WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2020 ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE, COMMUNITY WORKS ENGAGEMENT ARTISTS, & FELLOWSHIP RECIPIENTS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, PLEASE
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
COMMUNITY WORKS ENGAGEMENT ARTISTS,
AND RECIPIENTS OF THE BORIS SAGAL DIRECTING FELLOWSHIP,
THE BILL FOELLER DIRECTING FELLOWSHIP,
AND THE J. MICHAEL FRIEDMAN FELLOWSHIP
PROGRAMMING ADDS TO SEASON OF WORK THAT INCLUDES UNPRECEDENTED COLLABORATION
2020 WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL SEASON
New York, NY (July 23, 2020) – Williamstown Theatre Festival (Mandy Greenfield, Artistic Director) is pleased to announce its 2020 Artists-in-Residence: Obie Award winner Trip Cullman (Before The Meeting), Drama Desk Award winner Joshua Harmon (Admissions), Pulitzer Prize winner and 2017 WTF Playwright-in-Residence Michael R. Jackson (A Strange Loop), L. Arnold Weissberger Award winner and Jay Harris Commissionee Sylvia Khoury (Selling Kabul), Pulitzer Prize winner Martyna Majok (Cost of Living), and Drama Desk Award nominee Tyne Rafaeli (Usual Girls).
Williamstown Theatre Festival is also pleased to announce that James Anthony Tyler has been named a COMMUNITY WORKS Engagement Artist; Maya Davis, in addition to being named a COMMUNITY WORKS Engagement Artist, is also named the Boris Sagal Directing Fellow; Tyler Thomas is the Bill Foeller Directing Fellow; and Charlie Barnett IV, the J. Michael Friedman Fellow.
“The enduring spirit of innovation that has been an inexorable quality of Williamstown Theatre Festival for 66 years guides us through the current moment,” Greenfield said. “We feel fortunate to reach a global audience through our collaboration with Audible while also nurturing our local community through our continued COMMUNITY WORKS initiative and now, with our summer 2020 Artists-in-Residence program. We are excited to work with and provide resources to support all of these talented artists and fellows, including our 2020 fellowship recipients, as they develop work for Williamstown Theatre Festival and beyond.”
Through the Artists-in-Residence program, Williamstown Theatre Festival will populate its Massachusetts home this summer with Cullman, Harmon, Jackson, Khoury, Majok, and Rafaeli as generative artists seeking physical and mental space to write, collaborate, and create, far from the pressures of New York City while maintaining proper social distancing and health protocols.
Davis and Tyler join the COMMUNITY WORKS program, which reaches and engages an expanding group of local Berkshire residents and, this summer, continues on a virtual platform.
WTF will engage fellowship recipients Barnett, Davis, and Thomas in an artistic track that deepens the Festival’s relationship with them and highlights their work and accomplishments, even in these unprecedented times. Each will be given space and time in a New York City rehearsal studio (when allowed by local and state guidelines) to work on a project of their choosing. Each also will be featured on a dedicated webpage on the WTF website. As part of the unprecedented collaboration between WTF and Audible, each will have the opportunity to join a WTF Season on Audible production as assistant director.
In addition to producing the Festival season on Audible and supporting Artists-in-Residence and fellowship recipients, WTF continues to commission and develop work from stellar, diverse playwrights and composers through its New Play and Musical Development Initiative.
ABOUT THE WTF ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE PROGRAM
Playwrights, composers, and other generative artists are invited to spend time in Williamstown in the summer for an intensive work session on a project they are developing. In a normal summer, this is not a solitary writer’s retreat in the Berkshires, but an active engagement designed to advance their work. In addition to providing valuable opportunities for focused, distraction-free work, residencies also provide artists with access to the many actors, directors, stage managers, and other collaborators who populate the Festival in the summer. Recent participants have included: PigPen Theatre Company, Martyna Majok, Jessica Dickey, Sharon and Michael Counts, Melissa James Gibson, Caroline V. McGraw, Nell Benjamin and Lawrence O’Keefe, Rachel Chavkin, Carson Krietzer, Jesse Lenat, Adam Rapp, and Karen O.
