Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« More About Michael Hussein Gre... | Leeanimal Mauls the Competitio... »

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Steppenwolf Receives $1 Million Grant

posted by on October 16 at 12:01 PM

Steppenwolf Theatre Company is to receive $1.075 million over five years from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation to create programs aimed at younger audiences and foster more partnerships with other stage troupes.

The rest of the winners are:

Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation (New York, NY), to explore a new model of online patron engagement for its celebration of African-American heritage through modern dance.

Center Theatre Group (Los Angeles, CA), to explore new subscription and producing models resonant with young audiences.

Cunningham Dance Foundation (New York, NY), to transition to a post-founder legacy period as it furthers the work of legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham.

Jacob’s Pillow Dance (Becket, MA), to extend its impact as the longest-running dance festival in the United States by using technology to become a national resource and model.

Misnomer Dance Theater (New York, NY), to develop new relationships between technology and dance that build on its work as a pioneer in online expression and marketing.

National Black Arts Festival (Atlanta, GA), a year-round cultural celebration of the contributions of artists of African descent, to expand the audience online for the art and performance work of education pertaining to Africa and the African Diaspora.

Ping Chong & Company (New York, NY), to explore a new financial model by franchising a community-organizing experimental theatre project.

SITI Company (New York, NY), to establish this ensemble-based theater company as a resident New York City organization with relevant partnerships and support.

Steppenwolf Theatre Company, (Chicago, IL), to explore new modes of producing and engaging young audiences, including partnerships with other arts groups and universities.

The Wooster Group (New York, NY), to explore a new producing model, pursue partnerships, and take on a new educational role in contemporary theatre.

Those are mostly great choices: this city’s best choreographers have been to Jacob’s Pillow, Center Theater Group produced the world premiere of my beloved Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson, the Wooster Group is a great root for companies like Elevator Repair Service, Merce Cunningham is a Seattle dance hero, etc.

(SITI company is played. But I’ve got beef with the legacy of Anne Bogart—she’s very pleasant, very intelligent, very talented. But Viewpoints is her Frankenstein’s monster, and it’s been the shield and excuse for a mountain of bad theater.)

Anyway: Congratulations, everyone. And three cheers for crazy, rich, dead Doris Duke (who accidentally killed her interior decorator and legally adopted an adult Hare Krishna, believing she was the biological reincarnation of her dead infant).

RSS icon Comments


You can't be the Center Theatre Group. You have to be either the Centre Theatre Group or the Center Theater Group. It's like mixing fibres.

Posted by Simac | October 16, 2008 12:57 PM

$1 million at a time when individual ticket sales are likely to drop off and individual giving is likely to plummet would be very nice. Yay Doris Duke...

Posted by Julie in Chicago | October 16, 2008 1:05 PM

As soon as I realized this was not a post about the rock band Steppenwolf, I skipped it entirely.

...just sayin'.

Posted by Juris | October 16, 2008 1:45 PM

Brendan --

I respectfully, but strongly, disagree with you on SITI Company. They are a company that has one of the most rigorous work ethics I've ever experienced in the theatre (full disclosure: I train with the company and it has changed how I view the art of theatre). Sometimes their work can be dense and hard for the "general public" to enter ("Death and the Ploughman" for instance), but others ("Hotel Cassiopeia" or "Radio Macbeth") are gorgeous explorations of what theatre can be.

Yes, the Viewpoints get abused by people who want to be as cutting edge as SITI Company is without being willing to do the work that they do to achieve their art. But then look at what lazy actors have been doing to the work of Stanislavsky, Meisner or Stella Adler. It's not the tool, it's how you use it.

Posted by Al | October 16, 2008 2:09 PM

Sounds like you've drunk the Kool-Aid, Al. "Death and the Ploughman" wasn't dense or difficult—it was a vapid application of a rehearsal technique onto an old text. I saw it on tour here in Seattle. It's what sealed the deal for me against SITI.

I'm sure you all work very hard, but a good work ethic does not make good theater.

There's a place in this world for Viewpoints, but it's much, much smaller than the space it currently occupies on the theater landscape. I'm just doing my small part to prune it back.

Posted by Brendan Kiley | October 16, 2008 2:26 PM

Steppenwolf earned the money. 'August: Osage County' justified their existence forever. What a play, what a play.

Posted by stb | October 16, 2008 5:09 PM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.