Theatre Communications Group Announces Thirteenth Round of Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships
NEW YORK, NY – The William & Eva Fox Foundation and Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, are pleased to announce the thirteenth round of Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships recipients. The goals of the program are: to further an actor's artistic and professional development; to deepen and enrich their relationship with a not-for-profit theatre; ensure their continued professional commitment to live theatre; and to encourage actors to work outside their comfort zone. All recipients of this round of Fox Fellowships are committed to giving back to and sharing their artistic talents and skills with their respective communities. Funded by the Fox Foundation and administered by TCG, the fellowship is one of only a few programs of its kind for actors in the country.
“The Fox Foundation expresses our continued appreciation of the long-term collaborative relationship between Fox and TCG,” said Robert P. Warren, president of the Fox Foundation. “This program has provided extraordinary opportunities for Fox Fellows to further their artistic development and enhance their craft. The proposals from this year’s recipients hold great promise, not only for them personally and professionally, but also for their sponsoring theatres and the communities they so richly serve.”
The Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships awarded grants totaling over $185,000 in awards and student loan repayments through two categories:
Exceptional Merit: $15,000 (with an additional $10,000 available to relieve student loan debt) supports actors who are established in their careers as working professionals with 10 years or more of professional experience. Funds will support actors who are evaluating the current state of their career and envisioning what their career could be as they continue to grow in their artistry.
Distinguished Achievement: $25,000 supports actors with 20 years or more of experience who have amassed a substantial body of work. Recipients are awarded grants to allow them to look for opportunities for continued growth and sustain the longevity of their careers. Recipients will use these resources to adapt to physical changes as an actor later in their career as well as changes to casting.
“When actors take the stage, they carry the living histories of their communities, illuminating the visions of the playwright in unexpected and uniquely powerful ways,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director of TCG. “Thanks to our enduring partnership with the Fox Foundation, this program empowers these actors to strengthen their craft while deepening their relationships with communities.”
The Fox Foundation fellows and host theatres are:
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.
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.
The Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowships panel included Shá Cage, actor; William Carden, artistic director, Ensemble Studio Theatre; Oanh Nguyen, executive artistic director, Chance Theater; Nancy Piccione, director of casting, Manhattan Theatre Club; and Regina Taylor, writer, director, and actor. The panel's recommendations were presented to Robert P. Warren, President of the Fox Foundation. The Fox Foundation reviewed the panel recommendations and made the final selection of the Round 13 recipients.
The William & Eva Fox Foundation was established in 1987 by Belle Fox in honor of her parents, who founded the Fox Film Corporation. The Foundation has awarded more than $3 million in fellowships to 348 actors since 1994. The Fox Foundation is the largest U.S. grant maker dedicated to the artistic and professional development of theatre actors, and one of very few that provides direct financial support to individual actors. In 2017, the Fox Foundation was awarded TCG’s National Funder Award. For more information, visit http://www.tcg.org/Grants/GrantsAtAGlance/FoxFoundationResidentActorFellowships.aspx and www.thefoxfoundation.org.
For over 55 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for U.S. theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture, and promote the professional not-for-profit theatre. TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to over 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research, and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and through the Global Theater Initiative, TCG's partnership with the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics, serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute. TCG is North America’s largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 15 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning American Theatre magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its Member Theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field, and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. www.tcg.org.