On the first day of Black History Month, National Queer Theater and the Dramatists Guild announced the New Visions Fellowship, a yearlong fellowship for Black Trans and Gender Nonconforming (TGNC) playwrights.
In recognizing the need for greater inclusion and representation in the American theatre, the New Visions Fellowship aims to foster the talents of two Black, Trans, and Gender Nonconforming playwrights in the early stages of their careers. Over the course of a year, mentors will guide each fellow through the development of a play, musical, or other performance experience. Along the way, fellows will have the opportunity to participate in professional development sessions covering a wide range of artistic and business topics. They will also receive access to Dramatists Guild contracts, business advice, and career services to aid them in protecting both the artistic and economic integrity of their work. In addition, selected fellows will receive an award of $5,000, a three-year complimentary Guild membership, and a professionally cast and directed reading of their work at the end of the program.
“Black Trans and Gender Nonconforming writers have been marginalized in American theatre, and in society at large. The New Visions Fellowship aims to support Trans writers while fostering positive representation for Trans people through the arts,” said Adam Odsess-Rubin, Artistic Director of National Queer Theater.
Joining the New Visions Fellowship in its inaugural year are three heavyweights of the American stage. Playwright Roger Q. Mason (Lavender Man, The White Dress) will serve as a primary mentor to the fellows. Tony Award-winning writer Lisa Kron (Fun Home) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife) will lead specialized masterclasses.
“When my community calls me in need, I always answer,” Roger Q. Mason said. “And right now we Black Trans and Gender nonconforming theatre makers are in need. We need each other, a community of our peers and mentors, as possibility models for how to build work for our healing theatre and how to navigate the professional labyrinth of our business. As mentor, I’m hoping to impart the lessons I’ve learned over the past 15 years through the School of Hard Knocks onto two emerging bright lights of queer playwriting. There are so many skills, notions, methods of playmaking, journeys to self love, and beliefs in process and personhood that I wish I’d known sooner. If I can do anything for our mentees, I can inspire them – artistically and professionally – to embrace, cultivate, and promenade the majesty of their best selves, on the page and off.”
“The overall goal of the Dramatists Guild is to end the exploitation of the American dramatist in the American theatre,” said Dramatists Guild Managing Director Emmanuel Wilson. “We educate and empower playwrights, composers, lyricists, librettists so they can protect their economic and intellectual property interests. Providing professional development to the fellows of New Visions is a continuation of our 100 year mission, and the unique, idiosyncratic voices of the Trans and Non-Binary artists who write for the theatre must be cultivated and protected.”
Applications for the New Visions Fellowship will be accepted via the National Queer Theater website until March 5 at 6pm EST. Any Black playwrights who identify as Trans or Gender Nonconforming are welcome to apply. All others are encouraged to spread the word and donate to National Queer Theater. National Queer Theater is committed to investing in the lives and careers of Black TGNC playwrights. All donations contribute to this goal.
To learn more about the New Visions Fellowship, visit nationalqueertheater.org/new-visions-fellowship.