Recipients Announced for Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Commissioning and Production Initiative

by Naomi Crews

The first recipients of grants from the two-round Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Theatre Commissioning and Production Initiative have been announced, giving theatres $125,000 to produce a new large-scale work from an American playwright, and to commission an additional work from the same writer. 


NEW YORK, NY, January 27, 2015 — The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) today announced the first grant recipients from its new, two-round Theatre Commissioning and Production Initiative. In the first round, five theaters are each receiving $125,000 to produce a new, large-scale work by an American playwright and to commission an additional new work from that same writer.

“We are thrilled to support these remarkable theaters in their continuing alliances with playwrights to bring ambitious new works to the public,” said Ben Cameron, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Program Director for the Arts. “Through this new initiative, the foundation aims to help address the historically poor compensation of playwrights, to encourage long-term relationships between theaters and writers, and to support the production of plays that serve theaters’ nonprofit missions, even if such plays do not have immediate commercial appeal.”

The first round of grants will support:

  • Denver Center Theatre Company (Denver, CO) in its collaboration with playwright Eric Schmiedl, including the production of Benediction.
  • Lookingglass Theatre (Chicago, IL) in its collaboration with playwright David Catlin, including the production of a new version of Moby Dick.
  • Public Theater (New York, NY) in its collaboration with playwright Richard Nelson, including the production of The Orange Plays (specific titles to be announced).
  • Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, OR) in its collaboration with playwright Lynn Nottage, including the production of Sweat.
  • Two River Theatre (Red Bank, NJ) in its collaboration with lyricist Joe Iconis and librettist Joe Tracz, including the production of Be More Chill

The foundation will award an additional five grants during the second round of the initiative, culminating in $1.25 million of funding by its end. Each grant is composed of three parts: $75,000 to support a production; $25,000 to be awarded to the playwright; and $25,000 to support a new commission and potentially development activities between the theater and the same playwright. Visit the Theatre Commissioning and Production Initiative page on to learn more.