Artists Rep receives $119K in support
from Oregon Community Foundation & Edgerton Foundation New Play Award for
World Premiere Production of E.M. Lewis’ MAGELLANICA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. Portland, Oregon | November 2, 2017. Artists Repertory Theatre is excited to announce two major gifts in support of the World Premiere production of Magellanica, a play by E.M. Lewis, with a limited run January 20 through February 18, 2018. Artists Rep will receive $75,000 from the Oregon Community Foundation Creative Heights Initiative and $44,000 from the Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards made through the Theatre Communications Group.
Magellanica is a five-part epic play written by Oregon playwright E.M. Lewis (The Gun Show). Set in 1985, a group of eight international scientists spend eight dark, dangerous months at the South Pole to discover whether there really is a hole in the ozone layer. It’s a world in which science, global politics, and the pursuit of truth – even extremely inconvenient truth – are explored by characters we emotionally invest in deeply. In this inhospitable and isolated environment, they must overcome physical danger, political tensions, cultural differences and their own demons to try to accurately map the truth.
Lewis has constructed a demanding, five-part epic in the vein of the Kentucky Cycle or Angels in America that tackles issues of political, social and scientific urgency on a global scale. Artists Rep is committed to premiering this piece because of its timely urgency – as the Cold War resurfaces, the clock ticks on our warming planet, and divisions widen between cultures. As Lewis says, “It has scientists as heroes. It’s about the importance of truth. It’s about a world that can either tear apart or come together for its own survival.”
The scale and complexity of the piece required that Artist Rep seek special “risk capital” for Magellanica, above and beyond the theatre’s typical contributed income. While the play has received developmental work at multiple theatres, no theatre has taken on the challenge of producing it. It’s a five-hour experience in which a large cast works in multiple languages, requiring three additional weeks of rehearsal. The technical and aesthetic demands of the design and the narrative structure also add complexity and expense. The Edgerton Foundation is funding the additional rehearsal weeks, and OCF’s Creative Heights Award will fund the increased production expense and cover some of the risk the theatre is taking on earned income, as the play’s length dictates a shortened run of fewer performances than a typical play would receive.
“Extraordinary support like this for new, challenging work not only makes the play possible at Artists Rep,” says Artists Rep’s Managing Director Sarah Horton, “When the funding community demonstrates such strong commitment to artistic risk-taking it hopefully emboldens non-profit theatre producers around the country to seriously consider Magellanica and other ambitious plays of scale.”
“Magellanica falls into that rare category of plays that becomes more relevant with each news cycle,” says Artistic Director and Director of the production Dámaso Rodríguez, “the script grips you from its first moment and the five acts fly by. A piece of this magnitude doesn’t get produced every day, and requires in-depth exploration from all sides. There is no question that this play wouldn’t be possible without the exceptional support of these two visionary programs.”
About The Edgerton New Play Awards
The Edgerton Foundation New Plays Program, directed by Brad and Louise Edgerton, was piloted in 2006 with the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles by offering two musicals in development an extended rehearsal period for the entire creative team, including the playwrights. The Edgertons launched the program nationally in 2007 and have supported 375 plays to date at over 50 different Art Theatres across the country. The second round of awards for 2017, which includes Magellanica, total $1,051,000 and allow 27 productions extra time for the development and rehearsal of new plays with the entire creative team, hoping to extend the life of the World Premiere play after its first run. Learn more about the Edgerton New Play Awards here.
For over 50 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 nearly 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 serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute, connecting its constituents to the global theatre community. 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.
ABOUT THE OREGON COMMUNITY FOUNDATION CREATIVE HEIGHTS INITIATIVE
In recognition of the need for performing and visual artists and other cultural creatives to test new ideas, stretch their creative capacity, and take creative risks, The Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) announces the fourth year of Creative Heights Grants. Creative Heights honors the legacy of Fred W. Fields with the creation of a five-year, $32-million investment in strategies and programs that will support the arts for all Oregonians. OCF aims to provide artists and other cultural creatives an opportunity to stretch their creative practice, provide unique opportunities for Oregonians to experience innovative arts and culture, and to increase Oregon’s cultural visibility and vitality. In 2017, OCF has awarded more than $945,000 to 13 Oregon nonprofits as part of the Creative Heights initiative.
