Minority Report

American Theatre, November 2004 | Go to article overview

Minority Report


PHILADELPHIA AND COSTA MESA, CALIF.: One of the country's foremost black theatres on the East Coast has scaled back its operations this season, while a major regional theatre in California has shut down a festival exclusively devoted to Latino playwrights.

Philadelphia's New Freedom Theatre has canceled three productions of its 2004-05 season, aiming to concentrate instead on its performing-arts training program and fundraising for its capacity-building efforts. The decision to refocus New Freedom's operations, according producing artistic director Walter Dallas, is temporary. The production cutbacks will result in a $700,000 savings, while the theatre gears up for a national search for a new managing director. The troupe hopes to deal effectively with a long-term $4-million debt, including unexpected expenses associated with the decade-long renovation of its North Philadelphia headquarters that was completed in 1999. New Freedom has given the green light to a new show in April 2005--Kofifi, a play with music created by Dallas himself, whose cast is expected to feature youth from the training program. Donations may be made at www.freedomtheatre.org.

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California's South Coast Repertory has disbanded its 19-year-old Hispanic Playwrights Project in favor of "merging it" (according to the press release) with a new, broader-based "emerging artists initiative." The new program, financed by a $750,000 combined matching grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. …

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