Nashville Repertory Theatre is proud to announce that Christopher Durang will join the Ingram New Works Project as the Ingram New Works Playwriting Fellow for the 2016-17 season.
“I have been a fan of Christopher Durang’s since I was in school and saw a student production of Beyond Therapy. So funny, so deranged,” says Nashville Rep’s Producing Artistic Director René D. Copeland. “His unique and sharp comic voice has influenced a generation of theatre artists and goers, and ever since the establishment of the Ingram Fellowship he has been on my short list. I’m just a little breathless that he has accepted our fellowship this year, and I am thrilled to get to share him with Nashville as he works on a new play that will be a part of our Ingram Festival next May.”
Each season, Nashville Rep welcomes four emerging playwrights and one established playwright into its Ingram New Works Project. The emerging playwrights make up the Ingram New Works Lab, directed by Nashville Rep’s Playwright-in-Residence Nate Eppler, and the established playwright serves as the Ingram Playwriting Fellow.
The Fellow joins the Lab playwrights for Playwrights Week in January, helping critique and shape their work, and serving as a mentor for the early career playwrights. "Writing can be very lonely,” says Christopher Durang. “I find it helpful to be around a table with other writers, who can give feedback to one another. Thus the Ingram New Works Fellowship easily fits into helping writers as they move along on a play."
Beyond being an opportunity to connect the Lab Playwrights and the Fellow, Playwrights Week is the first chance Nashville audiences will get to connect with this season’s playwrights. As part of this season’s Playwrights Week, Nashville Rep will host a REPaloud staged reading of Durang’s Beyond Therapy, one of the plays that brought national acclaim to Durang’s work. The event will take place Saturday, January 14 at OZ Arts Nashville.
“Nashville is a remarkable place to bring new stories to life. This is a dream for a playwright. The artists supporting you are extraordinary and there is a city-wide ever-growing appetite for new works. And now we get to bring an artist like Christopher Durang into the fold,” says Nashville Rep’s Playwright-in-Residence Nate Eppler. “He was my very first favorite playwright. I vividly remember the first time I read one of his plays; total comic absurdity wrapped around real emotion, real anxiety, real feelings. He absolutely exploded my ideas of what a play was supposed to be. It was the first time I really thought about maybe being a playwright. And now Christopher Durang wants to come to Nashville and build a play here. How amazing is that?”
Ingram New Works Fellow
Christopher Durang’s plays include A History of the American Film (Tony nomination, Best Book of a Musical), The Actor’s Nightmare, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (Obie Award, Off-Broadway run, 1981-83), Beyond Therapy (on Broadway in 1982), Baby With the Bathwater (Playwrights Horizons, 1983), The Marriage of Bette and Boo (Public Theater, 1985; Obie Award, Dramatists Guild Hull Warriner Award), Laughing Wild (Playwrights Horizons, 1987), and Durang Durang (an evening of six plays at Manhattan Theatre Club, 1994, including the Tennessee Williams parody For Whom The Southern Belle Tolls). He has an MFA from the Yale School of Drama. Early in his career, he won a Guggenheim, a Rockefeller, the CBS Playwriting Fellowship, the Lecompte du Nouy Foundation grant, and the Kenyon Festival Theatre Playwriting Prize. In 1995 he won the prestigious three-year Lila Wallace Readers Digest Award; as part of his grant, he ran a writing workshop for adult children of alcoholics. Durang served as co-chair with Marsha Norman of the Playwriting Program at the Juilliard School in Manhattan until 2016. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild Council.stic associate at Goodman Theatre in Chicago and is an associate professor of playwriting and screenwriting at Northwestern University as part of its MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage program.