CPT Announces 2020/2021 Premiere Fellowship Recipients

Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) announces
2020/2021 Premiere Fellowship Recipients

4 local artists receive financial award and Fellowship at CPT

Cleveland, OH—Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT)’s Executive Artistic Director Raymond Bobgan is proud to announce the selection of four Northeast Ohio-based artists as 2020/2021 Premiere Fellows, made possible by dedicated funding from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture (CAC).

The purpose of the Premiere Fellowship is to celebrate, reward, and support artists who have demonstrated excellence in and are committed to new play development. CPT defines excellence as artists creating transformative and impactful experiences for their intended communities. The award is for theatre artists from multiple disciplines, including acting, directing, choreography, scriptwriting, devising playwrighting, design, and stage management. Fellows receive a financial award, plus additional fees for projects, professional development, and access to space, equipment, and other important assets needed to create their work. Each Fellowship is designed in collaboration with the Fellows.

CPT’s 2020/2021 Premiere Fellows include Ananias J Dixon, Nina Domingue, Siaara Freeman, and Toby Vera Bercovici.

The four artists selected, from early-career to mid-career, have demonstrated excellence in their craft and a commitment to adventurous new theatre. We know from experience that substantial financial awards to individual artists have a massive impact on artists and have a rippled effect on the whole community. CPT has a great track record of supporting artists in project-based Fellowships that have served as important growth opportunities for both projects and individual artists. The Premiere Fellowship combines both of these aspects—a direct financial award and project-based support. The entire community benefits from investments like this, and we are grateful to Cuyahoga Arts & Culture for their support of artists and their commitment to bolstering Cleveland’s artistic vibrancy.”

—Raymond Bobgan, CPT Executive Artistic Director

CUYAHOGA ARTS & CULTURE (CAC) is one of the largest local public funders for arts and culture in the nation, helping hundreds of organizations in Cuyahoga County connect millions of people to cultural experiences each year. Since 2007, CAC has invested more than $207 million in 436 organizations both large and small, making our community a more vibrant place to live, work, and play. For more information, visit cacgrants.org.

About the 2020/2021 Premiere Fellows

ANANIAS J DIXON is a theatre teacher and coach at the Cleveland School of the Arts, Cleveland Play House, and Playhouse Square, and has also been a member of George Street Playhouse’s educational touring theatre. Theatre credits include Good at Heart, The Family Claxon, How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes (with 119 people you may or may not know), Rastus and Hattie (Cleveland Public Theatre); Skeleton Crew, Sunset Baby, The Effect, An Octoroon (Dobama Theatre); Detroit 67, Julius X (Karamu House); Black Angels Over Tuskegee (Actors Temple); John Henry (Cleveland Play House); and The Toilet (New Federal Theatre). TV/film credits include “Law and Order: SVU”, “Blue Bloods”, “Person of Interest”, “Boardwalk Empire”, “Upstairs”, “NYC 22”, “Antwone Fisher”, “Home_”, and “Criminal Activity”. Ananias was also part of Cleveland Play House’s New Ground Theatre Festival as the Assistant Director for The Nolan Williams Project as well as Assistant Director for The Royale under the direction of Robert Barry Fleming.

NINA DOMINGUE is a New Orleans native who is currently based in Cleveland. Her solo show The Absolutely Amazing and True Adventures of Miss Joan Southgate has been included on The Kilroy’s List 2020. She was recently named the Barbara Smith Playwright in Residence at Twelve Literary Arts and the Nord Family Foundation Playwriting Fellow and Catapult Artist at Cleveland Public Theatre. Nina appeared in several readings of new work since the quarantine, including shadow/land (directed by Candis Jones), The Oldest Town in Texas (directed by LaVerne Jones), Crack the Door (directed by India Nicole Burton), and Romeo and Juliet (directed by Justin Emeka). Her solo show Ya Mama! (directed by Nathan Henry) launched its tour at the Hollywood Fringe Festival following a run at Cleveland Public Theatre. Other credits include Paradise Blue (directed by Justin Emeka, Karamu House); Revolt, She Said. Revolt, Again (directed by Sarah E. Wansley, Dobama Theatre); Medea At 6 (Ensemble Theatre); It Hasn’t Always Been This Way by Ntozake Shange (directed by Diane McIntyre, Off Broadway). Critics say that Nina is “…a young Anna Deavere Smith” and watching her is “like a master class in acting.” Nina is a wife and mother of five, her greatest work to date.

SIAARA FREEMAN was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, where she is the current Lake Erie siren. She’s very proud of this even when others assume she’d feel otherwise. She began writing at seven years old and actively slamming at 15 for the National Brave New Voices Competition until she was 19. She then entered the adult scene, slamming and coaching for both Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio, as well as Detroit, Michigan. Siaara’s poems seek to offer an actual face to the urban experience instead of a caricature. Siaara insists that you see the people she sees, the stories she knows, whether you find them respectable or not. She has traveled the country, and she does not make fans; she makes friends. Siaara is a two-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, a finalist for the 2017 Button Poetry Chapbook Competition, a 2017 Bettering American Poet and Best of the Net Poet, a 2018 Winter Tangerine Chapbook Fellow, and a 2018 Poetry Foundation Incubator Fellow. Siaara is a four-year Pink Door Fellow and 2018 Pink Door Faculty member. She is a teaching artist for Center for Arts Inspired Learning and The Reaching Associate for the Anisfield-Wolf Sisterhood Project. She is the co-founder of Outsiders Queer Midwest Writers Retreat. She is the founder and curator of WUSGOOD.BLACK and the Black Hogwarts Poetry Workshop. She is also a 2020 Watering Hole Manuscript Fellow. Siaara is currently working on three manuscripts at the same time, which is also how she reads books; three at once (she is the third child of a third child of a third child after all). Her work appears in multiple publications. In her spare time, Siaara is attempting to defeat Lupus and grow her afro so tall God mistakes it for a microphone and speaks into her. She’s thinking about Toni Morrison right now.

TOBY VERA BERCOVICI is an Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Theatre & Dance at Cleveland State University. She is also a director whose work utilizes a rigorous authenticity, playful relationship with the elements of time, and uniquely feminist aesthetic to help tell important stories. She places special emphasis on the ethical, psychological, and physiological manifestations of intimacy, and she has contributed her knowledge in this arena to productions at Portland Stage and Asolo Repertory Theatre. She has created numerous dance-theatre adaptations of classic texts, including The *Annotated* Taming: Or, Out of the Saddle, Into the Dirt, and The Life and Death of Queen Margaret. As an adaptor, she weaves strong feminist counter-narratives into classic texts, and what she hopes will emerge is work that illuminates rather than glorifies and juxtaposes historical snapshots with examples of our current flawed but beautifully diverse present. Her work has been presented in NYC at Theater for the New City, the Looking Glass Theatre, the Circus Warehouse, New England by Silverthorne Theater, Hampshire Shakespeare Company, Pauline Productions, Real Live Theatre, Serious Play! Theatre Ensemble, and others. She has also served as assistant director at La Mama E.T.C. and Classic Stage Company. Prior to joining Cleveland State, she taught theatre at Colby College, Young Harris College, Holyoke Community College, American International College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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