Sundance Institute Announces Artists for 2012 Playwrights Retreat at Ucross Foundation

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New York, NY — The Sundance Institute Theatre Program today announced the seven artists selected for its 2012 Playwrights Retreat at Ucross Foundation which takes place from February 6 through 24, 2012. The annual writing colony at the 20,000-acre working cattle ranch outside of Sheridan, Wyo. provides a supportive environment for artists to create new work and receive guidance and reactions to it at an early stage. Under the supervision of Philip Himberg, Producing Artistic Director of the Theatre Program, and Associate Director Christopher Hibma, the Playwrights Retreat is made possible through the generosity of Ucross Foundation.

“The five writers and two composers selected for this year’s Sundance Institute and Ucross Foundation collaboration join a distinguished group of artists that have participated in our previous Playwright Retreats, including Annie Baker, Paula Vogel, Doug Wright, Tracey Scott Wilson, Adam Guettel and Brandon Jacob-Jenkins,” said Himberg. “For both emerging and established artists, Ucross provides a spectacular environment and support, which is critically important in allowing artists inspiration and community.”

Sharon Dynak, Ucross Foundation President, said, “Among the many programs we support and collaborate with each year, the Sundance Institute Playwrights Retreat is a true highlight. We trust that this year’s selection of exceptional writers and composers will find as much creative inspiration in our surroundings as the artists that precede them, and we look forward to seeing their new work as it nears completion.”

The artists selected for the 2012 Sundance Institute Playwrights Retreat at Ucross Foundation are:

Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig
Frances’ play Lidless received the Yale Drama Series Award, an Edinburgh Fringe First Award, the Keene Prize for Literature, and the David Calicchio Emerging American Playwright Prize. She has been a finalist for the Blackburn Prize, received residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, Ragdale, and the Santa Fe Art Institute, and is under commission from South Coast Rep and Seattle Rep. Her plays have been produced at Trafalgar Studios 2 on the West End, Interact Theatre, the Walker Space in New York, and the Contemporary American Theatre Festival; and developed at the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival, Seattle Rep, PlayPenn, the Alley Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Ojai Playwrights Conference, the Playwright’s Foundation and Yale Rep. Frances received an MFA in Writing from the James A. Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin, a BA in Sociology from Brown University, and a certificate in Ensemble Created Physical Theatre from the Dell’Arte International School of Physical Theatre. Her work has been published by Glimmer Train, Methuen Drama, and Yale University Press. Frances was born in Philadelphia, and raised in Northern Virginia, Okinawa, Taipei and Beijing.

Nathan Jackson
Nathan is an alum of Kansas State University and did his graduate work at The Juilliard School. His plays include Broke-ology, When I Come to Die (Lincoln Center in 2011), The Mancerhios, and The Last Black Play. At Kansas -State, he was actively involved with the Ebony Theatre both as a director and as president, and participated in The Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive. He has twice won the Lorraine Hansberry Playwriting Award, is the recipient of the Mark Twain Comedy Playwriting Award, and was awarded the Kennedy Center’s Gold Medallion.Nathan has written for television as well, with credits for Southland (NBC), Lights Out (FX), and Shameless (Showtime).

Brett Neveu
Brett’s recent productions include Megacosm with A Red Orchid Theatre, 4 Murders with SkyPilot Theatre and twentyone with The Side Project. Past work includes productions with The Royal Court Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, The House Theatre, The Inconvenience, The Goodman Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, TimeLine Theatre Company and American Theatre Company. He is the recipient of the Ofner Prize for New Work, the Emerging Artist Award from The League of Chicago Theatres, an After Dark Award for Outstanding Musical (Old Town with Strawdog Theatre Company) and has developed plays with companies including The New Group, The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens and is a resident-alum with Chicago Dramatists. He is also an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theatre, a member of The Playwrights’ Union and an alumni member of the Center Theatre Group’s Playwrights’ Workshop. Brett has been commissioned by The Royal Court Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Goodman Theatre, TimeLine Theatre Company, Writers’ Theatre, Strawdog Theatre and has several of his plays published through Broadway Play Publishing and Dramatic Publishing. Brett has taught writing at Northwestern University, DePaul University, Second City Training Center and currently lives in Los Angeles.

Bruce Norris
Bruce is a writer and an actor whose play Clybourne Park won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2011.. Other plays include The Infidel (2000), Purple Heart (2002), We All Went Down to Amsterdam (2003), The Pain and the Itch (2004) and The Unmentionables (2006), all of which premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre. His work has also been produced at Lookingglass Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth Theatre (Washington, DC), The Royal Court Theater (London), and The Staatstheater Mainz (Germany). Mr. Norris is the recipient of the 2009 Steinberg Playwright Award, the Whiting Foundation Prize for Drama, and the Kesselring Prize, Honorable Mention. He also received Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best New Work for his plays, We All Went Down to Amsterdam and The Pain and the Itch. As an actor, he has been seen at Steppenwolf in Closer and Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and can be seen in the film All Good Things. He currently resides in New York.

