Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT)’s Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan is proud to announce Siaara Freeman and Jeanne Madison as the 2021/2022 Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellows.
Inside of CPT’s commitment to cultivating new voices and providing new work development platforms for both experienced and emerging local artists, the theatre has initiated a series of special programs that focus on the individual artist. Fellowships include mentorship by CPT’s Executive Artistic Director and a financial award.
Through the Catapult Program, Siaara Freeman and Jeanne Madison will develop their individual plays. Siarra’s piece, Don’t Start no Séance, Won’t be no Séance, explores the legacy and lineage of Black Girl magic in its real form, as opposed to the concept it has been commercialized as. Jeanne’s piece, Black Bougie, focuses on an affluent African American family who, on the eve of their daughter’s cotillion, see their plans for the perfect debutante ball collide with a Black Lives Matter Protest over the murder of another Black teenager by the police.
The most extensive of CPT’s development programs, Catapult is intended to move projects that are outside the mainstream and align with CPT’s aesthetic from early to mid-development phase to being “production-ready.” Each process is customized and unique to the artist’s work. Projects may receive a series of readings, significant rehearsal time, and workshop productions.
About Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellowship
The Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellowship is a program for playwrights and creators from Northeast Ohio that offers opportunities to develop work through readings, staged readings, and workshop
productions. Now in its eight year, the Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellows program is funded by a multi-year grant from the Nord Family Foundation. This fellowship is awarded to playwrights and creators alongside participation in Catapult, a CPT New Play Development program, and is about striving to advance a project up to the point of being production-ready. Catapult is intended to engage with projects that are at different stages of creation—from early concept to completed script, and while developing their work, the artists play an active role in the life of the
About Siaara Freeman
Siaara Freeman is from Cleveland Ohio, where she is the current Lake Erie Siren and a teaching artist for Center for Arts-Inspired Learning and The Westside Community Center’s Sisterhood Project in conjunction with the Anisfield-Wolf Foundation. She recently filmed a commercial for the Cleveland Museum of Art and participated with #teamyellowbrickroad the Black Joy Experience. She is a 2020/2021 Premiere Fellow recipient with Cleveland Public Theater. She is a 2020 Watering Hole Manuscript Fellow, a 2018 Winter Tangerine Fellow, and a 2018 Poetry Foundation Incubator Fellow. Her work appears in, The Offing, BOAAT, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Josephine Quarterly, and elsewhere. She has toured both nationally and internationally. She is the co-founder of Outsiders Queer Midwest Writers Retreat. Chances are she’s by a lake, thinking about Toni Morrison, and talking to ghosts. In her spare time, she is growing her afro so tall God can use it for a microphone and speak through her. Her first full length manuscript, Urbanshee, is available for pre-order with Button Poetry.
About Jeanne Madison
Jeanne Madison is the 2021/2022 Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellow at Cleveland Public Theater. Her plays have been licensed to Karamu House, featured in The Dark Room, a play reading series at Cleveland Public Theater, and the Ensemble Theatre of Cleveland, where she is a member of the Stagewrights Unit.
Jeanne is a recipient of the Cleveland Scene Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Comedy for her work in Sassy Mamas by Celeste Bedford Walker at Karamu House. Favorite acting roles include pithy parts in the PBS broadcast of Greenwood, An American Dream Destroyed by Celeste Bedford Walker, produced and filmed at Karamu House; The Velocity of Autumn by Eric Coble at Karamu House; Picnic at Oberlin Theater Festival; The Oldest Profession at convergence-continuum, Talking With at Weathervane Playhouse, Left In Ink at Cleveland Public Theater, and the award-winning Cleveland Shakespeare Festival. She has also been in numerous films and TV commercials, including White Noise produced by Netflix, release date 2022.
Jeanne holds a BA with a Theater Arts minor an EMBA from Case Western Reserve University and recently completed Scene Study and Playwrighting Master Classes at Cleveland Play House.
After many years in corporate America, higher education fundraising and development, and leading her own fund development firm—during which she lived in Chicago, New York City, and Washington DC—she returned to Cleveland, Ohio, where she finds inspiration for her writing and acting in the richly diverse racial, cultural, and ethnic community of Greater Cleveland.
Past Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellowship Recipients
John Dayo-Aliya − 2020/2021 season − Our Lady of Common Sorrows
Nina Domingue – 2019/2020 season – The Absolutely Amazing and True Adventures of Ms. Joan Southgate
Lisa Langford – 2018/2019 season – How Blood Go
Cassandra West – 2016/2017 season – Mira La Mer
Melissa Crum – 2016/2017 season – Everything is Okay (and other helpful lies)
Caitlin Lewins – 2016/2017 season – Everything is Okay (and other helpful lies)
Eric Coble – 2016/2017 season – The Family Claxon
Greg Vovos – 2015/2016 season – Well Beings
Stuart Hoffman – 2015/2016 season – Canon Fodder
Gail Nyoka – 2015/2016 season – The Waters
Arwen Mitchell – 2014/2015 season – (Style Is) The Answer to Everything—A (Subversive) Women’s Programme (Across the Century)
Andrew Kramer – 2014/2015 season – Cut it Out
Juliette Regnier – 2013/2014 season – S Plays
About the Nord Family Foundation
The Nord Family Foundation, a private family foundation located in Amherst, Ohio, endeavors to build community through support of projects that bring opportunity to the disadvantaged, strengthen the bond of families, and improve the quality of people’s lives. www.nordff.org.