theater Fund mean to me? Production! New plays and musicals and an opera I have in mind and this disability ballet I’ve been thinking about for years.”

Feldman is a queer, gender nonconforming playwright who has twice been a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize nominee. She is an alum of the Yale School of Drama and the New England Center for Circus Arts, and is working on a new play about circus, healing, and middle-aged athletes.

“I make work that’s hard to produce in the confines of the conventional American regional theatre,” Feldman said in a statement. “And like most artist ruffians, I struggle to find homes for my work. As a Venturous Playwright Fellow, I’m feeling heartened and newly inspired to find a wider cohort of producing collaborators.”

Huang is a playwright and librettist whose work has been produced by History Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, and San Francisco Playhouse. She is under commission with Manhattan Theatre Club and Theater Mu and is developing a television show. A Julliard School graduate, Huang is a MacDowell fellow and three-time Playwrights’ Center fellow.

“I’ve been dying to share this play with the world, and have been so afraid that the venturous aspects of it would be a barrier,” Huang said in a statement about Mother of Exiles, which has won the Rosa Parks Playwriting Award and the Paul Stephen Lim Playwriting Award. “It is beyond affirming that those are exactly the elements of this play that are being celebrated.”

The Playwrights’ Center asked 50 playwrights to nominate scripts that are epic in scope, formally adventurous, and full of bold ideas for its Venturous List. The Playwrights’ Center shared the list of nominated plays with theatres nationwide, and theatres submitted fellowship applications in partnership with nominated playwrights.

The full list of nominated plays and playwrights is available here.

The Playwrights’ Center sustains, develops, and advocates for playwrights and their work to realize their full artistic potential. The Playwrights’ Center helps to start and sustain careers, develop new work, and connect playwrights to theatres, and offers over $400,000 in direct support to playwrights each year. As of 2021, the organization had a budget of approximately $3.2 million.

The Venturous Theater Fund supports ambitious new works and writers through grants and other funds. The Fund creates opportunities for relationship-building and artist collaborations across boundaries. It was established in 2012 as a donor-advised fund at the Tides Foundation.

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