The Alliance Theatre shared some exciting news Thursday.
Its Atlanta Artists Lab, a new-projects program for playwrights, actors, directors, dramaturgs and any metro theater artist with an idea, will continue “in perpetuity,” in the words of Artistic Director Susan V. Booth, thanks to generous funding from longtime Woodruff Arts Center supporters Margaret and Bob Reiser.
The Alliance is part of the Woodruff complex, along with the Atlanta Symphony, the High Museum of Art and Arts for Learning (previously Young Audiences). The fruits of the lab’s pilot year can be seen Aug. 8-9 with showcase performances on the Hertz Stage. Admission is free, but securing your seat with a reservation is a good idea. Go HERE or call the box office at 404.733.5000.
The inaugural Artists Lab launched rather quietly earlier this year, with three teams of artists winning $10,000 each to develop their projects.
For metro theater artists, this news heralds significant ongoing support for developing new work and new relationships plus a forum to draw new audiences and potential producers.
For audiences, the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab means the Alliance is deepening its commitment to incubating exciting new work locally, giving it legs and helping it find future lives.
“I hope there’s a bloodbath,” Booth said about the work to come. “I hope Tom Key and I are hitting each other in the face over who’ll produce what pieces.” Key is executive artistic director at Theatrical Outfit, the downtown company dedicated to telling stories that stir the soul and have a connection to the South.
Booth wanted to make one thing clear. “This is not a revenue-producing project. This is an investment in our local artists.”
The program is designed to provide an opportunity for artists to grow by having time and space to explore new ideas, to include the Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab within the Alliance’s annual core programming, to become a home base for local artists to create new work, and eventually to include at least one production that originated in the Lab in every subscription season.
The Alliance has proved that Atlanta is hungry for good new work. Its one-of-a-kind Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition has helped promote some of the smartest young playwrights working nationally and internationally today, a list that includes Bekah Brunstetter, Darren Canady, Tim Guillot, Megan Gogerty, Mike Lew, Kenneth Lin, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Meg Miroshnik and many more.
But back to – and forward with – the Artists Lab. The inaugural year’s winners came from a pool of 68 applications representing 204 artists. They are:
THE PROJECTS PROJECT. Showcase at 7 p.m. Aug. 8. Atlanta actor and playwright Ellen McQueen has teamed with collaborators James Knowles and Oliver Turner to develop a theater piece built from true stories of folks who grew up in the “war zone” of the Atlanta housing projects. It includes spoken word, visual images, music and dance.
MOXIE. Showcase at 1 p.m. Aug. 9. Actors and writers Brian Kurlander and Lane Carlock have teamed with director-dramaturg Elisa Carlson to chronicle the journey of a book handmade by a Marine for his son before he’s killed in Afghanistan. Moxie details the many lives this book touches.
UPRISING. Showcase at 8 p.m. Aug. 9. Gabrielle Fulton examines notions of freedom in a play that looks at liberty, self-determination and sacrifice in a free black community in Secession-era America.
These winners were chosen by a panel of judges comprising Booth; playwright Pearl Cleage; Georgia Shakespeare’s Richard Garner; Camille Love, director of the city of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs; and costume designer Marianne Verheyen, who has designed at the Alliance and is on the faculty at Boston University. They were funded by the David, Helen and Marian Woodward Fund; the Charles Loridans Foundation; and the Mark and Evelyn Trammell Foundation.
The 2014-15 Reiser Atlanta Artists Lab will begin accepting applications at the end of this month. Anyone interested in applying can contact Celise Kalke, director of new projects, at firstname.lastname@example.org or check the Alliance website at the end of the month. The application deadline is Oct. 15. There is no ceiling on how many years a single artist can apply, Kalke said.