Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mellon Foundation Awards $90,000 Planning Grant to Greater Austin Creative Alliance

Reproduced from Rob Faubion's, October 16:

Andrew Mellon FoundationMellon Foundation Awards $90,000 Planning Grant to Greater Austin Creative Alliance

The trustees of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation have awarded a grant in the amount of $90,000 to the Greater Austin Creative Alliance to fund 19 months of planning and collaborations among a collective of local artist-driven theater companies and theater artists who focus on creating and presenting new work.

The grant will support planning and research to create a formal system for sharing resources that can serve as a model for other communities devoted to creating and presenting new work in theater.

Awarded to the New Works Theater Community - a loosely affiliated, mutually supportive group of Austin small theatre companies and individual artists, designers, writers, technicians, performers and administrators - the "first of its kind" grant funds the efforts of an entire community of artists and artist-driven companies. The group includes presenting, producing, and service organizations of various sizes, both with and without
their own venues. The participating organizations and individuals include:

- Physical Plant - Katie Pearl, Steve Moore;
- VORTEX Repertory Company - Bonnie Cullum;
- Rubber Repertory - Matt Hislope and Josh Meyer;
- Fusebox - Ron Berry;
- Salvage Vanguard Theater - Jenny Larson;
- Austin Script Works - Christi Moore;
- Poison Apple Initiative - Bastion Carboni;
- Paper Chairs - Dustin Wills, Lisa Laretta, and Kim Ngo;
- Teatro Vivo - Jo Anne Reyes and Rupert Reyes;
- Pro-Arts Theater Collective - Lisa Byrd;
- Shrewd Productions - Shannon Grounds;
- Vestige Group - Susie Gidseg;
- Trouble Puppet - Connor Hopkins;
- Cambiare Productions - Travis Bedard and Will Snider;
- Loaded Gun Theory - Tim Thomas and Julie Winston Thomas;
- Da! Theater - Heather Huggins, Kirk German, and Jude Hickey;
- Rude Mechanicals - Kirk Lynn, Shawn Sides, Lana Lesley, Madge Darlington, and Thomas Graves;
- Greater Austin Creative Alliance - Latifah Taormina and Heather Barfield

The Creative Alliance - which, as Austin Circle of Theaters and as the Alliance, is or has been the fiscal sponsor for many of these groups - will serve as the fiscal sponsor for the initiative.

The project was initiated when David Dower, then the artistic director of Z Space Studio in San Francisco (and now with Arena Stage in Washington DC) visited Austin on behalf of a Mellon-commissioned national field survey on the infrastructure for new works and new voices in the American Theatre. Dower was especially excited by the work he discovered here in Austin and most especially, the community doing the work.

"David came to town to talk to us about the possibilities for our community," said Kirk Lynn of the Rude Mechanicals. "He felt like we could get together and ask for support as a community. Having an outsider recognize and value what you do is amazing. Austin is famous; we are known nationally as a hotbed for new collaborative work."

The Greater Austin Creative Alliance - formerly Austin Circle of Theaters - builds on ACoT's 36 years of work to greater public awareness, appreciation, and support for Austin's performing arts community to serve the wider Austin creative community across all disciplines and sectors. A nonprofit, community-based organization, the Creative Alliance grew out of the CreateAustin initiative and works to advance, connect, and celebrate Austin's creative life. For more information, visit

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