ABOUT THE WTF FELLOWSHIP PROJECTS
The Williamstown Theatre Festival Fellowship Projects are fast paced, artistically charged incubators for bold new work and the next generation of theatrical directors. The Boris Sagal Fellowship gives a director the opportunity to develop a new play from an early draft to a workshop production. The Bill Foeller Fellowship supports an emerging director who is a woman and/or an artist of color in the creation of an ambitious workshop production. In honor of the late American lyricist and composer J. Michael Friedman, the J. Michael Friedman Fellowship identifies an early-career theater artist of exceptional talent, versatility, impact, and humanity who has demonstrated an artistic commitment to Williamstown Theatre Festival and invites them to make new work for a summer. The purpose is for the fellow to create or collaborate on work deemed important and meaningful to the fellow’s artistic and career development and to the life and culture of the Festival. Past Williamstown Theatre Festival Fellows include May Adrales, Oliver Butler, Evan Cabnet, Carolyn Cantor, Davis McCallum, Patricia McGregor, Lila Neugebauer, and Moritz von Stuelpnagel. Past Fellowship Projects, such as Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman’s Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Amy Herzog’s After the Revolution, Samuel D. Hunter’s Pocatello, and Jason Kim’s The Model American have gone on to major regional, Off-Broadway, and Broadway productions.
ABOUT WTF’S COMMUNITY WORKS
COMMUNITY WORKS, Williamstown Theatre Festival’s year-round community-engaged theater program, invites the diverse population of Western Massachusetts to be a part of WTF’s creative process – not just as audience members, but on stage as well.
Launched with a listening tour of the Berkshires in 2015, COMMUNITY WORKS has formed and sustained meaningful, long-term relationships with 11 partner organizations that serve many populations. Partner organizations include Solider On, which supports formerly homeless veterans; Kids4Harmony, an El Sistema-model music program; BCArc traumatic brain injury unit; and many others. Through private workshops designed for each of these organizations, as well as monthly workshops offered to the public, COMMUNITY WORKS has engaged with thousands of Berkshire residents from all walks of life.
Every summer since 2016, COMMUNITY WORKS has produced a world premiere musical at the Festival reflecting and honoring local stories, written by award-winning playwrights and composers (Lucy Thurber, Boo Killebrew, Heather Christian) and performed by a radically inclusive cast, featuring 60+ local community members in leading and ensemble roles. This work, which is presented free on the Festival’s Main Stage, has deepened WTF’s understanding of the Berkshires and has positioned us as a better neighbor to year-round residents of the area.
COMMUNITY WORKS is the only community-engaged theater initiative run by a major American theatre to engage with rural populations and the only one to make a world premiere work each year. COMMUNITY WORKS is a part of the Public Works Affiliate Network, joining forces with other theaters around the country (and in London) to deepen the discourse around this work and to compare methodologies and share outcomes as we scale up this movement toward community-engaged theater. WTF is proud to be an innovator in rural community-engaged theater. Learn more at www.wtfestival.org.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Charlie Barnett is a Brooklyn-based theater artist. As a costume designer and technician, Barnett has worked with the Williamstown Theatre Festival (Wardrobe Supervisor and Costume Designer), Troy Foundry Theatre (Resident Costume Designer), and the Theatre Institute at Sage (Costume Designer). Most recent credits include: The Headlands (LCT3); (A)loft Modulation (the american vicarious); A Walrus in the Body of a Crocodile (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Saturday Morning Cartoons with Cereal (Williamstown Theatre Festival); Yellow, 100 Years, Prohibition Project: Illium Was, and Catastrophe Carnivale: An Evening of Beckett Shorts (all at Troy Foundry Theatre), the latter of which won the BroadwayWorld Award for Best Costume Design for his work.
