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Application due: April 11, 2013
NOTE: Advance notification of intent to apply is strongly encouraged (but not required). Panelists attend live performances to help familiarize themselves with applicants' work, so it is very important to declare your intent to apply and inform the Playwrights' Center where and when your performances take place. You may notify the Center of intent to apply any time before the final application deadline. (You may submit a final application without notifying the Center in advance; however, by providing no notice of your intent to apply, you are limiting panelists' ability to view your work in a live setting.)
McKnight Theater Artist Fellowships
The McKnight Theater Artist Fellowships at the Playwrights' Center recognize theater artists other than playwrights whose work demonstrates exceptional artistic merit and potential and whose primary residence is in the state of Minnesota. The grants are intended to significantly advance recipients' art and careers.
Three grants of $25,000 each will be awarded in 2013-14. These grants are funded by the McKnight Foundation as part of its Arts Program. Final selection decisions will be made by a diverse panel of both local and national theater artists.
Selection is based on a commitment to theater arts, evidence of professional achievement, and a sustained level of excellence in the applicant's work. Recent recipients include: Sarah Agnew, Ansa Akyea, Shá Cage, James Craven, Marcus Dilliard, Kate Eifrig, Masanari Kawahara, Christopher Lutter-Gardella, Greta Oglesby, Sonja Parks, Robert Rosen, Joel Sass, and Michael Wangen.
A panel of three Minnesota theater professionals and two national panelists will review application packages and select fellowship recipients. Selection will be based on a commitment to theater arts, evidence of professional achievements, and sustained excellence with a significant body of work in the field. The panel's decision is final. Playwrights' Center staff do not participate in award decisions.
Questions may be addressed to Artistic Administrator Amanda Robbins-Butcher.Back to Top
Sarah Agnew is currently appearing as Varya in The Cherry Orchard which will be performed in historic homes in five small towns in rural Minnesota this July. Other theaters: Guthrie: Time Stands Still, The 39 Steps, Dollhouse, The Secret Fall of Constance Wilde, The Home Place, Major Barbara, The Falls, As You Like It, Nickel and Dimed. Theater Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Dead Man's Cell Phone; Shakespeare Theater Company: Twelfth Night; New Victory Theater: Hamlet; Yale Rep: Servant of Two Masters; Cincinnati Playhouse: Behind the Eye, Sarah Ruhl's Three Sisters (world premiere); Jungle Theater: The Syringa Tree; American Rep: The Miser, Amerika; Berkeley Rep: Tartuffe, Don Juan Giovanni, The Green Bird; Theatre de la Jeune Lune: company member 1995-2001, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Seagull, Medea, Hamlet, Tartuffe; Open Eye: Holiday Pageant; Children's Theatre: Alice in Wonderland. Film: Detective Fiction, Older Than America. Sarah was a recipient of a Princess Grace Honorarium, and a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant to study with master clown, Pierre Byland, in Locarno, Switzerland. She received an Acclaim Award for her portrayal of Lee Miller in Carson Kreitzer's Behind the Eye at the Cincinnati Playhouse, and the Star Tribune called her the best comic actress in 2012. She has devised her own work in collaboration with other artists on THE WHITE SMILE HOUR, ARCHY & MEHITABEL, and IGLOO GLUE. This fall will be her second semester on the teaching faculty at the U of M. She has a B.A. from UW-Madison, apprenticed at the Actor's Theater of Louisville, and studied at Ecole Philippe Gaulier in London.
Chris is a designer, inventor, theater-maker and community educator whose work revolves around the design, construction and performance of puppets, masks, props, costumes, unique theatrical inventions, kinetic-sets and sculptural installations. He produces his art predominately from waste-stream materials, and engages community members in re-purposing them into performable art-works, while deepening their connections to the Earth and to one another.
Chris places a deep and abiding emphasis on material resourcefulness, eco-consciousness, sculptural and performative improvisation, and educational integration. He often refers to his material-and-device-driven theater work as “hands-on theater”—which proposes to explore the intrinsic theatrical potential of everyday materials and objects.
Through the years Chris has designed and built increasingly technical figures, evolving in his application of simple mechanicals to achieve more subtle animations—while, nevertheless, striving to stay true to his waste ecology ethic.
As a theater designer, Chris believes in the life of things on stage. He has an affinity towards stuff, particularly in regard to its potential to generate imaginative worlds, characters, narratives and states of being. He wishes to deepen his exploration of this essence of things and how it supports and generates life and meaning on stage.
Chris received a 2006 Bush Artist Fellowship, a 2008 Public Art Saint Paul Sustainable Practices Fellowship and a 2010 MSAB Artist Initiative Grant. He is on the Minnesota State Arts Board and COMPAS/Young Audiences of MN teaching-artist rosters. Chris also manages and directs Puppet Farm Arts, a humble nonprofit community-arts organization, founded back when he used to squat in a barn with his collection of trash and puppets, in Wisconsin.
Recently, Chris collaborated with Tiger-Lion Arts, the Minnesota Boy Choir and Circus Juventas, designing and staging a veritable spectacle of puppets and animated set-pieces, in the production of The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, at the Southern Theater. Chris has also worked with: the Guthrie Theatre, designing and building a life-size Kodiak Grizzly Bear puppet for A Winter's Tale; Jon Ferguson Theater, designing and building a stage adaptation of Pinocchio; Open Eye Figure Theater, designing and building cock-fighting rooster marionettes; Worm Farm Institute, building a pair of 10-ft-tall dancing boots; and Circus Juventas, designing, building, and coaching life-size circus-animal puppets.
Chris regularly presents his famous Big Animal puppets in the public square—in parks, schools, parades, libraries, fairs, and anywhere else where the intervention of marvelously-large wild-animal puppets is desired!
Chris is also a bona-fide, licensed, certified, accredited, registered, and bonded puppet doctor.
Michael is a well known lighting designer in the Twin Cities area where his work has been seen at the Guthrie, Children's Theatre, Pillsbury House Theatre, Illusion Theater, Pangea World Theatre, Frank Theatre, Penumbra Theatre, and many others. He served as the resident lighting designer with Penumbra from 1987-2000 and is currently the designer in residence at Pillsbury House as well as the lighting director with the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul. Recent designs include Jomama Jones Radiate!, Buzzer, and In the Red and Brown Water, Pillsbury House; Are You Now or Have You Ever Been…, Carlyle Brown & Co.; The House on Mango Street, Pangea; What's the Word For, Illusion Theater; and 1968, History Theatre.
Regional Theatre credits include Gleam, Centerstage of Baltimore; Yellowman, Trinity Rep.; Pure Confidence, 59E59 NY; and The Fula From America written and performed by Carlyle Brown at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Spoleto Festival USA, and Two River Theatre among others.
His dance designs include work with Ananya Dance Co., The Body Cartography Project, Aniccha Arts, and an upcoming project with Karen Sherman which will premiere in Washington D.C. in the spring of 2013.
He feels very honored to be a recipient of this fellowship and to the McKnight Foundation for their continuing investment in the artists of this region.