This year, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) began its New Play Development Program. And we’re beyond proud to announce that Cal Shakes has been chosen as one (of just five!) of the inaugural selections. As a recipient of Arts Endowment support for a NEA Distinguished New Play Development Project, Cal Shakes will receive $20,000 toward early development activities, such as read-throughs, public readings, and workshop productions, for Pastures of Heaven. Followers of this blog and of Cal Shakes probably already know about Pastures–it’s our latest New Works/New Communities project, an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s The Pastures of Heaven to be written by Octavio Solis and developed in partnership with San Francisco’s Word for Word Performing Arts Company.
Administered by Arena Stage, the New Play Development Program is intended to help the nation’s nonprofit theaters bring more new plays to full production. For us that means more workshops, more research trips, and more than two years of communication between our two very different theater companies, and urban and rural Northern Californians. Our artists will continue to talk to their artists, our playwright will continue to talk to the communities, and, in 2010, these stories of fragile farm life in Salinas Valley will premiere on the California Shakespeare Theater Main Stage, directed by Jonathan Moscone.