“Through the Creative Heights initiative, OCF is able to support innovative projects that showcase the creativity of Oregonians,” said Max Williams, OCF President and CEO. “We’re also excited that audiences throughout Oregon will have opportunities to experience the creative power of artists in our state.”
By E.M. Lewis
Directed by Dámaso Rodríguez
Artists Repertory Theatre
January 20 to February 18, 2018
Limited Run with dinner break
Preview Performances: January 20 & 21 at 2pm, January 25 & 26 at 5:30pm
Thursdays and Fridays February 1 – 16 at 5:30pm
Saturdays and Sunday Jan 27 – Feb 18 at 2pm
Vin Shambry+^ as Captain Adam Burrell
John San Nicholas+^ as Freddie De La Rossa
Eric Pargac+ as Dr. Lars Brotten
Josh Weinstein+^ as Dr. William Huffington
Barbie Wu± as Dr. May Zhou
Scenic Desginer: Stephanie Kerley Schwartz *
Costume Designer: Bobby Brewer-Wallin ^
Lighting Designer: Carl Faber #
Composer & Sound Designer: Rodolfo Ortega ^
Stage Manager: Jamie Lynne Simons +
Props Master: Robert Amico
Voice & Text Director: Mary McDonald-Lewis ^
Resident Fight Choreographer : Jonathan Cole *
Dramaturg: Luan Schooler
Assistant Director: Tamera Lyn
Projection Designer: Megan Wilkerson #^
+ Member of Actors Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the U.S.
* Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
± Equity Membership Candidate
^ Artists Rep Resident Artist
ABOUT THE PLAYWIRGHT E.M. LEWIS
- M. Lewis is an award-winning playwright, teacher, and librettist. Her work has been produced around the world, and published by Samuel French. She received the Steinberg Award for Song of Extinction and the Primus Prize for Heads from the American Theater Critics Association, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for outstanding writing of a world premiere play, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a playwriting fellowship from the New Jersey State Arts Commission, and the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama. Her play Now Comes the Night was part of the Women’s Voices Theater Festival in Washington DC, and was published in the anthology Best Plays from Theater Festivals 2016. The Gun Show premiered in Chicago in 2014, and has since been produced in more than a dozen theatres across the country, including Coho Productions in Portland. It recently completed productions in Richmond, Denver, Washington, DC, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland, and will be published in the upcoming anthology The Best American Short Plays 2015-2016. Two of Lewis’ newest plays will be on stage next year: Magellanica will have its World Premiere at Artists Repertory Theatre and Apple Season will have its World Premiere at New Jersey Repertory Theater. Her other plays include: Infinite Black Suitcase, The Study (aka Reading to Vegetables), True Story, and You Can See All the Stars (a play for college students commissioned by the Kennedy Center). Lewis is currently working with her composer partner on a full-length, family-friendly opera commissioned by American Lyric Theater called Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant, and a big, new play set in her home state of Oregon called The Great Divide. She is a proud member of LineStorm Playwrights, ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild.
ABOUT ARTISTS REPERTORY THEATRE
Artists Repertory Theatre’s mission is to produce intimate, provocative theatre and provide a home for artists and audiences of varied backgrounds to take creative risks. Artists Rep is Portland’s premiere mid-size regional theatre company and is led by Artistic Director Dámaso Rodríguez and Managing Director Sarah Horton. Founded in 1982, Artists Repertory Theatre is the longest-running professional theatre company in Portland. Artists Rep became the 72nd member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) in 2016 and is an Associate Member of the National New Play Network (NNPN).
Artists Rep’s 2017/18 season of play selections for the company’s 35th anniversary season can be found here.
