Announcing the 2019-20 NET/TEN Exchange Grant Recipients

2019-20 Exchange Grant

August 30, 2020

NET is pleased to announce the 2019-20 NET/TEN Exchange Grant Recipients!

Artist's Laboratory Theatre (Rogers, AR) and Mateo Ozelotzin (Los Angeles, CA) will exchange theatre devising techniques and other methodology used to generate new work. Both collaborators come from different backgrounds of performance training, and offer each other a myriad of theatre making methods. The exchange process will occur in Arkansas during the rehearsals of No Somos Máquinas in Spring 2020, and then the whole project will culminate with Mateo devising a new work in Los Angeles with an ensemble in 2020.

The two longest running Latinx theatre ensembles in Arizona for the development and production of “Antigone at the Border”- a postcolonial re-imagining of the Greek classic revolving around Antigone Guzman, a DACA recipient and humanitarian aid volunteer and her uncle, Creon Cardenas, Chief Border Patrol Agent of the Thebes sector. The project bridges Borderlands Theater (Tucson, AZ) artists with Teatro Bravo (Phoenix, AZ) artists in a partnership designed to increase the statewide exposure of both ensembles as they explore community engagement, artmaking, and ensemble building together.

Double Edge Theatre (Ashfield, Massachusetts) and Ebony Noelle Golden (Brooklyn, NY) will initiate a two year collaborative project culminating in a new performance by Golden and her core ensemble to premiere at Double Edge in Spring 2022. This proposal requests support for the first installment of the exchange, an extended residency in October 2020 focusing on training, rehearsal and development of the new piece, a work-in-progress sharing, and a public lecture/demonstration. The performance, called The Rebekah Cycle: Book 1, puts forward a black feminist approach to climate justice and venerates practices of transformation, justice, and world-making powered by black women and femmes found in contemporary performance art, ritual performance, and black diasporic spiritual traditions.

Fallawayinto Collective (Philadelphia, PA) will create an exchange with Dréya St. Clair (New York, NY), a Black trans woman artist and director who is of Jamaican-American descent and living in New York City. Together the artists are embarking on a two part exchange between Philadelphia and New York to develop a performance installation.

Original performance company Lightning Rod Special (Philadelphia, PA) will partner with Bengali director Shayok Misha Chowdhury (New York City, NY) in an artistic and administrative exchange to create a new theater piece entitled, SPEECH, a poisonous love letter to cancel culture. SPEECH wrestles with the problem of free speech in a racialized, still-colonial, instagramming America. In 2020 we find ourselves in the thick of a polarizing debate, particularly online, particularly on college campuses; on the one extreme, the First Amendment has become a rallying cry for an anxious white supremacy, and on the other, young people of color are illuminating a long, ongoing history of theft and violence in the name of “freedom.” SPEECH wades through cancel culture’s miasma revealing how polemical efforts to make spaces “safe” have, in some cases, reduced critical and artistic discourse to toxic performances of wokeness and self-congratulation. Through the co-creation of this work, Misha and LRS will engage an artistic and administrative exchange; Misha will steward LRS through his design-driven artistic process and LRS will share its administrative infrastructure and strategies with Misha.

Notch Theatre Companyand Ashley Teague (New York City, NY), The North Fork Valley Creative Coalition(Paonia, CO), and Jessica Kahkoska, freelance playwright (Boulder, CO) continue to collaborate to make the environmental theatre piece Wild Home.  As America faces the greatest loss to Public Lands in history, Wild Home uses theater to magnify real stories about wilderness areas under threat and the people who depend on them. The plays (based on community testimony) mobilize grassroots civic engagement in towns across the nation while documenting a community’s unique history and culture at a particularly urgent moment in that community’s journey.

Radical Evolution (Brooklyn, NY) will further and deepen a relationship with an amazing and diverse community of theatre-makers, most significantly the activist theatre company Jana Natya Manch (Janam), or The People’s Theatre Front (New Delhi, India). As Radical Evolution continues to analyze and understand how the ensemble can interact with our hyper-political age, a continued personal and artistic relationship with Janam will be a revolutionary experience for our ensemble as we explore how to build authentic methods of creating dialogue, action, and change with our communities. Radical Evolution has invited Janam to New York City for a week-long residency to share creative styles and methodologies to  explore how Janam’s history of leftist, activist street theatre can intersect with Radical Evolution’s devised, socially-engaged ensemble process, with the goal of exploring a possible, future, international project. The week will culminate with an in-process presentation at a one-day public symposium about leftist/activist theatre, centering on the work and history of Janam.

Rising Youth Theatre (Phoenix, AZ) received a NET Travel Grant in 2019 to support initial relationship building between Rising Youth Theatre, Safos Dance Theatre (Tucson, AZ), Border Arts Corridor (collectively known as the Las Fronterizas ensemble) (Douglas, AZ and Agua Prieta, SON, MX), and Paula Acevedo of Komos Teatro (Sacatepéquez, Guatemala). In the next phase of collaboration, Paula Acevedo will participate in our collaboration structure by inviting a youth artist to join as her partner for this collaborative exchange. Even as working across distance and multiple communities and cultural contexts is complex and can be challenging, we understand the value of multi-community exchange and collaboration, and have experienced firsthand the power of shared space in envisioning how artists can lift up stories of our border regions.

Serious Play (Northampton, MA) will bring singer-composer, sound artist, and musician Jonny Rodgers (Portland, OR) to create a soundscape for an upcoming, evolving production called Moving Water. To facilitate this sound exploration, Jonny’s time with Serious Play will be broken into two week-long residencies in 2020, which will focus on fine tuning the now progressed sonic exploration, staging elements with unique water environments will include rain, mist, reflections and a tank or trough, and rehearsals open to the community.

The peer panelists for the 2020-2021 NET/TEN Exchange Grants included: Viviana Vargas (BALISTIKAL), Abigail Vega (Independent Producer), Charlotte Farrell (CPR - Center for Performance Research), Ova Saopeng (TeAda Productions), and Kati Frazier (Playwright).

NET's Travel & Exchange Network (NET/TEN) grant program is supported in 2019-2020 by lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.