Fellows - Round 13

Exceptional Merit:

ANSA AKYEA, Guthrie Theatre Foundation, Saint Paul, MN

With the support of the Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship, actor Ansa Akyea will develop and write a piece of theater that uses Herman Hesse's Siddartha as a metaphor for the immigration journey of West Africans (Ghana & Liberia) living in Minnesota. The fellowship would support workshops, interviews and developing script structure through anecdotal stories of immigrants and their journey as they have moved and live in the Twin Cities, as well as the stories of people originating from Ghana. The grant will fund Akyea's travel to Ghana so he can contextualize what West African immigrants are leaving or trying to change.

MONIQUE GAFFNEY, Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, CA

Monique’s project focuses on creating and developing a devised, multi-media theatre piece inspired by the book Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculèe Ilibagiza – a true story about a woman who survived the Rwandan genocide for 91 days living with seven other women in a 3’ x 4’ bathroom. Original stories of survival, resilience, and forgiveness will also be included as partnering communities will provide subjects based on verbatim interviews. The culminating piece includes a theatre-based curriculum to be used as a teaching tool for audiences in the community about the refugee and asylum seekers crisis here and abroad.

REYNALDO PINIELLA, Classical Theatre of Harlem, New York, NY

Reynaldo Piniella’s fellowship will culminate with him starring in a bilingual production of Hamlet at the Classical Theatre of Harlem. He will travel to Cuba, the home of his ancestors, to immerse himself in Cuban culture, the Spanish language and salsa dancing. He will then travel to London, the home of Shakespeare, to immerse himself in classical text. He will continue training at The Actors Center, under master teachers Ron Van Lieu, Dakin Matthews and Jim Calder. Through educational and outreach opportunities with the Classical Theatre of Harlem, he will engage the Latinx communities of Spanish Harlem and Washington Heights to immerse himself further in his native Afro-Latinx culture with the goal of bringing his production of Hamlet to the people of New York, free of charge.

KENNY RAY RAMOS, Cornerstone Theater Company, Los Angeles, CA

Kenny Ray Ramos will work in collaboration with Cornerstone Theater Company on the creation of Native Nation written by Larissa FastHorse, premiering in Phoenix and then touring to tribal communities across the United States. Kenny will hone his skills as an actor creating and performing theater with and about the Native American community and the collective challenges they encounter. The Fellowship will seek to increase tribal communities’ access to theatre and reclaim the use of storytelling and performance as a way to heal and empower communities and reconnect everyone to the land that unites us.

Distinguished Achievement:

KAREN MACDONALD, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Lowell, MA

The focus of this fellowship is twofold. First, Karen will take part in international workshops and programming in order to build new skills and to grow as an artist. Second, Karen will work closely with Merrimack Repertory Theatre and members of the Lowell community in order to develop a new piece of work telling the history of Lowell’s Mill Girls, their daily lives, their work and their impact on labor in America.

DAEL ORLANDERSMITH, Goodman Theatre, Chicago, IL

To create a role of the depth and caliber she wishes to play, Dael Orlandersmith will develop an original solo play about being a mixed-race woman and more broadly about the fight of mixed-race Irish people to be recognized as fully Irish. To do so, Orlandersmith will explore constructions of race and national identity in both Ireland and the United States while pushing the boundaries of the types of stories she is perceived as being able to tell.