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The Apothetae and The Lark Launch Unprecedented Playwriting Fellowship for Disabled Writers

Lark News
A large circle of theater artists, both disabled and non disabled, sit in a circle in The Lark's BareBones Studio, a large, bright room with wood floors and an ornate red rug in the center. Large windows sit at the left of the frame and light the room.
The first convening co-hosted by The Apothetae and The Lark. May 2015.

The Apothetae, a theater company committed to challenging perceived perceptions of the “Disabled Experience,” and The Lark, a play development lab devoted to equity, community, and the power of an individual artistic voice, are thrilled to announce the launch and opening of submissions for the pilot round of The Apothetae at Lark Fellowship, made possible with leadership support from the Time Warner Foundation, and additional support from Jody Falco and Jeffrey Steinman. The Apothetae at Lark Playwriting Fellowship includes a two-year residency for a Disabled Writer, a cash award of $40,000, plus a $5,000 Opportunity Fund for project-related expenses, and control over a $10,000 Production Enhancement Fund, to be allocated to a producing theater in support of a full production of one of the Fellow’s plays. The Fellowship also includes access to a wide range of Lark and Apothetae resources, including artistic program participation, office and rehearsal space, and staff support. In addition to the selection of the Fellow, up to three finalists for the award will each receive a $5,000 honorarium. Applications will be accepted from March 1 to June 15, 2017, and the 2017 Fellowship period will run from September 15, 2017 through September 14, 2019.

The Apothetae at Lark Playwriting Fellowship is the centerpiece of a broad Apothetae at Lark Initiative, designed to provide an unprecedented platform of financial and artistic support and advocacy for Disabled Artists, and to promote the generation of new plays with the power to revolutionize the cultural conversation surrounding Disability. The Fellowship and Initiative were born directly out of conversations with members of the Disabled and d/Deaf Communities, held at The Lark in May of 2015 and January of 2016. At both convenings, three major needs were expressed: more material, more opportunities (which are perpetuated by the creation of more material), and more convening as a community. The Apothetae and The Lark have been working in partnership, along with Steering Committee members Claudia Alick (Community Producer, Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Shirley Fishman (Resident Dramaturg at La Jolla Playhouse), Jack Reuler (Artistic Director at Mixed Blood Theatre), and Howard Sherman (Senior Strategy Director and Interim Director at Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts) to address these needs, as well as the profound underrepresentation and oppressive misrepresentation of people with disabilities that persists throughout our cultural media.

“I believe theater offers one of the greatest venues for perceptions about Disability to change; it is immediate, events happen in real time, and it demands participation,” said Gregg Mozgala, Founder and Artistic Director of The Apothetae. “It also provides visibility, creates community, and serves as a place of inclusion and a forum for ideas. The Disabled Community, and the experiences of that community, are incredibly varied and complex. There are commonalities to be sure, but I believe what makes Disability hard to define and codify is the same thing that makes it inherently dramatic in nature. And worthy of rigorous exploration.

The Apothetae at Lark Playwriting Fellowship will be a critical component in The Lark’s acclaimed portfolio of fellowships, designed to engage a diverse community of extraordinary playwrights—at various places in their careers—who represent, collectively, a contemporary national vision.

“It’s a privilege to partner with The Apothetae, an organization that is bringing a visionary and creative approach to its advocacy for new narratives around Disability,” said Lloyd Suh, Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark. “This is a necessary conversation, and as part of Lark’s mission to identify and nurture extraordinary artists from underserved communities, we hope these resources can have a lasting impact in the life and work of individual artists, as well as the theater community at large.

The Lark believes that targeted support is essential to a culture of equity, access, and inclusion, and a national theater that represents the vibrancy of our collective cultural voices. The Apothetae at Lark Fellow will be in residence at The Lark as part of a community of artists from across the country and around the world, gathered to explore and illuminate the most important issues of our time.

“The creation of new works and the re-appropriation of existing works can help frame our experience in a historical context while simultaneously creating new mythologies,” says Mozgala. “It finally allows us to take ownership of our personal and collective identity.”

For more information, or to apply for the Fellowship, please visit The Lark’s website at: www.larktheatre.org/get-involved/submit-play.

Applications will be accepted from March 1 to June 15, 2017.

For the selection process, writers may self-identify as Disabled, and the program will use the legal definition of disability as articulated in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, which states: an individual with a disability is a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such an impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment.

For questions about submissions, please visit our
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, and/or email theapothetae@larktheatre.org. If you have accessibility questions about the application process, please contact Director of Community Relationships Anna Kull at anna@larktheatre.org or (212) 246-2676 x242.


ABOUT THE APOTHETAE

The Apothetae is a company dedicated to the production of full-length plays that explore and illuminate the "Disabled Experience." To do this, The Apothetae focuses on newly commissioned works by both established and up and coming playwrights, and plays that already exist in the theatrical canon featuring characters with disabilities or dealing with disabled themes: Oedipus, Richard III, The Elephant Man, etc. By making visible the human impact of disabled people throughout history, The Apothetae believes empathy can be practiced, perceptions changed, and new communities forged through the collaborative and transformative power of the artistic process.

An integrated company, The Apothetae employs both disabled and non-disabled artists from the larger New York theater scene, from regional theaters around the country and the world.  Non-disabled actors and playwrights will be asked to write and say the things about the disabled experience that they think they should not. Disabled actors must respond instead of reacting. Only through honest interaction and collaboration, can habitual perceptions be altered and new ways of being and seeing one another achieved.

For more information about The Apothetae, please visit: www.theapothetae.org.

Gregg Mozgala (Founder/Artistic Director) a critically acclaimed actor and playwright, was recently named a 2016 Kennedy Citizen Artist Fellow. He has appeared on stage at The Public Theater, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, La Mama ETC, Performance Space 122, Theater Breaking Through Barriers, The Brick Theater, The National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped, and the Ensemble Studio Theatre, among others. He is a former member of the Obie-award winning playwriting group, Youngblood, at The Ensemble Studio Theatre. For several years he has served as a mentor for The Kennedy Center’s Playwright Discovery Program, an annual, national competition that invites middle and high school students to take a closer look at the world around them, examine how disability affects their lives and the lives of others, and express their views through the art of script writing.

Gregg is the subject of the award winning documentary Enter The Faun, which will air on the PBS series America Reframed in March 2017. He now teaches and works with adults and young people with Cerebral Palsy across the country and around the globe, and helped to start the first “Cerebral Posse” in New York City. Gregg has been invited to speak about the effects of cerebral palsy at the Wyss Institute For Biological Engineering at Harvard University, La Rabida Children's Hospital in Chicago, Eastern Carolina Medical School, Columbia University Medical School and the Kennedy-Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD.

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ABOUT THE TIME WARNER FOUNDATION

The Time Warner Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation that is wholly supported by Time Warner Inc. and its subsidiary companies Home Box Office, Inc., Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. Its mission is to seek innovative and powerful ways to discover, nurture and celebrate the next generation of storytellers.The Foundation strives to build impactful partnerships with best-in-class nonprofit organizations that push the boundaries of artist development and support underrepresented storytellers. The Foundation's ultimate goal is the cultivation of an artistic community that is rich, vibrant and relevant to audiences of today and tomorrow. For more information, please visit: www.timewarnerfoundation.org.

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