- by Jacob Coakley
in Theatre Buzz
The Signature Theatre Company has named Martha Clarke and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins to its Residency Five Program. The Residency Five Program provides five-year residencies for playwrights, and guarantees three full productions of each playwright’s new work over the course of their residency. Playwrights also receive a cash award, full health benefits, a stipend to attend theatre, and access to Signature’s resources and staff. Martha Clarke is a multi-disciplinary theatre and dance artist who is a founding member of Pilobolus Dance Theatre and Crowsnest. In 2007, the NEA awarded a grant to re-envision her Garden of Earthly Delights under a program dedicated to the remounting of American masterworks. It ran for five months Off-Broadway and she won the Joe A. Calloway award for her choreography. Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a Brooklyn-based playwright and dramaturg. His newest play, Appropriate, will premiere at the Humana Festival in March 2013.
SIGNATURE THEATRE IS PLEASED TO WELCOME
MARTHA CLARKE & BRANDEN JACOBS-JENKINS TO THE RESIDENCY FIVE PROGRAM
Signature Theatre (James Houghton, Founding Artistic Director; Erika Mallin, Executive Director) is pleased to announce that Martha Clarke and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins have joined the Residency Five program, which provides five-year residencies for multiple playwrights, guaranteeing three full productions of new work over the course of each playwright’s residency. The other artists currently in the Residency Five program are Annie Baker, Will Eno, Katori Hall, Kenneth Lonergan, and Regina Taylor.
Residency Five is the first program of its kind in the American theatre; going far beyond the traditional commissioning or workshop models, the program enables a diverse community of playwrights to build bodies of work. Residency Five playwrights receive a significant cash award, full health benefits, a stipend to attend theatre, access to Signature’s resources and staff, and like all of our playwrights, a place at the center of the artistic process.
“We are thrilled to welcome Martha and Branden to Residency Five,” said Founding Artistic Director James Houghton. “Martha is an artist whose striking, multidisciplinary work has distinguished her as one of this generation's most visionary theater-makers. Branden is an exciting talent with a vibrant and provocative voice. Together these two artists will challenge and inspire us, and we look forward to having them join our growing community of writers at The Pershing Square Signature Center.”
“What an amazing opportunity to call the wonderful Signature Theatre my home for the next five years,” said Martha Clarke. “I am deeply grateful for the artistic freedom and support of Jim Houghton and his excellent staff.”
"Signature was the first theatre I ever purchased a subscription to," said Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. "It was the August Wilson season and I was fresh out of school and that experience actually changed my life. Great theatre was suddenly something very true and affordable and welcoming to me. That season I also grasped for the first time what a "career" for a playwright could be - or that a playwright could even have a "career" in the first place. This kind of promise is what a lot of playwrights dream of, and three plays over five years is not just a gift but a challenge - an encouragement to think bigger. The possibilities now seem greater and stranger and maybe a little more dangerous and that's exciting to me - and to imagine those possibilities playing out in the context of the Signature's Ticket Initiative is just inspiring. I couldn't be more thrilled."
As a founding member of Pilobolus Dance Theatre and Crowsnest, MARTHA CLARKE has choreographed for Nederlans Dans Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, and The Martha Graham Company, among others. As a director Ms. Clarke’s many original productions include Vienna: Lusthaus, Miracolo d’amore, Endangered Species, An Uncertain Hour, The Hunger Artist, Vers La Flame, and Garden of Earthly Delights. She directed the premiere of Christopher Hampton’s Alice’s Adventures Underground at the Royal National Theatre in London. In Opera Ms. Clarke has directed The Magic Flute for the Glimmerglass Opera and the Canadian Opera Company, Cosi Fan Tutte for Glimmerglass, Tan Dun’s Marco Polo for the Munich Biennale, the Hong Kong Festival, and the New York City Opera, and Gluck’s Orfeo and Eurydice for the English National Opera and the New York City Opera. She directed A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the American Repertory Theatre and a new music/theatre work, Belle Epoque, based on the life of Toulouse Loutrec at Lincoln Center Theatre. Kaos, an evening of Pirandello’s short stories presented at New York Theatre Workshop was awarded the first Tony Randall Foundation award in 2006. Ms. Clarke is the recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Award and grants from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation. She has received the Drama Desk Award, two Obie Awards and the LA Critics Award. In 2007, the NEA awarded a grant to re-envision her Garden of Earthly Delights under a program dedicated to the remounting of American masterworks. It opened at the American Dance Festival and ran five months off-Broadway. She received the Joe A. Calloway award for her choreography for Garden of Earthly Delights. In 2010, Ms. Clarke received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award. Angel Reapers, a collaboration with Pulitzer prize winner Alfred Uhry (based on the Shakers) toured New England with performances at the Joyce Theater, NYC 2011. She premiered a new full evening work L’Altra Meta del Cielo at La Scala Opera in spring of 2012 in Milan Italy.
