Short Takes

Short Takes

2014 Aetna New Voices Fellow Kimber Lee
2014-15 Aetna New Voices Fellow Kimber Lee

Playwright Kimber Lee will be the 2014-15 Aetna New Voices Fellow at Hartford Stage.
Kimber Lee’s brownsville song (b-side for tray), which premiered at the 2014 Humana Festival, will receive productions this year at Lincoln Center, Long Wharf Theatre, and Philadelphia Theatre Company.  

Elizabeth Williamson, Director of New Play Development at Hartford Stage, said, “Kimber Lee’s brownsville song (b-side for tray) blew me away. Kimber has an uncanny ability to insinuate herself into the language and speech patterns of wildly divergent characters, and to bring them together in plays which, collage-like, let us see a larger picture of society through the carefully structured accretion of every-day moments and interactions.”

A season-long engagement, the Aetna New Voices Fellowship provides an artistic home for important playwrights of color to develop work and become involved in the ongoing life of Greater Hartford. The residency includes working with Hartford Stage’s Education Department, advancing community development, and the commissioning of a new play, as well as readings and workshops.

Janine Nabers (Annie Bosh is Missing) served as the 2013-14 Aetna New Voices Fellow. Hartford Stage produced the east coast premiere of Somewhere by 2012-13 Fellow Matthew Lopez in April, and will be premiering his Reverberation in 2014-15. Hartford Stage premiered Breath and Imagination by 2007-08 Fellow Daniel Beaty in 2013-14. Quiara Alegria Hudes, the 2008-09 Aetna New Voices Fellow, won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Water by the Spoonful, which also premiered at Hartford Stage.

SBM_logoA generous grant from SBM Charitable Foundation to Hartford Stage will bring the theatre’s award-winning education programs to thousands of students in East Hartford, Manchester, and Vernon/Rockville over the next year.

The grant will support students through the “Student Performance Series” and “Connections,” two of the Hartford Stage Education Department’s many distinguished programs, which serve more than 20,000 young people statewide annually.

“SBM Charitable Foundation is proud to partner again with Hartford Stage for a tenth year to fulfill one of our most important priorities – supporting education enrichment programs for East of the River students.  This funding will assist Hartford Stage in its continuation of bringing quality arts and literacy education to so many students living in some of the SBMCF’s focus areas,” said Doreen Downham, Executive Director.

Busy Summer in Education!

By Jennifer Roberts, Director of Education

The cast of Breakdancing Shakespeare performs Love's Labour's Lost
The cast of Breakdancing Shakespeare performs Love’s Labour’s Lost

The education department had a busy summer! Our full-fledged Summer Studio offered nine different programs spanning six weeks for students ages 3-17. We had over 200 students join us this summer for classes in acting, improv, dialects, musical theatre, choreography, Shakespeare, puppetry, voice, dance, Commedia,  directing, and technical theatre.

Nearly 600 audience members saw our two Summer Studio productions of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Jr. and Some Treasure Island!  Meanwhile, our adult students were busy rehearsing their own play in our very first Adult Studio Performance Project.

Back in our rehearsal studios at Hartford Stage, 15 teenagers were preparing for their production of Breakdancing Shakespeare: Love’s Labour’s Lost. The program is part of the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s Neighborhood Studios program, which links youth with arts organizations that give students hands-on training in a specific artistic discipline and employs them as paid apprentices. In addition to a rigorous rehearsal process combining acting, dancing and text work, cast members also took master classes in stage combat, voice, and dance and participated in career skills workshops. The three final performances at the University of Saint Joseph were seen by 773 audience members.