Trip Cullman. Broadway credits include: Rose Tattoo (Roundabout), Choir Boy (MTC), Lobby Hero (Second Stage), Six Degrees of Separation (Barrymore), Significant Other (Booth). Select Off-Broadway: Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow, YEN, Punk Rock (Obie Award), A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Gynecologic Oncology Unit At Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Of New York City (MCC); Days Of Rage, The Layover, The Substance of Fire, Lonely I’m Not, Bachelorette, Some Men, Swimming In The Shallows (Second Stage); Unknown Soldier, The Pain Of My Belligerence, Assistance, A Small Fire (Drama Desk nomination), The Drunken City (Playwrights Horizons); Choir Boy (MTC); Murder Ballad (MTC and Union Square Theatre); The Mother, I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard (Atlantic); Roulette (EST); The Hallway Trilogy: Nursing (Rattlestick); The Last Sunday in June (Rattlestick and Century Center ); Dog Sees God (Century Center); US Drag (stageFARM); and several productions with The Play Company. London: The Colby Sisters of Pittsburgh, PA (Tricycle). Select regional: Geffen, Alliance, Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, Bay Street, Williamstown Theatre Festival.
Maya Davis is a mixed-race New York City-based director and producer originally from the Washington, D.C. area. She is focused on creating works that are inclusive and accessible, with a specific interest in community-engaged theater. She recently directed MJ Kaufman’s Walrus in the Body of a Crocodile, Chris Herbie Holland’s Saturday Morning Cartoons with Cereal, and Mona Pirnot’s Private as the inaugural J. Michael Friedman Fellow at Williamstown Theatre Festival. Davis has directed, assisted, and produced in New York at institutions including The Flea, The Public Theater, National Black Theater, The Tank, The Drawing Center, and Fordham Theatre Program, and regionally at Williamstown Theatre Festival and The Big Sky Theatre Company. She is the Artistic Associate of Two Headed Rep, a NYC company that produces new plays in repertory with the classic plays that inspire them. She is currently a Community Engagement Artist at Williamstown Theater Festival. Playwrights Horizons 2018-2019 Directing Fellow. Alumna of Fordham University.
Joshua Harmon‘s plays include Bad Jews, Significant Other, Admissions, and Skintight. They have been produced on Broadway, Off-Broadway at Roundabout Theatre Company, and Lincoln Center Theater, across the country at Geffen Playhouse, Speakeasy, Studio Theatre, Theater Wit, About Face, Actor’s Express, and The Magic, among others, and internationally on the West End and in Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sweden and throughout the U.K. He has received fellowships from MacDowell, NNPN, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Eudora Welty Foundation. He is an Associate Artist at Roundabout and a graduate of Juilliard.
Michael R. Jackson‘s 2020 Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle-winning A Strange Loop (which had its 2019 world premiere at Playwrights Horizons in association with Page 73 Productions) was called “a full-on laparoscopy of the heart, soul, and loins” and a “gutsy, jubilantly anguished musical with infectious melodies” by Ben Brantley for The New York Times, and “exhilarating and wickedly funny” by Sara Holdren for New York. In The New Yorker, Vinsom Cunningham wrote, “To watch this show is to enter, by some urgent, bawdy magic, an ecstatic and infinitely more colorful version of the famous surreal lithograph by M. C. Escher: the hand that lifts from the page, becoming almost real, then draws another hand, which returns the favor.” As a songwriter, he has seen his work performed everywhere from Joe’s Pub to NAMT. In addition to A Strange Loop, he also wrote book, music and lyrics for the upcoming White Girl in Danger; and lyrics and book for the musical adaptation of the 2007 horror film Teeth with composer and co-bookwriter Anna K. Jacobs. Awards and associations include: a New Professional Theatre Festival Award, a Jonathan Larson Grant, a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, an ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award, a Whiting Award, the Helen Merrill Award for Playwriting, a Dramatist Guild Fellowship and he is an alum of Page 73’s Interstate 73 Writers Group. He has commissions from Grove Entertainment & Barbara Whitman Productions and LCT3 and is a newly elected member of the Dramatists Guild Council.
