Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Establishes Playwright Residencies with $3.7 Million Initiative

Jan 8, 2013

It's hard to make a steady living as a playwright.

In the United States, most professional theaters are likely to have marketers or grantwriters on staff who can count on a regular paycheck, but playwrights rarely have that stability. Most support their playwrighting habit by writing for film or television, teaching, or working a day job.

But for at least the next 3 years, 14 playwrights will be able to try another way.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded $3.7 million initiative to allow playwrights to focus on their work as playwrights. 14 playwrights have been selected to receive a salary and benefits for 3 years, while in residence at theaters in 11 different communities across the United States. The funding will go to the playwrights and the theaters and includes a $760,000 grant to the Center for the Theater Commons at Emerson College, more than half of which will be used to cover the participating playwrights' travel and research expenses. The rest, according to the Boston Globe, will be used to hire freelancers to document, track the impact of the initiative and share information through social networking.

The 14 playwrights are: Melinda Lopez, Huntington Theatre Company of Boston; David Adjmi, Soho Repertory Theatre of New York City; Dan Le Franc, Playwrights Horizons of New York City; Robert O’Hara, Wooly Mammoth Theatre Company of Washington, D.C.; Luis Alfaro, Oregon Shakespeare Festival of Ashland, Oregon; Pearl Cleage, Alliance Theatre of Atlanta; Marcus Gardley, Victory Gardens Theater of Chicago; Nathan Louis Jackson, Kansas City Repertory Theatre of Kansas City, Missouri; Julie Marie Myatt, South Coast Repertory of Costa Mesa, California; Peter Nachtrieb, Z Space of San Francisco; Qui Nguyen, Mixed Blood Theatre Company of Minneapolis; Kira Obolensky, Ten Thousand Things of Minneapolis; Will Power, Dallas Theater Center of Dallas; and Andrew Saito, Cutting Ball Theater of San Francisco.

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