The Huntington Theatre Company, one of Boston’s preeminent theatrical institutions, is opening up its Playwriting Fellows Program to applications. (Previously the program had been by invitation only.)
“But who are these Fellows?” you ask. “What exactly is their Program? And I thought it was spelled playwrighting?”
The Playwriting Fellows Program is the Huntington’s initiative to connect with local playwrights. Selected artists engage in two-year residencies with such benefits as a writers’ collective, dramaturgical support from Huntington staff, and readings at the theatre’s Breaking Ground series.
And no, I’m sorry, it’s spelled “playwriting.” A playwright goes and does some playwriting. See? Just one of those weird asymmetries of the English language!
Anyway, Director of New Work Lisa Timmel discusses the change on the Huntington’s blog. Basically, it begins with the perennial problem of too many good playwrights for a small number of slots for new productions (a pattern she noted at a previous gig and, since coming to the Huntington, here as well).
Besides that, the theatre/playwright dynamic is often based on ongoing relationships, rather than one-off productions. So to build the foundation for future productions of new plays by local playwrights, the Huntington is encouraging applications to the Fellows Program – its primary means of cultivating relationships with local playwrights. Timmel describes her own route to the decision:
This process forced me to spend time thinking about what I care about and what kind of theatre I want the Huntington to be, at least the 30 square feet of it that I control. I am not, temperamentally, a fan of big arts institutions. They can be remote from the community that they are trying to serve. What I love about working at the Huntington is the many ways we are trying to chip away at that distance between the institution and the people. An artist needs a platform, and a platform needs steps. You do your best work, and we’ll do our best to find room on the step for you.
Find out more about the Huntington Playwriting Fellows Program and apply here. Deadline for applications is October 15, 2009.