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David Rockwell Will Donate the Royalties from his New Book Drama to Support The Actors Fund

Stage Directions • Industry NewsTheatre Buzz • May 25, 2021

The Actors Fund, the national human services organization for everyone in performing arts and entertainment, announced today that Tony Award®-winning set designer and architect David Rockwell will donate his royalties from the new book Drama to The Fund and its vital efforts to support those in the performing arts and entertainment community.

David Rockwell

Rockwell said, “The pandemic has proven how critical The Actors Fund is to our community. Over the past 15 months, they have helped provide over 40,000 people with basic needs like rent, food, and medicine. But despite the exciting news that live performance is slowly returning, hundreds of thousands of arts workers are still unemployed and in need of aid. I’m honored that Drama will be able to continue my support of the Fund and those in need.”

Joe Benincasa, CEO of The Actors Fund said, “We are thrilled that David has generously donated his royalties to The Fund. While news is encouraging and we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, there are still many people who are in need of emergency financial assistance, health care and insurance counseling, mental health services and more. His gift, and those like it, help us provide the critical support people in our industry desperately need.”

The Actors Fund recently released a survey to help determine how to best assist those with long-term needs caused by the Covid pandemic. The survey identified significant loss of income, food insecurity, lost housing, financial hardship, and concerns about the future, among others.

76% of those surveyed say they lost income, 62% report they lost part-time or gig employment, and 49% lost full-time employment in entertainment. Of the respondents who lost full-time or part-time employment in the entertainment industry, 22% do not know when they will return to work, 29% expect to return in less than six months, 34% in six to 12 months, 11% in one year.

In 2020, The Actors Fund served more than 40,000 individuals, a 71% increase from 2019; distributed more than $19 million in direct cash to some 15,000 individuals; and helped people from 126 different occupations in performing arts and entertainment with their services around career, financial wellness, mental health, health insurance, housing and more.

Released on May 26, Drama, is a new book by David Rockwell with Bruce Mau, edited by Sam Lubell. Phaidon is delighted to publish Drama and will make the book available through their website at

Inspired by an early life rooted in the theater, Rockwell has long drawn on aspects of performance to frame and enhance his built work, which ranges from hotels and restaurants, theaters, and museums, to set and exhibition design, to workplaces, playgrounds, and academic buildings. He aims to create a story within any space he designs, evoking a sense of performance, showmanship and above all – Drama.

Phaidon is delighted to publish Drama, a rigorous exploration of Rockwell Group’s system of ideas and methods in action, found in examples from both architecture and theater, and both inside and outside the firm. Drama explores the principles at the core of Rockwell’s method, devoting chapters to six fundamental concepts: Audience, Ensemble, Worlds, Story, Journey, and Impermanence. Each chapter demonstrates how these principles may be applied not just to theater, but to a wide range of creative disciplines.

Woven through the book are a series of conversations between Rockwell and impressive figures from various creative backgrounds. These talks emphasize the value of cross-disciplinary creativity. Featured interviews include architect Daniel Libeskind, award-winning music producer and composer Quincy Jones, museum director and curator Thelma Golden, playwright and actor Anna Deavere Smith, chef and humanitarian José Andrés, Oscar-winning production designer Adam Stockhausen, president of Jujamcyn Theaters Jordan Roth, and Tony Award-winning designers Peggy Eisenhauer and Natasha Katz.

Further information from The Actors Fund:


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