Sylvia Khoury is a New York-born writer of French and Lebanese descent. Her plays include Selling Kabul (Playwrights Horizons, Williamstown Theatre Festival), Power Strip (LCT3), Against the Hillside (Ensemble Studio Theater), and The Place Women Go. She is currently under commission from Lincoln Center, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and Noor Theatre/Pop Culture Collab. Awards include the L. Arnold Weissberger Award and Jay Harris Commission and a Citation of Excellence from the Laurents/Hatcher Awards. She is a member of EST/Youngblood and a previous member of the 2018-2019 Rita Goldberg Playwrights’ Workshop at The Lark and the 2016-2018 WP Lab. Her plays have been developed at Playwrights Horizons, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Eugene O’Neill Playwrights’ Conference, Roundabout Theatre Underground, Lark Playwrights’ Week, EST/Youngblood, and WP Theater. She holds a BA from Columbia University and an MFA from the New School for Drama. She is a fourth-year student at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Martyna Majok was born in Bytom, Poland and aged in Jersey and Chicago. She was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Cost of Living (Williamstown Theatre Festival, Manhattan Theatre Club). Other plays include Sanctuary City (New York Theatre Workshop, Berkeley Rep), Queens (LCT3/Lincoln Center, La Jolla Playhouse), and Ironbound (Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Round House, WP Theatre/Rattlestick, Geffen Playhouse, National Theatre of Warsaw, amongst other theaters in America and abroad).
Awards include The Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding New Play, ATCA Francesca Primus Prize, The Dramatists Guild’s Lanford Wilson Award, The Lilly Awards’ Stacey Mindich Prize, The Greenfield Prize (first female recipient in drama), Champions of Change Award from the NYC Mayor’s Office, Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play or Musical at The Helen Hayes Awards, The Ashland New Plays Festival Women’s Invitational Prize, The Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Award, Marin Theatre’s David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize, New York Theatre Workshop’s 2050 Fellowship, Aurora Theatre’s Global Age Project Prize, National New Play Network’s Smith Prize for Political Playwriting, two Jane Chambers Feminist Playwriting Prizes, and The Merage Foundation Fellowship for the American Dream.
Commissions from The Public Theater, Lincoln Center, The Bush Theatre in London, The Almeida Theatre in London, The Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, South Coast Rep, and Manhattan Theatre Club. Publications by Dramatists Play Service, Samuel French, TCG, and Smith & Kraus. Residencies at Sundance Theatre Lab in Morocco, The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, The Vineyard Arts Project with The Public Theatre, Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Fuller Road, Marble House Project, and Ragdale. BA: University of Chicago; MFA: Yale School of Drama, The Juilliard School.
She has taught playwriting at Williams College, Wesleyan University, SUNY Purchase, Primary Stages ESPA, NJRep, and as an assistant to Paula Vogel at Yale. Alumna of EST’s Youngblood, Women’s Project Lab, and the Core Writer program at Playwrights’ Center. Member of The Dramatists Guild, The Writers Guild of America East, and New York Theatre Workshop’s Usual Suspects. Majok was a 2012-2013 NNPN playwright-in-residence, the 2015-2016 PoNY Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center, and a 2018-2019 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University.
She is currently writing two musical librettos, a feature film, and is developing an original series for HBO based on her play, Queens.
Tyne Rafaeli is a New York-based director of new plays, classics, and musicals. Recent productions include Sylvia Khoury’s Power Strip at LCT3 and Selling Kabul at Williamstown Theatre Festival, Ming Peiffer’s Usual Girls at Roundabout Theatre Company (New York Times Critics’ Pick, Drama Desk nomination), Craig Lucas’s I Was Most Alive With You at Playwrights Horizons (New York Times Critics’ Pick), Keith Bunin’s The Coast Starlight at La Jolla Playhouse, Martyna Majok’s Ironbound and the world premieres of Anna Ziegler’s Actually and Amanda Peet’s Our Very Own Carlin McCullough at The Geffen Playhouse, and Lauren Yee’s In A Word (New Times Critics’ Pick). Her work has also been seen at Classic Stage Company, Atlantic Theater Company, The Public Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Cal Shakes, and New York Stage & Film among others. Rafaeli is a 2016-18 Time Warner Directing Fellow at the Women’s Project Theater and received the 2014 SDC Sir John Gielgud Fellowship for Classic Direction. Upcoming projects include Selling Kabul at Playwrights Horizons.
