Clubbed Thumb (Maria Striar, Producing Artistic Director; Diana Maxine Konopka, Associate Director) and Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director; Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) today announced the launch of SuperLab, an innovative new play development program. A series of collaboratively curated play laboratories, SuperLab will support the creation of bold, risk-taking new works by living American Playwrights. Supported by funds granted to Clubbed Thumb by Metlife/Theatre Communications Group's A-ha! Program, created to foster creative thinking and action among its member theaters, these two like-minded companies will join forces to produce a six-play development lab. Clubbed Thumb and Playwrights Horizons, who share a commitment to advancing distinctive new voices, will bridge a gap between downtown and uptown theater sensibilities, methodologies and artist rosters, expanding the range of experience and opportunity for all.
Clubbed Thumb's Producing Artistic Director Maria Striar says: "I proposed this program to TCG out of a desire to do more to get our artists and their work to broader audiences, and to weave some collaborative tissue between Clubbed Thumb and larger organizations for our mutual benefit. I like to think that Clubbed Thumb has been an incubator for some of the most interesting theater careers out there, and Playwrights Horizons has given many of them their next home. Adam Greenfield (Playwrights Horizons' Director of New Play Development) and I have been talking about plays for years, so this is an organic partnership."
Over the course of the 2010-2011 theater season, Striar and Greenfield will work together to identify six promising new in-progress works to be fully supported by a malleable, artist-driven week-long lab to take place monthly from November, through April.
"There is a perceived disconnect between the tastes and practices of larger and smaller theater companies," Greenfield says. "But a look into the programming of Clubbed Thumb and Playwrights Horizons reveals again and again that we have a great deal in common. " Among the expansive roster of artists who have found a home at both theaters are playwrights Sarah Ruhl, JorDan Harrison, Adam Bock, Rinne Groff, Ann Marie Healy, Anne Washburn and Gregory Moss; directors Pam MacKinnon, Trip Cullman and Anne Kauffman; actors Christina Kirk, Heidi Schreck and Tracee Chimo; and designers Louisa Thompson, Mark Barton, Leah Gelpe, David Zinn and David Korins.
Clubbed Thumb commissions, develops, and produces funny, strange, and provocative new plays by living American writers. Since its founding in 1996, the company has earned four Obie Awards and presented plays in every form of development, including over 75 full productions. Clubbed Thumb is a groundbreaker, with a remarkable track record for finding emerging artists and producing innovative new plays; a matchmaker, cultivating new relationships through our development programs and productions; and an incubator, nurturing artists and their work, from first read-through to fully mounted production. Clubbed Thumb is committed to providing opportunities for women, and to improving the quantity and quality of women's roles in dramatic literature. In May 2010, Artistic Director Maria Striar was honored with a first-ever Lilly Award for Artistic Directorship, citing her work as a "fierce champion of new works and new writers... who has "helped launch and/or develop the careers" of scores of playwrights including Adam Bock, Ann Marie Healy, Bridget Carpenter, Anne Washburn, Erin Courtney, Gina Gionfriddo, JorDan Harrison, Gregory Moss, Lisa D'Amour, Rinne Groff, Sarah Ruhl and Sheila Callaghan. Writers premiered by Clubbed Thumb have received the following accolades: a MacArthur Award; a Tony Award; several Susan Smith Blackburn Prizes, Whiting and Obie Awards; the Pulitzer short-list; the Rosenthal New Play Prize; the Kesselring Award, the National Theatre Critic's Steinberg Citation; and grants, commissions and fellowships including those from the MAP Fund, Princess Grace, Jerome, McKnight, NYSCA and NEA/TCG.