Jeremy O. Harris and New York Theatre Workshop Announce Two $50,000 Commissions For New Theatrical Work

New York
Jeremy O. Harris | Gary Gershoff / Contributor, Getty Images
Kobi Kassal
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December 3, 2020 7:00 PM

Slave Play playwright Jeremy O. Harris and New York Theatre Workshop (NYTW) have announced the inaugural Golden & Ruth Harris Commission, which offers two $50,000 commissions for a new theatrical work, allowing the recipients to “dream expansively and extensively about a theatrical creation while working to relieve them in part from the need to seek other income over the course of the commissioning year.”

“At the core of my practice is the belief that the work of being a playwright is in community building,” Jeremy O. Harris said. “My grandparents, Golden and Ruth, always modeled charity and generosity within their community. Moreover, their generosity to me is the only reason I was able to write my first plays. Hopefully this commission can do the same for other artists at the theatre that gave me my first significant opportunities in the American theatre. In this moment of global unrest and unprecedented stasis for world theatre, my hope is that this can model for our community and our government a method to radically invest in the future of our medium.”

“Jeremy is an artist, a spirit, unlike any other,” said New York Theatre Workshop Artistic Director James C. Nicola. “Not only is he ablaze with imagination and inspiration in the convention-shattering work he makes himself, but he is also equally compelled to reinvent the art form.  In this new world that he is commanding to materialize, the fight for the common good of the artists that dwell there is at the very core of his efforts. With this initiative he has created, he enlists NYTW to become his partner in not just generously supporting theater-makers, but also in building a new paradigm of theater itself.”

In this first year, the commissions will be awarded to two artists who are Black womxn: one of whom is an artist who has yet to have an Off-Broadway New York production as a generative artist, and one of whom is an artist who made a significant impact early in their artistic lives but has not had adequate support of late.

Over the next few months, a wide array of nominators will recommend nominees from every area and medium of the field, who will submit proposals to an independent panel of artists. The panel will review the nominees and submit finalists to Harris and New York Theatre Workshop, who will select the recipients.

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Kobi Kassal

Hailing from sunny South Florida, Kobi Kassal founded Theatrely (formerly Theatre Talk Boston) while attending Boston University. He is an avid theatre attender and can be found seeing a performance most nights of the week (in normal times!) He is interested in the cross section of theatre, popular culture, hospitality, and politics. He also loves a good bagel!