Playwright Saracho wins Sundance Theatre Lab slot

Multi talented and honored Tanya Saracho

IT’S PROBABLY SAFE TO SAY that Mexican-born, Chicago-based playwright Tanya Saracho has emerged. She adds another impressive notch to her professional belt by being selected as a member of the 2012 Theatre Lab at Sundance Institute.

Saracho is in residence through July working on her play Song for the Disappeared, directed by Octavio Solis. It continues the theme of crime cartels in Mexico introduced in El Nogalar and is the second piece in her planned “Border Trilogy.”

Among her honors and activities: Named “Best New Playwright of 2010” by Chicago Magazine; a Goodman Theatre Fellow at the Ellen Stone Belic Institute for the Study of Women and Gender in the Arts and Media at Columbia College; founder of the Ñ Project; producer and director of ALTA and founder and former Artistic Director of Teatro Luna.

Saracho was named one of nine national Latino “Luminarios” by Café magazine and given the first “Revolucionario” Award in Theater by the National Museum of Mexican Art.

She grew up in Mexico and in the Texas border town of McAllen. 

DESPITE THE NEGATIVE HEADLINES, there are some signs of bipartisan agreement in Washington these days. With the help of Illinois congressional leaders of both parties, Writers’ Theatre of Glencoe has received a $100,000 “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

No, it’s not earmarked toward a production of Thornton Wilder’s chestnut.  The money will help with the design phase of Writers’ planned new venue under the auspices of 2011 MacArthur “genius” grant winner, architect Jeanne Gang and Studio Gang.

A PRESTIGIOUS AWARD — DePaul University’s 2012 Claire and Samuel Edes Shannon MateskyFoundation Prize for Emerging Artists – goes to solo artist Shannon Matesky.  She will use the $30,000 award to develop a national tour of her show, She Think She Grown, alongside fellow artist Lama Jordan, who is featured in the spoken-word documentary Louder Than a Bomb.

The two plan to work with young people in communities across the country on the challenges facing the next generation, and Matesky also plans to research her next piece, focusing on homelessness in America, If I Eat, Then You Eat.

The prize is given annually to a recent alumnus/a in music or theater.

VICTORY GARDENS THEATER announces the line-up for its third annual IGNITION Festival, showcasing emerging and established playwrights of color in a series of staged readings.

(Two plays developed in the first year, Kristoffer Diaz’s The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity and Michael Golamco’s Year Zero, both enjoyed subsequent full productions at VG and subsequent runs in New York.)

This year’s festival, July 29-August 5, features readings of Martin Zimmerman’s Seven Spots on the Sun; Lauren Yee’s Samsara; A. Rey Pamatmat’s The Shotgun Message; Kirsten Greenidge’s The Curious Walk of the Salamander; and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriate.

Additionally, Marcus Gardley, selected as IGNITION’S playwright-in-residence, will research his upcoming play, Chicago is Burning.

Ron HirsenPOLARITY ENSEMBLE THEATRE announces Ron Hirsen’s play as the winner of its annual “Dionysos Cup Festival” of new work. 

Hirsen’s Land Where My Fathers Died, about a Rogers Park school teacher who finds an elderly Native American from the Potawatomi reservation camped on her front lawn, which happens to be his ancestral home, took the top honors.

Meantime, two previous entrants in the festival receive full productions later this summer. Polarity itself, in association with Azusa Productions produces David Alex’s Adrift, about fathers, sons, and post-traumatic stress, at the Greenhouse Theater Center July 26-August 26 under Maggie Speers’ direction. Nothing Special Productions, an Elgin-based troupe, brings Josh Nordmark’s Savage Land, featuring love and adventure against a backdrop of 18th-century colonialism, to the Den Theatre in Wicker Park.

THIRSTY? The Drinking & Writing Theater celebrates ten years of doing what they do best July 20-22, with a series of events at their home base in the Haymarket Pub & Brewery and on a Western Avenue pub crawl. Libations and literature will flow liberally in this brainchild of Neo-Futurists Sean Benjamin and Steve Mosqueda.

Information and tickets available online.

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