The Wallace Alexander Gerbode and William and Flora Hewlett foundations have announced grants totaling $300,000 in support of the creation and production of new theater works by California playwrights.
Aimed at supporting the creation and production of new works by innovative playwrights who reflect diverse cultural perspectives and communities, each $50,000 commission will be divided into two parts: $12,500 or more to the winning playwright, with the remaining funds allocated to a theatrical organization for the creation and world premiere of the resulting work in a public performance in the Bay Area between December 2016 and June 2018.
The recipients of the 2015 Theater Commissioning Awards are Campo Santo/Roger Guenveur Smith, who will create Casa de Spirits, an interdisciplinary theater performance piece that will explore how a community lives through its interactions with liquor stores; Magic Theatre/Jessica Hagedorn, who will adapt her 1996 novel The Gangster of Love for the stage; San Jose Stage Company/Luis Valdez, who will write and direct Adios, Mama Carlota – Empress of Mexico, based on actual historical events pivotal to the French occupation of Mexico from 1862 to 1867; Shotgun Players/Geetha Reddy, whose Two Cities will use the framework of Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities to illustrate social disparities in the Bay Area; Youth Speaks/Paul S. Flores, whose Arresting Life will investigate the impact of police violence, incarceration, and deportation on young people and the long-term effect on their adult lives; and Z Space/Kate E. Ryan, who will develop a dark, thought-provoking drama that features members of a Bay Area women's group.
"We are honored to support this round of early-career and well-established playwrights who represent the diverse voices of California today," said Gerbode Foundation president Stacie Ma'a. "We are thrilled to make these investments in organizations that are supporting these writers and creating space for the development of new work through our partnership with the Hewlett Foundation."