BRANDEN JACOBS-JENKINS is a Brooklyn-based playwright and dramaturg. His newest play, Appropriate, premieres at the Humana Festival in March 2013, and his play Neighbors will receive its UK Premiere at the Hightide Festival in May 2013. His work has been seen at The Public Theater, PS122, Soho Rep, The Matrix Theatre in Los Angeles, Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis, CompanyOne in Boston, Theater Bielefeld in Bielefeld, Germany and the National Theatre in London. He is a Usual Suspect and a former New York Theatre Workshop Playwriting fellow, an alum of the Soho Rep Writers/Directors Lab, the Public Theater Emerging Writers Group, and Ars Nova Playgroup. His honors include a Princess Grace Award, the Dorothy Strelsin Playwriting Fellowship, the Paula Vogel Award, two residencies with the Sundance Theatre Lab, and a fellowship in playwriting from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He holds an M.A. in Performance Studies from NYU and is working on commissions from Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3 and Yale Repertory Theater.
The planning and launch of Residency Five is supported, in part, by funds from the City of New York Theater Subdistrict Council, LDC and the City of New York.
About SIGNATURE THEATRE
Founded in 1991 by James Houghton, Signature Theatre exists to honor and celebrate the playwright. Signature makes an extended commitment to a playwright’s body of work, and during this journey, the writer is engaged in every aspect of the creative process. Signature is the first theatre company to devote an entire season to the work of a single playwright, including re-examinations of past writings as well as New York and world premieres. By championing in-depth explorations of a living playwright’s body of work, the Company delivers an intimate and immersive journey into the playwright’s singular vision.
Signature has presented entire seasons of the work of Edward Albee, Lee Blessing, Horton Foote, Maria Irene Fornes, Athol Fugard, John Guare, Bill Irwin, Adrienne Kennedy, Tony Kushner, Romulus Linney, Charles Mee, Arthur Miller, the Negro Ensemble Company, Sam Shepard, Paula Vogel, August Wilson and Lanford Wilson. At The Pershing Square Signature Center, the Company’s expanded programming includes: Residency One, the continuation of Signature’s core program which provides audiences with an immersive exploration of the work of a singular playwright; Residency Five, which provides five-year residencies for multiple playwrights, guaranteeing three full productions of new work over the course of each playwright’s residency; and the Legacy Program, which honors the lifetime achievement of playwrights who have previously been in residence at Signature through the production of a premiere or earlier play.
Signature, its productions and its resident writers have been recognized with a Pulitzer Prize, fourteen Lucille Lortel Awards, sixteen Obie Awards, six Drama Desk Awards and twenty-two AUDELCO Awards, among many other distinctions. The National Theatre Conference recognized the company as the 2003 Outstanding National Theatre of the Year. For more information on Signature please visit us on-line at signaturetheatre.org.
About THE PERSHING SQUARE SIGNATURE CENTER
The Pershing Square Signature Center is the new, permanent home of Signature Theatre. Spanning an entire city block at 42nd Street between 9th and 10th Avenue, the Frank Gehry-designed Pershing Square Signature Center features three intimate theatres, a studio theatre, rehearsal studio, and a public café, bar and bookstore and serves as both a theatre community hub and neighborhood destination. Working hand-in-hand with Signature leadership and architect of record H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture LLC, Gehry’s design is carefully calibrated to foster interaction among playwrights, artistic collaborators and the public. The Pershing Square Signature Center has allowed the Company to expand and enhance its programming, introduce new initiatives, and build audiences. The Center serves as the artistic home for as many as 9 playwrights at any one time, fostering a dynamic creative community where playwrights engage directly with audiences and one another.