New Canaan, CT (July 15, 2019) –The Tow Foundation announces the 4th cohort of its Playwright Residency Program. This cohort includes seven 2019-20 Tow Playwrights-in-Residence and four 2020-21 Tow Playwrights-in-Residence, based at eleven New York nonprofit theater companies. Each theater has been awarded a one year $75,000 grant to support their selected playwright.
Emily Tow, executive director and president of The Tow Foundation, says, “This funding is not a transactional exchange. It is about creating a platform for untold stories and the audiences they collectively reach. The deep partnerships built through this program are central to the Foundation’s mission. We are thrilled by the collective talent and creative energy of the incoming cohort and hope this residency will be transformative for each playwright and theater.”
The 4th Cohort of The Tow Foundation Playwright Residency Program:
(theater company, sponsored playwright)
2019-20 Tow Playwrights-in-Residence
- Ars Nova , Liza Birkenmeier
- Manhattan Theatre Club, Emily Feldman
- Playwrights Horizons, Will Arbery
- Primary Stages Company, Jiehae Park
- Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Ren Dara Santiago
- The Public Theater, Erika Dickerson-Despenza
- MCC Theater, C.A. Johnson
2020-21 Tow Playwrights-in-Residence
- Atlantic Theater Company, Gracie Gardner
- New York Theatre Workshop, Victor I. Cazares
- Roundabout Theatre Company, Dave Harris
- Soho Rep., Jillian Walker
The residency program includes a full-time salary for each playwright, funds to support their integration into the theater’s day-to-day operations, and a guaranteed full production of their play by the sponsoring theater company. The goal is to offer playwrights the opportunity to focus on their craft, gain experience and insight into all aspects of the nonprofit theater world, and debut their work. The eleven theaters and their playwrights were selected after a competitive application process.
Patricia Ione Lloyd responds on her experience as a Tow Playwright-in-Residence (Cohort 3) at The Public Theater. “The Tow Foundation helped open doors for me that I previously struggled to open, and they did so with such grace and support. With their support my play about the lives and deaths of Black women, Black girls and Black trans women – was brought to life. You can change hearts and minds with a good story – and The Tow Foundation by your side,” says Lloyd. Lloyd’s play, Eve’s Song, ran from October 21 through December 9, 2018 at The Public Theater.
James Nicola, artistic director of the New York Theatre Workshop, reflects on this playwright residency. “It is our belief that the most authentic, compelling work is the result of continuing collaborations—that an artist thrives when the context of the creative process is a shared aesthetic and vocabulary. The Tow Foundation’s Residency has allowed our relationships with writers to deepen and blossom because the writer is embedded in the ongoing life of the theater, and that changes the writer’s role from visitor to family member,” says Nicola.
First time Tow Playwright-in-Residence host theater Soho Rep. has another perspective. Its artistic director, Sarah Benson, says, “We are beyond excited to be diving into this year with Jillian Walker and to partner with The Tow Foundation to support Jillian’s phenomenal artistry. Jillian approaches her work in a deeply holistic, rigorous, irreverent way—and we cannot wait to work together on her remarkable project at our theater. The residency will carve out time and space for us to all collaborate deeply on every aspect of Jillian’s show. We can’t wait to start and are ever grateful for the vision and wholehearted enthusiasm of The Tow Foundation for making this possible.”
Director of Strategy and Communications