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Waterwell Receives Nea Grant for Performances Projects at PPAS

Rick Miramontez / Michael Jorgensen
rick@oandmco.com / michael@oandmco.com
(212) 695-7400
W A T E R W E L L   D R A M A   P R O G R A M

New York, NY (June 25, 2013) – The Waterwell Drama Program announced today that it has been awarded a $20,000 Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support its Performance Projects at the Professional Performing Arts School.

The Projects will build on the award-winning training program by offering each grade (6-12) its own added rehearsal experience, including full-length production of classics and new play workshops with professional writers. Launched in 2012, this year’s Projects featured: And Then There Were None and A Midsummer Night’s Dream directed by Casey McClellan (Overall Excellence Award, Directing, 2012 FringeNYC); The Caucasian Chalk Circle directed by Lee Sunday Evans (resident director, CollaborationTown); and the world premiere of A Spare Me by A. Rey Pamatmat (current Hodder Fellow in Playwriting at Princeton).

Next year’s projects will consist of a 6th grade devised piece, 7th grade play, 8th grade musical, 9th grade scene night, 10th grade play of heightened language, 11th grade modern masterpiece, and 12th grade new play workshop (the “New Works Lab”).

“When we offer extraordinary young people like these the chance to engage in the theatrical rehearsal process, what we’re really offering them is the chance to become experts at the skills they’ll need to succeed in this modern world – regardless of the career they choose to pursue. They’re learning to embrace change and surprise, to value empathy and subjectivity, and to feel the power of their own voice and their own story,” remarked Tom Ridgely, Waterwell’s Artistic Director.

The Waterwell Drama Program is NYC’s premiere training ground for young artists, innovators and leaders. Founded in 2010 and led by Waterwell Director of Education Rebecca Schwartz in partnership with the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS), it delivers top-quality, year-round, in-school theater training to over 300 NYC public school students.

Waterwell is a unique ensemble of theater artists dedicated to the creation of new work and the bold re-interpretation of classics. Founded in 2002 by Arian Moayed and Tom Ridgely, the company’s special blend of music, theater and social dialogue has been nominated for three IT awards, a Drama Desk, a New York Magazine Culture Award and Village Voice Best of NYC.


ARIAN MOAYED (Artistic Director) is a Waterwell co-founder, educator and Tony-nominated actor. Waterwell: Hamlet (upcoming), Ajax (upcoming), Goodbar (co-director, Under The Radar Festival), #9, The|King|Operetta, Marco Millions, The Persians, among others. Broadway: Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Tony nom, Drama League nom, Theater World Award). Off-Broadway: Food & Fadwa (NYTW); King Lear, The Fever Chart (Public Theater); Queens Blvd (Signature); Masked (Drama Desk nom); American Pilot (MTC), Homebody/Kabul (BAM, Steppenwolf), among others. Selected Film & TV: “Believe” (2014 NBC Series Regular, produced by JJ Abrams), Roadies, The Christians, “MONY” (NBC Pilot). Film Writer/Director: Overdue (2012), Day Ten. (2013), This Island Made Me (starring Michael Shannon, 2014).

TOM RIDGELY (Artistic Director) is a Drama Desk-nominated director, educator and co-founder of Waterwell. For Waterwell he’s directed or co-directed GOODBAR, #9, The|King|Operetta, Marco Millions (based on lies) and The Persians, among others. In New York he’s worked at the Public Theater; Fordham; Ars Nova; 59E59; Symphony Space; Barrow Street, NYU/Tisch; Theatre Row and more. Nationally he’s presented work at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Out of the Loop; Philly Fringe; Yale; Indiana; Johns Hopkins; Trinity; James Madison; and Bentley College. Also with Waterwell he directs the Drama Program at the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) in Manhattan, providing world-class training to exceptional 6-12th graders absolutely free of charge. Upcoming: The Rufus Equation (FringeNYC), Assassins (Penn) and The Hound of the Baskervilles (Playhouse on Park).

REBECCA SCHWARTZ (Director of Education) has worked in education and arts administration for theater companies including Manhattan Theatre Club, Public Theater, Culture Project, The Old Globe and Cindy Tolan Casting. She also spent two years leading youth education, professional and community development in the Peace Corps in Guatemala. She holds a B.A. in History from Yale University where she was awarded the James S. Metcalfe Prize for the Best Senior Essay on American Theater.

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