ADV – Leaderboard

Theatre Awards Roundup: Democracy Cycle, National YoungArts Week, TAP Plus, Hermitage

A roundup of prizes, residencies, and other recognition from the week of Jan. 7.

Theatre Washington has named Rebecca Medrano the recipient of the 2024 Victor Shargai Leadership Award. Medrano is the co-founder and executive director of GALA Hispanic Theatre, serving in her post since 1976. An awards ceremony will be held Jan. 22 at the ATLAS Performing Arts Center, in tandem with the announcement of the 2024 Helen Hayes Awards nominations.

“Rebecca Medrano has been a leader in our theatre community for almost 50 years, and her work to create a nationally recognized Hispanic performing arts institution in Washington, D.C. and commitment to innovative artistic endeavors is immeasurable,” Theatre Washington president and CEO Amy Austin said in a statement.

The Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC) and Galvan Initiatives have announced a new program, the Democracy Cycle, which will commission 25 works across theatre, opera, dance, and music. The Democracy Cycle will ask artists to explore themes relating to the nature, practice, and experience of democracy.

Selected artists will receive a $30,000 commission, as well as an additional $30,000 for project development. All 25 projects will be commissioned over a five-year period, with at least eight artists chosen in the next three years.

“Given our location at the World Trade Center, I’m especially thrilled that PAC NYC is partnering with Galvan Initiatives on the Democracy Cycle,” Bill Rauch, PAC NYC artistic director, said in a statement. “Performing artists are uniquely equipped to strengthen our understanding of what it means to live in a democratic society, and I am confident that the works generated by this commissioning program will both entertain and enlighten, create empathy and understanding, provoke questions, and open doors to other points of view.”

The Democracy Cycle will be managed by project director Boo Froebel. The first submission window opens Jan. 16 and closes April 1.

YoungArts recently held its intensive program, National YoungArts Week, featuring 151 young artists across 10 disciplines. Participants attend classes and interdisciplinary workshops with acclaimed artists and are eligible for financial awards of up to $10,000, as well as nominations as U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts. Standout performances in musical theatre included Alexis Muturi of Dallas; Faith Dolan of Natick, Mass.; and Chase Ra’Mel Phillips of Louisville. Standout performances in theatre included Kadiatou Beye of Roodeport, South Africa; Mallian Buttler of Grand Prairie, Texas; Irene Zhong of Honolulu; and Christian Trimmingham of Interlochen, Mich.

28 New York state cultural organizations will receive a total of $135,000 in grants to provide open captioning (OC) and closed captioning (CC) services from the Theatre Development Fund‘s (TDF) TAP Plus Awards program, administered by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA). Any institution that currently receives NYSCA funding is eligible to apply for a TAP Plus grant of up to $5,000.

The 2024 TAP Plus grant recipient organizations include: Atlantic Theater Company, BRIC, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Curiosity Cabinet, Educational Alliance, EPIC Players, Fiasco Theater, Geva Theatre Center, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Kyoung’s Pacific Beat, La MaMaMCC Theater, National Dance Institute, The New Group, New York Theatre Barn, New York Theatre Workshop, Perelman Performing Arts Center, Pipeline Theatre Company, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater, Second Stage Theater, SheNYC Arts, Signature Theatre, Symphony Space, Syracuse Stage, Theater Breaking Through Barriers, Theatre for a New Audience, and University Settlement Society of New York.

Ford’s Theatre has announced the second cohort of writers to receive the Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions. Playwrights Nilo Cruz, Chess Jakobs, Gloria Reuben, Jeanne Sakata, and Madeline Sayet will participate in the commissions process that includes first readings, developmental workshops, and world premiere productions within the next decade. The Legacy Commissions are designed to serve as artistic incubators for stories about unsung heroes responsible for changing the course of civil rights and equality in American life. The inaugural cohort of commissioned playwrights from 2021 includes Pearl Cleage, Rickerby Hinds, Nambi E. Kelley, Dominic Taylor, and Charlayne Woodard.

The theatre will present The Ford’s Theatre Legacy Commissions: A First Look reading festival, Jan. 26-27. Now in its second year, this festival will include readings of the remaining works of the theatre’s inaugural class of commissions, as well as the first reading from the program’s second cohort. The lineup includes A Designer of Note, A Woman of Style by Charlayne Woodard, about the life of fashion designer Ann Lowe; SISTER X by Nambi E. Kelley, about a young mother’s quest to share her life’s challenges with Malcolm X; and The American Five by Chess Jakobs, which explores present-day biases and racial discord inside a graduate classroom.

Karamu House has selected 17 local artists to receive awards through the Room in the House (RITH) fellowship program. Funded through a Support for Artists grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, RITH awards are designed to empower artists’ creative practices and include a $5,000 financial award, digital exhibition presence, and space at Karamu for creation, exhibition, and performance. Applications for the fellowship were open to Cuyahoga County-based artists with a demonstrated commitment to their visual arts or performance-based work and alignment with Karamu’s vision of socially and culturally responsive art that celebrates the Black experience.

Room in the House visual arts fellows include Drew Benton, Davon Brantley, Chelsea Craig, Aja Joi Grant , Adenike Harper, Theresa Highbaugh, Brinase Merrit, Bobbi Reagins , and Lacy Talley . RITH performing arts fellows include Obediya Jones-Darrell , Kisha Nicole Foster , Jailyn Sherell Harris , Kierra McDade, Martinique Mims, Avery Lamar Pope, Jerrod Amir Shakir, and choreographic duo Alice Blumenfeld and Felise Bagley.

The Hermitage Artist Retreat, in collaboration with the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation, has selected playwright Deepa Purohit as the winner of the 2024 Hermitage Greenfield Prize. The prize is awarded annually, rotating among the fields of theatre, music, and visual art. Purohit will receive a six-week Hermitage Fellowship and a $35,000 commission to create a new work of theatre, which will have its first public presentation in Sarasota in 2026. This year, the Greenfield Foundation and the Hermitage decided to increase the cash component of the award from $30,000 to $35,000.

Support American Theatre: a just and thriving theatre ecology begins with information for all. Please join us in this mission by joining TCG, which entitles you to copies of our quarterly print magazine and helps support a long legacy of quality nonprofit arts journalism.

ADV – Billboard