Center Stage among designees for $100,000 residency grant @

January 22, 1993|By J. Wynn Rousuck | J. Wynn Rousuck,Theater Critic

Center Stage is one of 10 theaters that will receive a $100,000 grant as part of the newly formed National Theatre Artist Residency Program.

Funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and developed and administered by Theatre Communications Group, the pilot program will foster partnerships between theater artists and institutions.

At Center Stage, it will provide a residency for playwright Marion Isaac McClinton, whose inner-city drama, "Police Boys," received its world premiere there last season.

Reached at his Minnesota home, Mr. McClinton, 38, said he plans to spend eight months out of the next two years in Baltimore. He added he is especially pleased that, as part of the grant, Center Stage will produce one of his new plays. "You're not in play writing to collect grants, you're in it to get the work that you do produced," he explained.

The play is "The Authentic Story and Most Original Adventures of the One and Only Hannibal Jim as Told to Samuel Clemens," a retelling of "Huckleberry Finn," which the theater expects to produce by the end of the 1994-1995 season.

And, Mr. McClinton will collaborate with choreographer Donald Byrd on a dance-oriented work called "Minstrel Show"; he will also be involved in outreach efforts, a reading series of new works and will serve as dramaturg on selected productions.

"That we were one of the first 10 theaters selected nationally was gratifying," said Peter W. Culman, Center Stage's managing director, who also expressed enthusiasm for the chance to have such a widely gifted playwright in residence. "Here is someone who is a theater person through and through, but also, as an African-American, sees perspectively how the work we do can ** really go about making Center Stage so much more a part of our entire community," he said.

Other theaters receiving grants are the Alley Theatre in Houston, the Alliance Theatre Company in Atlanta, Ga.; Capital Repertory Company in Albany, N.Y.; Crossroads Theatre Company in New Brunswick, N.J.; the Group, Seattle's Multicultural Theatre; Honolulu Theatre for Youth; Lincoln Center Theater in New York; the New York Shakespeare Festival; and Repertorio Espanol in New York. In all, 30 grants of $100,000 are expected to be awarded over the next three years as well as a number of smaller grants ranging from $1,000 to $3,000.

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