Center Theatre Group Receives $1 Million to Support Devised Work

by Jacob Coakley


The Center Theatre Group received $1 million for new devised work from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
The Center Theatre Group received $1 million for new devised work from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Center Theatre Group in L.A. has received a four-year, $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a program based on collaboratively creating devised work. The program will focus on supporting a work from commission through production.

Collaboratively Created Work Is Focus Of Grant

Center Theatre Group (CTG) has been awarded a four-year, $1 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  The grant will make possible a program focusing on collaboratively created contemporary work from ensembles, devisers and writers, supporting the creative arc from commissioning through development and production; the program will build on the work generated by a multi-year 2009 Mellon Foundation grant supporting the development of non-text based work.

A recent and growing presence on the traditional regional theatre scene, collective contemporary theatre combines performance, technology, imagery, music, heightened text and often, but not exclusively, a non-linear narrative.

“This program and so many that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funds are all part of a puzzle that recognizes the vibrancy and urgency of collaborative work created nationally,” said CTG Artistic Director Michael Ritchie. “CTG recognizes our responsibility to open our doors to innovators who can expand our programming with this new energy and aesthetic, and to deepen the support we’ve been able to give to such artists in recent years.”

Director of New Play Production Diane Rodriguez noted, “In the last few years, we have seen the ensemble movement grow and flourish in this country.  This program is part of that movement and we look forward to continuing to find innovative models and opportunities to support those theatre makers who create collectively.”

The 2009 Mellon grant has supported such projects as Rude Mechs’ “I’ve Never Been So Happy” (CTG/Kirk Douglas Theatre, 2011), Daniel Alexander Jones’ “Radiate” (DouglasPlus, 2012), “Neva” by Guillermo Calderón (a collaborative tour presented first at Upstairs@KDT in June 2013 and then at South Coast Repertory and La Jolla Playhouse). Active projects currently in development are “Hope” by Evelina Fernandez and the Latino Theatre Company, “Western Society” by the international theatre company Gob Squad, “Party People” by Universes, “Straight White Men” by Young Jean Lee’s Theater Company, and “Lester Bangs” by collaborators Erik Jensen and Jessica Blank.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a private philanthropic institution that makes grants on a selective basis in five core program areas: higher education and scholarship, scholarly communications and information technology, museums and art conservation, conservation and the environment, and performing arts. The Foundation’s Performing Arts program focuses on achieving long-term results by providing multi-year grants to leading organizations in the disciplines of music, theatre and dance. Annual giving in the area of the performing arts has averaged approximately $30 million per year since 2005. In 2004 The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was awarded a National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government.

Center Theatre Group is the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that supports the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theatre, the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City, and a significant number of play development and arts education initiatives in Southern California.  The mission of Center Theatre Group is to provide theatre of the highest caliber to the rich, diverse communities of Southern California.