Grantee: Alaska Native Heritage Center
This project identified and gathered new Alaska Native playwrights, provided them instruction and mentorship by noted professional North American Native theater artists and nurtured them through the process of creating stage-ready scripts.
This project provided a rare opportunity for Native teachers and mentors to develop a powerful playwriting curriculum, and for Alaska Native artist/novice playwriting candidates to benefit from the equivalent of two semesters of university theatre training coupled with individualized professional mentoring. The candidates were selected through a competitive process in which their proposal for a play was judged by a national reading panel. Participants attended an 8-day playwriting workshop at ANHC, where they received instruction on the fundamentals of writing for the stage from a national cohort of Native theatre and playright professionals. All learning post-workshop was experiential with writers writing and mentors reading and supplying feedback and advice based on their years of experience. Matched with a teacher-mentor, as members of a nurturing, supportive writing commmunity, the participants each wrote a full-length play over the seven months following the workshop. The resulting revisions for readings were used in public staged readings, furthering their professional experience and feedback opportunities. All the participants submitted a finished script at the end of the 12 month project, a powerful outcome given the lack of paid script development opportunities for Native playwrights.