Grants Awarded to 17 Theatre Companies

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In an effort to foster new and expanded collaborations between creative artists and America's resident professional theatres, 17 theatre companies across the country will receive grants totaling $975,000 in the eighth year of the National Theatre Artist Residency Program. The program was jointly developed by TCG and The Pew Charitable Trusts. As TCG executive director Ben Cameron observed in announcing the awards, the grants provide the expanded time "to develop deep and lasting partnerships as well as ambitious new work."

Grants of $50,000 or $100,000 are supporting the following residencies:

* A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle will partner with writer/performer and new vaudevillan David Shiner to create a new and respected place for vaudeville in today's contemporary theatre. Shiner will develop new work, including his first solo piece.

* About Face Theatre in Chicago will partner with playwright Jim Grimsley on the development of a new play. Grimsley will also mentor local playwrights and teach master classes to graduate students and early-career professionals.

* Dell'Arte Players Company in Blue Lake, Calif., will work with internationally renowned scenographer Giulio Cesare Perrone on new works, including a multi-part adaptation of Paradise Lost. Perrone also will lead workshops for the theatre's international training program.

* Denver Center Theatre Company will work with playwright Gary Leon Hill on two new plays, including Inna Beginning, which the theatre commissioned. Hill also will establish a playwrights unit at the theatre and will work closely with students at the DCTC's National Conservatory.

* New World Theater in Amherst, Mass., will collaborate with director/writer/performer Steven Sapp and singer/writer/performer Mildred Ruiz, founders of the groundbreaking performance ensemble Universes, on two works exploring new theatre aesthetics. Sapp and Ruiz also will introduce the theatre's leadership to other spoken word, hip hop and performance poetry artists.

* Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland will work with playwright Octavio Solis on the development of a new play about the pressures of contemporary marriage in a racially mixed and violence-filled America. The residency will enable Solis to employ an actor-centered playmaking model involving a series of improvisational laboratories.

* Portland Stage Company in Maine will work with playwright Shelley Berc to produce two works, one a documentary, that examine stories and myths about women's lives and the sea.

Theatres that previously received support from the program were eligible for matching grants of $25,000 or $50,000. The following residencies were supported in that category:

* Alabama Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery and playwright Carlyle Brown will work on the further development and premiere presentation of his script The Negro of Peter the Great and the development of a musical, Rose Colored Glasses, using compositions of Luther Henderson and Billy Strayhorn.

* Actors Theatre of Louisville in Kentucky will work with director Anne Bogart in an effort to involve employees from all areas of the institution in the creative process, deepening the sense of union between the staff and the art form. During the residency, Bogart will direct both a classic play for the subscription season and a new play for the Humana Festival.

* Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and playwright/director/performer Rebecca Rice will develop The Southwest Project: Alleys and Pathways, an oral history-based performance work examining the cultural and economic transitions that characterize the southwest D.C. neighborhood surrounding Arena Stage. …