Josh Schmidt
As Composer/Co-Author – Off Broadway: A Minister’s Wife (Lincoln Center); ADD1NG MACH1N3 (Minetta Lane), Whida Peru (59E59); Gift of the Magi (American Players Theatre, WI); Incidental Scores: When the Rain Stops Falling (Lincoln Center); Fifty Words (MCC Theater). As Composer/Sound Designer – Broadway: House of Blue Leaves, Brighton Beach Memoirs (both with Fitz Patton); Off Broadway: Crime and Punishment (59E59), many others. Chicago: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Writers’ Theatre (Associate Artist); Northlight Theatre, Next Theatre Company, Seanachai Theatre Company, many others. Regional: Over 100 productions at venues across the country including Stratford Shakespeare Festival (Ontario, Canada), Philadelphia Theatre Company (PA), The Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre (Washington, D.C.); Seattle Repertory Theatre (WA), Alley Theatre (Houston, TX); Arizona Theater Company (AZ); Cleveland Playhouse (OH), Kansas City Rep (MO); South Coast Repertory (CA); Delaware Theatre Company (DE); 10 Seasons at American Players Theatre (Spring Green, WI); Milwaukee Repertory Theater, many others. (Milwaukee, WI). Recordings: ADD1NG MACH1N3, A Minister’s Wife – both released on PS Classics and available on ITunes, Amazon, etc. Associate Artist: Alley Theatre in Houston, Writers Theatre in Glencoe. Teaching: Lectures at Harvard, Suffolk, Mississippi- Oxford, Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin-Milwaukee. MEMBER: ASCAP. AWARDS: Lortel, Outer Critics, Jeff, ASCAP, NEA/TCG.

Heidi Schreck
Heidi’s plays include There Are No More Big Secrets, which premiered at Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre in 2010, directed by Kip Fagan (Time Out New York and New York Magazine Critic’s pick); Creature, presented in 2009 by New Georges and Page 73, directed by Leigh Silverman, and Stray, Backwards into China, and Mr. Universe produced by Printer’s Devil Theatre in Seattle. Her work has been developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, Teatro de Facto, The Foundry, Soho Rep, On the Boards, and National Public Radio. Creature was published by Samuel French and The New York Theatre Review, and Stray is included in The Manifesto Series, edited by Erik Ehn. Heidi was the 2009 Page 73 Playwriting Fellow, and a member of the Soho Rep Lab and the Civilians R&D Lab. As an actor she has worked at Playwrights Horizons, The Roundabout, 13P, Clubbed Thumb, The Long Wharf, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Theatre of War and Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf; and on television/film in Hedda Gabler, Perfidia, The Good Wife and SVU. Heidi has won two Obies, a Drama Desk and the Theatre World Award.

Georgia Stitt
Georgia is a composer and a lyricist. Her original musicals include: Big Red Sun (with playwright John Jiler); Hello! My Baby (a “new-fashioned” musical written with Emmy Award winner Cheri Steinkellner), The Water (with Jeff Hylton and Tim Werenko); Sing Me a Happy Song (a musical revue); and Mosaic (Off-Broadway, written with Cheri Steinkellner). In 2007, she release her first album, This Ordinary Thursday: The Songs of Georgia Stitt. With lyricist Marcy Heisler, she wrote and recorded Alphabet City Cycle, a song cycle for soprano and violin, featuring vocalist Kate Baldwin. Her latest album, My Lifelong Love, features performances by Anika Noni Rose, Brian D’Arcy James, Susan Egan, John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Shoshana Bean, and others. Georgia’s non-theatrical compositions include several choral pieces, With Hope and Virtue, featured on NPR and using text from President Obama’s 2009 inauguration speech, De Profundis, premiered by the International Orange Chorale in San Francisco and Joyful Noise, a setting of Psalm 100 (all published by G. Schrimer), as well as A Better Resurrection and The Promise of Light (Walton Music). Georgia has music degrees from NYU and Vanderbilt. She lives in Los Angeles (and sometimes New York) with her husband, composer/lyricist Jason Robert Brown, and their two daughters.

Sundance Institute Theatre Program Artistic Associate Mame Hunt will serve as Dramaturg for the residents.

In response to the diverse needs of the field, the Theatre Program hosts a range of creative Labs throughout the year and around the world, including a Theatre Lab at the Sundance Resort, Theatre Lab at White Oak, and Sundance Institute East Africa. Past activities have also included a Theatre Lab at MASS MoCA and a Theatre Lab on Governors Island in New York.

Ucross Foundation
Founded in 1981, Ucross Foundation is an internationally known retreat for visual artists, writers, composers and choreographers working in all creative disciplines. It provides living accommodations, studio space, uninterrupted time and the experience of the extraordinary High Plains landscape to competitively selected individuals. Ucross supports individuals whose work reflects innovative thinking, a depth of creative exploration, and the potential for significant future accomplishments. A number of residents have won recognition such as the Pulitzer Prize, the Tony Award, the National Book Award, the MacArthur Fellowship, the Guggenheim Fellowship and many other honors. Through its Residency Program, art gallery, and associated activities, Ucross actively seeks to support an appreciation for vibrant human creativity and aims to cast a reflection into the future from the cultural mirror of our lives and times.

Sundance Institute Theatre Program
The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is a program of Sundance Institute. Through its developmental activities at the Sundance Institute Playwrights Retreat at Ucross Foundation, the Sundance Institute Theatre Lab at White Oak, Sundance Institute East Africa, the Program identifies and assists emerging theatre artists, contributes to the creative growth of established artists, and encourages and supports the development of new work for the stage. Under the guidance of Producing Artistic Director Philip Himberg, more than 85% of the work coming out of the Program’s Labs has found professional production at theatres across the United States, Mexico and Europe. Recent productions of Sundance Institute- developed work include: Passing Strange by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, which won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical, Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker and The Lily’s Revenge by Taylor Mac.

Sundance Institute
Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America.


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