Twenty-five local theater companies and stage artists have been selected as recipients of performance project grants from the Manbites Dog Theater Fund. A total of $38,150 will be awarded to a group from Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Wake counties, ranging from long-established companies such as Durham Savoyards and Burning Coal Theatre Company to emerging artists such as Ren Cleveland, Johanna Rose Burwell, and Michele Okoh.
The grants represent a second life as a funding organization for Manbites Dog Theater, formerly an independent theater producer and venue. Founded by Jeff Storer and Ed Hunt in 1987, the venue and producing company closed in June 2018.
According to Hunt, the company received “close to thirty applicants and inquiries” after posting a call for proposals on their website in May. Hunt estimates that the grants, which range from $200 to $2,500, will fund work by more than 450 artists affiliated with the recipients, and that the works created will be experienced by an estimated total audience of 14,000 over the coming year.
The recipients are:
• Bartlett Theater for a production of Alan Ayckbourn’s comedic trilogy The Norman Conquests
• Torry Bend for a new original puppetry work, Dreaming
• The Bipeds for a new original multidisciplinary work on death, Bury the Light
• Ian Bowater and Paul Dubliner for their original improvised theater series, Paul and Ian’s One-Man Show
• Bulldog Ensemble Theater for Orange Light, a new play by Raleigh-based playwright Howard Craft on the 1991 Imperial Foods processing plant fire in Hamlet, North Carolina
• Burning Coal Theatre Company for a site-specific production of an immigrant drama, The Container
• Ren Cleveland for a new adaptation of Sherlock Holmes stories, 221-B Baker Street, Reimagined
• Delta Boys Theater Company for a local restaging of the company-created Year of the Monkey following its June premiere in New York
• The Durham Savoyards for a new staging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, or Bunthorne’s Bride
• Forest Moon Theater for a production of Steel Magnolias
• Full Nelson Theater for Carolyn Adams, a new play by Triangle playwright Mark Cornell
• Yvette Holder for Sips & Scripts, a staged reading series showcasing new works by North Carolina playwrights
• JaMeeka Holloway-Burrell for the area premiere of a two-woman show Single Black Female
• Honest Pint Theatre Company for the area premiere of a hip-hop Shakespeare play, The Bomb-itty of Errors
• JoRose (Johanna Rose Burwell) for an original movement-based theater piece, ConscioUs Culture
• Debra Kaufman for a new work by women playwrights, Illuminated Dresses
• Soapbox Audio Collective/Tamara Kissane for The New Colossus Audio Drama, a podcast version of Kissane’s 2016 adaptation of The Seagull
• MOJOAA Performing Arts Company for the world premiere of Smoked, a play by Thomas Brazzle
• OdysseyStage for Suffragist Project, an original work celebrating the one-hundredth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.
• Michele Okoh for You Wouldn’t Expect, a work set in North Carolina’s state eugenics department in the 1960s
• Pittsboro Youth Theater/Social Justice Theater of the Carolinas for a tour of their April production of columbinus in four regional venues
• Rebecca Fox and Rebecca Jackson-Artis for a remount of The Rebecca Show: What If I’m the Becky, after its July production at the Women’s Theatre Festival
• See Saw Projects for Prison Theatre Workshops, a series of devised theater workshops at Wake Corrections Center
• Solace Theatre for Memoriam: An Adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, an original musical re-imagining of the classic horror tale
• Women’s Theatre Festival for Waters Rise, a world-premiere play by Justine Wiesinger