Middle East America: A National New Plays Initiative, created by Golden Thread Productions in San Francisco, the Lark Play Development Center in New York, and Silk Road Theatre Project in Chicago, is gearing up for the second round of the program which represents the first national effort to actively cultivate and support the development of Middle Eastern-American playwrights and their plays.
In each two-year cycle, Middle East America provides a playwright of Middle Eastern descent with a $10,000 commission, intensive developmental support from the Lark Play Development Center, possible productions at Golden Thread Productions and Silk Road Theatre Project, and travel funds to be present at all stages of the process. During the commissioned play’s development and production arc, representatives of each partner organization travel to each city—Chicago, New York, and San Francisco—to observe the process and to engage in conversations and panel events about Middle Eastern voices.
The inaugural MEA prize was awarded in 2008 to playwright/performer Adriana Sevahn Nichols to develop her play NIGHT OVER ERZINGA. Additionally, Special Jury Prizes were given to playwrights Leila Buck and Sinan Ünel. About her experience over the past two years Nichols says, “This support of my play goes far beyond developing a ‘product.’ While visiting the three theatres,
I saw how passionately they rally their hearts behind the urgency of a voice and a story that must be told. They are committed to birthing new plays, while giving writers creative homes to take risks in, bringing their audiences bold new work that challenges and expands them.” Adriana’s commission is scheduled for productions in fall 2011 and spring 2012.
Applications will be accepted March 1 – June 15, 2010. The selected writer will be announced in December 2010. For more information and application guidelines, visit: www.middleeastamerica.org.
GOLDEN THREAD PRODUCTIONS is dedicated to theatre that explores Middle Eastern cultures and identities as represented throughout the globe. Our mission is to build an organization that consistently produces the highest quality theatre about Middle Eastern culture and to establish a dynamic artistic community and an expanding audience. And to make the Middle East a regular part of the American Theatre Experience and make theatre a regular part of the Middle Eastern community’s cultural experience. Golden Thread Productions is led by Artistic Director, Torange Yeghiazarian and Managing Director, Serge Bakalian. For more information: www.goldenthread.org.
A laboratory for new voices and new ideas, the LARK PLAY DEVELOPMENT CENTER provides playwrights with indispensable resources to develop their work. The Lark brings together actors, directors, playwrights and the community to allow writers to learn about their own work by seeing and hearing it, and by receiving feedback from a dedicated and supportive community. The company reaches into untapped local populations and across international boundaries to seek out and embrace unheard voices and diverse perspectives, celebrating differences in language and worldviews. The Lark also plays a leading role in advancing unknown writers and their works to audiences through carefully stewarded partnerships with a host of theaters, universities, community-based organizations, and NGOs, locally, nationally and globally. The Lark is led by Producing Director, John Clinton Eisner and Managing Director, Michael Robertson. For more information, www.larktheatre.org.
SILK ROAD THEATRE PROJECT showcases playwrights of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean backgrounds, whose works address themes relevant to the peoples of the Silk Road and their Diaspora communities. Through the creation and presentation of outstanding theatre, we aim to promote discourse and dialogue among multi-cultural audiences in Chicago. Silk Road Theatre Project is led by Artistic Director, Jamil Khoury and Executive Director, Malik Gillani. For more information, www.srtp.org.
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