Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Boston Playwright Gets Mellon Grant - Melinda Lopez Will Take Residency at the Huntington

More great news for Boston theater.  One of our playwrights, Melinda Lopez, has been chosen for one of the Mellon Foundation's residencies for playwrights, which will provide salaries and benefits for three years to the recipient..

Melinda is currently onstage at the Roberts Theatre in the Huntington's production of Our Town, which was directed by David Cromer. (Photo above.)

An article in the Boston Globe covers the details of the Mellon initiative:

The Mellon money is designed to enable the writers to focus more fully on their writing without scrambling to make ends meet, but under the initiative they will also shoulder duties that could include taking part in planning sessions for theater companies’ upcoming seasons, providing a writer’s voice at board meetings, and participating in playwright development programs. A total of $245,000 will cover Lopez’s salary and benefits at the Huntington for the three-year residency. She will also be eligible to apply each year for an additional $10,000 from the Center for the Theater Commons to cover travel and research expenses. Lopez said she plans to finish “Becoming Cuba,’’ a historical drama set on the eve of the Spanish-American War, and also write two additional full-length plays during the residency.
However, this is not to be confused with a MacArthur Fellowship which is a direct gift to the recipient. The Mellon grant is a bit more admin heavy:
Playing a key role in the Mellon Foundation initiative is the Center for the Theater Commons, a research center based at Emerson College. The center will receive a $760,000 grant, of which more than half will be distributed to the playwrights for travel and research expenses, according to the center’s director, Polly Carl. The rest will fund a project to hire freelancers who will closely track the residencies to see how well they are working and what difference they are making for the playwrights, the individual theaters and the communities where they are located, as well as, potentially, the American theater in general.
Congratulations to Melinda Lopez, who is breaking ground for Boston playwrights once again!

Back in 2004 when the Boston Center for the Arts opened the Calderwood Pavillion, Melinda's play Sonia Flew was chosen by then Huntington Theatre Company Artistic Director Nicholas Martin to christen the Wimberly Theater, which was to serve as the Huntington's second stage. 

  (Photo Credit: Melinda Lopez and Derrick Trumbly in the Huntington Theatre Company's production of Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN. Photo by Charles T. Erickson.)

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