NEW YORK CITY: Rattlestick Theater has named Basil Kreimendahl its Mellon Foundation playwright in residence for 2023-26. Kreimendahl will receive three years of salary, benefits, and a research and development fund for his play Sadie River’s Drag Ball on the Lawn.
“Part of my impetus for joining Rattlestick is to lead the development and production of new plays that offer creative cultural models for the next generation,” newly appointed artistic director Will Davis said in a statement. “I see myself in Sadie, helping younger queer and trans folks feel a sense of belonging and a chance to decide who they are on their own terms. I also believe it is my personal responsibility to add work to the canon that models theatrical expansion and narrative diversity.”
Kreimendahl will workshop Sadie River’s Drag Ball on the Lawn to prepare for a production with Rattlestick. He will work alongside the playwrights in Rattlestick’s Terrence McNally New Works Incubator and Van Lier New Voices Fellowship. The residency program was established by the Mellon Foundation and HowlRound Theatre Commons in 2013 to reimagine traditional relationships between artists and institutions.
Kreimendahl, a resident playwright at New Dramatists, is a transgender artist whose work has been produced or developed by New York Theatre Workshop, La Jolla Playhouse, the Lark, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and LAByrinth Theater Company, among others. He is the recipient of the Rella Lossy Playwright Award, a Jerome Fellowship and a McKnight Fellowship from the Playwrights’ Center, and an Art Meets Activism grant. Kreimendahl has been commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s American Revolutions Program, and Actors Theatre of Louisville. His play Orange Julius was developed at the O’Neil Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference and had its New York premiere at Rattlestick in a co-production with Page 73.As a screenwriter, Kreimendahl is in development with FX and A24. His plays have been published by Dramatic Publishing and HowlRound, and he received his MFA from the University of Iowa.
“Rattlestick is a West Village theatre in the heart of one of New York City’s oldest queer communities and is the perfect collaborator for myself and Sadie River’s Drag Ball on the Lawn,” Kreimendahl said in a statement. “It has championed queer work and artists for decades, and I’m fortunate enough to be one of those artists.”
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. The foundation seeks to build enriched and empowered communities through grants so that critical thinking, ideas, and imagination can thrive.
Rattlestick Theater seeks to produce diverse, challenging, and provocative plays and foster the future voices of American theatre. The theatre focuses on energetic theatre that responds to the complexities of culture in conversation with community partners. It is currently led by Will Davis, the first transgender person to run an Off-Broadway theatre. As of 2022, the theatre had a budget of approximately $2.6 million.
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