Artists Rep offers the second year of their groundbreaking Frontier Series which presents internationally acclaimed artists who are reimagining how theatre is created and shared. The 2017/18 series features three bold new works: They, Themself and Schmerm by Becca Blackwell (New York), The Holler Sessions by Frank Boyd (Seattle) and White Rabbit Red Rabbit by Nassim Soleimanpour (Iran). These are limited, one weekend engagements, offering Portland audiences access to fresh touring performances from around the world. The Frontier Series is curated by Jerry Tischleder, Artists Rep ArtsHub Director and Artistic Director of Risk/Reward Festival.
Artists Rep has become a significant presence in American Regional Theatre with a legacy of world, national and regional premieres of provocative new work with the highest standards of stagecraft. The organization is committed to local artists and features a company of Resident Artists, professionals of varied theatre disciplines, who are a driving force behind Artists Rep’s creative output and identity.
Artists Rep is committed to developing new work through its new play development program Table|Room|Stage. With T|R|S, Artists Rep strives to empower and support Oregon-based playwrights while also creating a Portland home for writers from around the country to develop their work. Additionally, this program strives to make a meaningful impact on diversity, equity and inclusion in the theatre field by mandating opportunities for women writers and writers of color, and cultivating the next generation of theatre- goers by creating work specifically for young people (13 and up). Artists Rep makes a vital impact on the Portland arts community with its ArtsHub, creating space and offering a home to 12 multidisciplinary arts organizations within its facility.
RESIDENT ARTISTS – Artists Rep productions feature the work of a core group of over two dozen multidisciplinary theatre professionals. Hailing from around the country, our Resident Artists are nationally renowned and award-winning actors, directors, writers, designers and educators who have chosen to make Portland and Artists Rep their artistic home. Working together and independently, they create inventive and theatrically rich experiences for our audiences while playing a major role in defining Portland’s cultural landscape.
TABLE|ROOM|STAGE – Established in 2015, Table|Room|Stage (T|R|S) is Artists Rep’s robust new play program that offers development opportunities for local and national playwrights, and ensures that underrepresented voices are heard on stage. With this program, Artists Rep is committed to bringing the work of exciting women, transgender and non-binary writers and writers of color to its stages. Artists Rep’s first completed T|R|S commission was The Talented Ones, by Yussef El Guindi. They will produce Larissa FastHorse’s The Thanksgiving Play as part of their regular season in April. Current playwright commissions include: Linda Alper, Larissa FastHorse, Hansol Jung, Dael Orlandersmith, Steve Rathje and Andrea Stolowitz. The works created by these writers through T|R|S will establish Artists Rep and Portland as an engine for new play development and will enrich the national new play landscape. To learn more about all the projects, playwrights and programs of Table|Room|Stage visit here.
ARTSHUB – Artists Rep is also home to the growing ArtsHub, where 12 arts organizations find a home in the building. A diverse range of artists and arts organizations can thrive here with access to affordable administrative, performance and rehearsal space, as well as a myriad of support services. The ArtsHub serves as a community arts center, where its performance venues and lobbies buzz with creative energy and Portland’s arts-loving audiences can gather. Over the last year, more than 500 performances, events and happenings by Portlanders found a place in Artists Rep’s building. To learn about the arts organizations Artists Rep’s ArtsHub visit here.
The 2017/18 Artists Repertory Theatre season is presented by Ronni Lacroute, David & Christine Vernier, and The Robert & Mercedes Eichholz Foundation. Other season support comes from The Collins Foundation, The Renaissance Foundation, Regional Arts Culture Council, Oregon Community Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation and Work for Art.
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Artists Repertory Theatre
ON STAGE NOW! CAUGHT: An installation of visual art and live theatre
By Christopher Chen and featuring dissident artist Lin Bo. Experience the intersection of fact and fiction in the crafting of art and news. Runs through Oct. 29.
UP NEXT! THE HUMANS: The small family dinner that made big waves on Broadway
By Stephen Karam. Directed by Dámaso Rodríguez. 2016 Tony Award for Best New Play. Nov. 19-Dec. 17