Berkeley Rep Receives Edgerton Award

by Stage Directions
BERKELEY, Calif. – Berkeley Repertory Theatre has received a grant to fund its 50th world premiere. The Edgerton Foundation presented the Tony Award-winning theatre with its coveted New American Play Award to support the latest work from the team that made Eurydice a national hit.

The $54,000 grant will provide extra rehearsal time for In the Next Room  (or the vibrator play), a comedy that Berkeley Rep has commissioned from MacArthur fellow Sarah Ruhl. The show – whose working title had simply been The Vibrator Play – will be staged in 2009 by Berkeley Rep's associate artistic director, Obie Award-winner Les Waters.
"I am thrilled to continue collaborating with Sarah," Waters remarked, "and enormously grateful to the Edgerton Foundation. This award provides us with the rare luxury of an extended rehearsal period for a new play. Sarah has become one of the country's most important writers, and I'm honored that Berkeley Rep has played a vital role in her career. I trust that our work on Eurydice and this new commission are only two steps in a long and fertile relationship."
The Edgerton Foundation New Play Award is given to select theatres that have demonstrated a strong and consistent track record of producing new work. In the last three years, the Foundation has disbursed more than $1.4 million to noted theatres across the nation. By guaranteeing extra rehearsal time for a promising new play, the program aims to deliver a stronger first production and thereby increase the chances that a script will enjoy continued life and become a mainstay of the American repertoire.

For Waters, who is renowned for collaborating with emerging and established authors on new plays, this is the second production honored in this way: earlier this year, his world premiere of Stephen Greenblatt and Charles Mee's Cardenio also earned an Edgerton grant. In addition to the New Play Award, the Edgerton Foundation supports the environment, global security and important institutions in Los Angeles.
"We want to encourage and thank the theatres that are taking on the risk of producing new plays," said Dr. Brad Edgerton, co-director of the foundation along with his wife, Louise. "We hope that this extra rehearsal time with the whole creative team in place, including the playwright, will help these excellent plays become great plays destined for future productions."


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