On behalf of the LMDA Board of Directors and with great pleasure, the 2014 Bly Creative Capacity Grant Committee announces the 2014 Bly Fellowship and Bly Grant recipients. The Committee would like to thank the inaugural applicants for their considerable work and the range of creativity demonstrated in more than 60 individual applications requesting a total of more than $870,000. Through the vision and generosity of Mark Bly, four projects received funding for the first year of the Bly Creative Capacity Grant project. We could have funded more based on these impressive applications.
We invite LMDA members to consider applying through the LMDA Bly fund in 2015 (dates tba), as well as through the LMDA Dramaturg-Driven competition and the Residency Program. For more information regarding these opportunities, visit the grants section of the website. LMDA will continue to use its resources to support and, where possible, fund artists--one of the many privileges of LMDA membership.
We hope you will also consider joining us in New York City during our 30th anniversary conference from June 25-28, 2015, as we look forward to the next thirty years of advocating for dramaturgy, literary management, and the arts. Further details will be on LMDA's website.
Bly Grant Committee
Cynthia M. SoRelle
2014 Grants and Fellowships:
Philippa Kelly and Lydia Garcia (California and Oregon)
“Diverse Dramaturgy: An On-line Handbook”
LMDA Bly Fellowship $10,000
This handbook, which will be freely available online, aims to assist dramaturgs in mining history and shaping the future. While in this handbook we write as individuals (as distinct from spokespersons for our institutions), diversity and inclusion is a field of learning in which we have both had the privilege to engage at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the California Shakespeare Theater. These theaters are committed to both the Western classical canon and to the development of new, diverse American works. Our learning has pushed us to deepen and broaden our awareness of who theater is for and who it represents. Diversity is grounded in inequalities that must be named—racial inequalities, the push for women’s rights, the right to vote, the recognition that the world is not the precinct of only able-bodied people, etc. Diversity is also about re-thinking power-based fields of “expertise.” It means understanding where we come from; active exploration of why and how this matters for how we practice our craft and what theater can become; and, crucially, how the academy can be more genuinely engaged with professional theater practice. As scholars and theater practitioners, we aim to break down structural barriers instead of unintentionally replicating them. We seek to facilitate diversity and inclusion in the work we help create for the stage. But we also see dramaturgy as immediate and urgent and relevant in the academic settings that are nurturing the next generation of dramaturgs to come. This handbook will explore how, and in what concrete ways, the dramaturg can bring diversity into our contribution to the production. We want to move words into action and action into the dialogues that go on beyond the stage.
Janice Paran (New York/New Jersey)
LMDA Bly Fellowship $5,000
I am working as a dramaturg on a highly collaborative, multi-disciplinary project called Memory Rings, the second installment in a planned trilogy about the environment conceived and created by the New York-based company Phantom Limb, co-founded in 2007 by Jessica Grindstaff, a visual artist, set designer and director, and Erik Sanko, a composer and marionette puppet maker. Almost everything about this project, which has no text but incorporates puppetry, video, music and movement, involves new ways of conducting dramaturgy, from bringing deep dramaturgical inquiry, across disciplines, into the center of the creative process to devising an “outsider” developmental model in collaboration with creative producer Mara Isaacs. Fueled by a desire to create work outside the confines of usual institutional practice, we are developing Memory Rings independently through a series of workshops with performers and designers, leveraging resources from multiple sources and creating a consortium of development partners across a range of organizations and institutional types (including the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, OZ Arts Nashville, BAM and NYU Abu Dhabi). This is both a dramaturgical strategy and a model that pushes the field forward into new ways of working.
Heidi Taylor and Jan Derbyshire with Playwrights Theatre Centre (Vancouver and Toronto, Canada)
PTC ACK Lab: a hacker approach to inclusion
LMDA Bly Grant $10,000
The aim of the ACK Lab is to make a shareable template for dramaturging the design and execution of a creative project within an inclusive framework. We're calling the process the ACK Lab, a play on hacker labs that are applied to non-computing problems, and ACcess. The project is founded on an assertion that we are not doing all we can to open the theatre to all citizens, and that the absence of members from our community from the creative working pool impoverishes our processes, our projects and our audiences. Artists do not ask for what they need because they cannot conceive of the theatre changing its practices to make their process easier. Creating an adaptable system is inherently dramaturgical, rooted in questioning assumptions and looking for new collaborative solutions. The grounding in our analysis of inclusion comes from our collaborators, the Inclusive Design Research Centre at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University in Toronto.
Katalin Trencsényi (London)
"Dance with Me"--the development and processes of dance dramaturgy
LMDA Bly Fellowship $5,000
I am proposing a research project to investigate dance dramaturgy and to further the theory and practice of the field. The starting point is the original rehearsal diary of dance dramaturg Raimund Hoghe that has not been published in English. This is a rare first-hand account of the Tanztheater Wuppertal's work when creating a production--showing step by step Pina Bausch's collaborative processes and her pioneering method of creating choreographies with contributions from her dancers. The project includes interviews with Hoghe (who is now an internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer); it will result in both the document in English and my analysis of the collaboration and work.