Playwrights' Center announces 2012-13 McKnight Fellows06/14/2012
Grants awarded to playwrights Christina Ham, Cory Hinkle and Betty Shamieh and theater artists Sarah Agnew, Christopher Lutter-Gardella and Mike Wangen
The Playwrights' Center today named the 2012-13 recipients of its three McKnight Artist Fellowship programs.
The 2012-13 McKnight Advancement Grant recipients are Christina Ham (recent local productions include Crash Test Dummies at Red Eye Theater and 1968: The Year That Rocked the World at the History Theatre) and Cory Hinkle (recent local productions include The War Within/All's Fair with The Moving Company and CLANDESTINO with Wilhelm Bros. & Co. at Mixed Blood Theatre). Awarded yearly to two Minnesota playwrights demonstrating exceptional artistic merit, the McKnight Advancement Grant includes a $25,000 cash award and significant funds for the development of a new play.
"It is truly an honor to receive this grant," said Ham. "It will buy me the time to write and create a new body of work—something that is hard to come by in the life of a working playwright."
The 2012-13 McKnight Theater Artist Fellows are actor Sarah Agnew, a regular performer at the Guthrie Theater, Ten Thousand Things Theatre and previously at Theatre de la Jeune Lune; award-winning puppet and mask creator Christopher Lutter-Gardella, owner and Artistic Director of the eco-conscious community art center Puppet Farm Arts; and prolific lighting designer Mike Wangen, whose work has been seen at nearly every venue in the Twin Cities. The McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship, awarded yearly to three Minnesota theater artists demonstrating exceptional artistic merit and potential, also provides $25,000 as well as additional funds for career or artistic development.
"To be acknowledged and nurtured in this way, at this moment in my career and in a theater community filled with formidable artists, is a supreme honor," said Agnew.
In addition, the 2012-13 McKnight National Residency and Commission has been awarded to New York-based writer Betty Shamieh, whose works—including The Black Eyed, Roar, Again and Against, Territories, Free Radicals and Chocolate in Heat—have been produced Off-Broadway and internationally. The McKnight National Residency and Commission, awarded yearly to a nationally recognized playwright, provides a $12,500 commission and extensive resources and development time at the Playwrights' Center to develop the new work.
2012 marks the 30th anniversary of the McKnight Foundation's Artist Fellowships, which have helped support more than 1,100 artists since 1982. From the program's inception, the Playwrights' Center has partnered with the McKnight Foundation to administer more than 150 of those fellowships, arranging independent selection panels and providing artistic support to fellows.
2012-13 MCKNIGHT ADVANCEMENT GRANT RECIPIENTS
CHRISTINA HAM'S plays have been developed both nationally and internationally with the Center Theatre Group, the Guthrie Theater, and the Tokyo International Arts Festival, among others. Christina is the recipient of a McKnight Advancement Grant and Jerome Fellowship from the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis, the Marianne Murphy Women & Philanthropy Award in Playwriting, and a 2006 MacDowell Residency. Her feature-length screenplay Booker was a finalist for Tribeca Film Institute's All Access program. A graduate of the University of Southern California and UCLA's M.F.A. Playwriting program, Christina is a Core Writer at the Playwrights' Center and member of the Workhaus Collective.
CORY HINKLE'S plays include A Disappearance in Two Parts, The Killing of Michael X, Little Eyes, SadGrrl13, Phosphorescence and Cipher. His work has been produced or developed at the Guthrie, Workhaus Collective, Summer Play Festival (SPF), Illusion Theater, P73 Productions, New York Theatre Workshop, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, American Repertory Theater and Ars Nova, among others. He is the recipient of two Jerome fellowships, a MAP Fund Grant, a Jerome Travel and Study Grant and a PWC/NET Grant to co-create Brecht's Brain with Theatre Novi Most. He is a co-creator of Fissures (lost and found), which was co-commissioned by Actors Theater of Louisville and the Playwrights' Center and premiered at the 2010 Humana Festival. He is a member playwright of the Workhaus Collective and earned his M.F.A. in Playwriting from Brown University.
2012-13 MCKNIGHT THEATER ARTIST FELLOWS
SARAH AGNEW is a theater artist based out of Minneapolis/St. Paul. She most recently appeared at the Guthrie Theater in Time Stands Still, and next will be playing Varya in The Cherry Orchard to be performed in historic homes in five towns in rural Minnesota. She was a longtime company member at Theatre de la Jeune Lune, and has also performed at Yale Repertory, American Repertory Theater, The New Victory, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Berkeley Rep, La Jolla Playhouse, and Cincinnati Playhouse, where she earned an Acclaim award in 2011 for her portrayal of Lee Miller in Carson Kreitzer's Behind the Eye.
CHRISTOPHER LUTTER-GARDELLA 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. 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 andobjects. 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.
MICHAEL WANGEN has been designing lights in the area for over 30 years, during which his work has been seen at almost every theater in town including the Guthrie, Children's Theatre, Penumbra (where he served as resident designer from 1987-2000), Frank Theatre, Illusion, History Theatre, Pangea, and Pillsbury House. Recent work includes Buzzer at Pillsbury House, The House on Mango Street with Pangea, Are You Now or Have You Ever Been… with Carlyle Brown & Co., and last year's In the Red and Brown Water at Pillsbury House. He is also the lighting director at the Fitzgerald Theater, where he lights A Prairie Home Companion.
2012-13 MCKNIGHT NATIONAL RESIDENCY & COMMISSION WINNER
BETTY SHAMIEH'S plays have been translated into seven languages. Her off-Broadway premieres are The Black Eyed (New York Theatre Workshop) and Roar (The New Group). Her European productions in translation include Again and Against (Playhouse Theater, Stockholm), The Black Eyed (Fournos Theatre, Athens), and Territories (European Union Capital of Culture Festival). Shamieh performed in her play of monologues, Chocolate in Heat, in three Off-Off-Broadway runs. A graduate of Harvard College and the Yale School of Drama, Shamieh was selected as a 2011 UNESCO Young Artist for Intercultural Dialogue and a Playwriting Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. www.bettyshamieh.com
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