Tyler Thomas is a director and choreographer. Her work has been shown at the New Ohio, The Flea Theater, NYMF, HERE Arts Center, Paradise Factory, Signature Theater with Columbia University, and at various theaters across New York University Tisch. Through the reconstitution of formal elements of dance, theater, and film, Thomas seeks to create imaginative, communal events that explode the pedestrian and elevate what is deeply human, and thus deeply shared, among us. As an associate and assistant, she has worked with directors such as Lear deBessonet, Taibi Magar, Whitney White, Young Jean Lee, Lee Sunday Evans, and Niegel Smith. She is a former SDCF Observer, member of the Lincoln Center Directors’ Lab, Visiting Artist at the Athens Conservatoire in Greece, Resident Director at The Flea, and current 2050 NYTW Fellow. She holds a BFA in Drama and MA in Arts Politics from NYU Tisch. Thomas is from a small town in Louisiana that she, in many ways, has never left.
James Anthony Tyler is the recipient of the 3rd Annual Horton Foote Playwriting Award and an inaugural playwright to receive a commission from Audible. His plays include Artney Jackson (world premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival, 2018 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award), Some Old Black Man (Berkshire Playwrights Lab at St. James Place and 59E59 Theaters), Dolphins and Sharks (LAByrinth Theater Company and Finborough Theatre in London). He has a MFA in Film from Howard University and an MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University. He is also a graduate of The Juilliard School’s Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program, and he recently was the staff writer for the new OWN Network show “Cherish the Day” created by Ava DuVernay.
ABOUT THE 2020 WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL SEASON
The 2020 Williamstown Theatre Festival summer season will be produced on Audible, the world’s largest producer and provider of original spoken-word entertainment and audiobooks. Forged during and in response to a fraught moment in history, this unprecedented collaboration between two industry leaders preserves the Festival season in a different format, provides continued work for the artists involved in the Festival season, and produces a body of work that will be made available for global Audible listeners to enjoy and experience. It also marks the first time that a theatrical season of work will be produced on Audible.
Additional information, about the WTF season on Audible, including audio release dates, will be announced in the coming weeks. Please visit www.wtfestival.org and www.audible.com for more information.
ABOUT WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
For over six decades, Williamstown Theatre Festival, recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre and the Commonwealth Award for Achievement, has brought emerging and professional theater artists together to create a thrilling summer Festival of premiere work alongside fresh, new productions of the western canon, accompanying cultural events including COMMUNITY WORKS and Late- Night Cabarets, and readings and workshops of new plays. Under Artistic Director Mandy Greenfield, WTF launched the Andrew Martin-Weber New Play and Musical Commissioning Program, through which theater artists, including Jocelyn Bioh, Nathan Alan Davis, Halley Feiffer, Justin Levine, Matthew Lopez, Jiehae Park, Benjamin Scheuer, and many others, create new work supported by a year-round play development program. WTF runs unmatched training programs for new generations of theater talent, and artists and productions shaped at WTF fill theaters in New York, London, and around the country each season. Williamstown Theatre Festival’s productions of The Bridges of Madison County, The Elephant Man, Fool for Love, Living on Love, and The Visit enjoyed critically acclaimed runs on Broadway, with The Elephant Man and The Visit receiving Tony Award nominations for Best Revival of a Play and Best Revival of a Musical, respectively. WTF’s world premiere productions of Cost of Living (winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), Actually, Paradise Blue, and Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow played acclaimed Off-Broadway runs. In the 2019-20 theatrical season, Williamstown Theatre Festival was represented on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regionally by The Sound Inside, The Rose Tattoo, Grand Horizons, Seared, Selling Kabul, and Unknown Soldier.
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