The Capital Stage Company, now in its third year, announced today the receipt of a two-year, $40,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation in support of its new Playwright’s Revolution project.
The playwright's project is set to debut in the spring of 2008. It is expected to spawn a series of readings and workshops, with the ultimate goal of creating plays for the company to produce.
“It’s been one of our goals to get new original work on our stage,” says Capital Stage managing director Peter Mohrmann. “It really comes down to, Where can we get some money to support artists in Northern California who we’d like to work with?”
Other local theaters already have programs that nurture new writers and works, including River Stage, the B Street Theatre, the Sacramento Theatre Company and Foothill Theatre, Mohrmann says.
“The way for us to step up with the other companies is to be a place that is germinating our pieces,” Mohrmann says.
Certainly, the Irvine grant is an added boost to the growing company, which started the year strongly with its successful staging of John Patrick Shaley’s political farce “Dirty Story.” The production starred Capital Stage's artistic director Stephanie Gularte (pictured between Timothy Orr and Harry Harris). "Dirty Story" showed a marked increase in audience support for a season-opening production, and subscription sales are on the upswing, as well.
Mohrmann says the company had planned to pursue a Playwright’s Revolution project whether or not it received any funding. But getting the initiative off the ground - and some interesting playwrights involved - should now be easier.
In an unrelated gift, the Irvine Foundation recently awarded $4.1 million in grants to be divided among 15 Central Valley arts organizations, including five in the Sacramento area. They are the Sacramento Philharmonic, the Sacramento Ballet and the Crocker Art Museum, which is to each receive $325,000; the Sacramento Opera, a $250,000 grant; and the Magic Circle Theatre of Roseville, a $200,000 grant. The $1.4 million in grant money is to be used over a three-year period.