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Jeremy O. Harris and Bushwick Starr Announce Coronavirus Relief Fund for Playwrights

If you identify as a playwright, you can apply for a $500 grant that comes without restriction.

Jeremy O. Harris
(© Tricia Baron)

Slave Play dramatist Jeremy O. Harris and the Brooklyn-based Bushwick Starr have teamed up to provide 152 playwrights with $500 financial relief grants as the coronavirus pandemic rages on.

The grant will distribute these unrestricted cash awards directly to U.S.-based playwrights, regardless of employment and/or immigration status. Playwrights, or writers of live performance, can be in any stage of practice in their career, and grantees will be chosen through a random lottery. Applicants are asked to submit a piece of writing to demonstrate eligibility; shorter plays and texts are accepted as long as it constitutes or translates into an evening of performance.

Applications will be accepted beginning Friday, May 29, at 3pm ET and will remain open until the Bushwick Starr receives 1,500 submissions. Grants will be paid via electronic fund transfer or check no later than Monday, June 15.

Harris's full statement on the "Pet Project Grant" is as follows:

"Recently while watching our country's commander in chief, he proclaimed that funding The Kennedy Center's relief plan was the left's attempt at bolstering their "pet project". As a life-long theatre lover and maker, the thought that the livelihoods of theatre artists could be boiled down to a simple pet project filled me with the type of rage I rarely feel, and furthermore filled me with anxiety for the well being of many of my peers during this dark time. As many playwrights I know were supposed to open their first show, begin their first residency, enter or leave graduate studies, or simply be focusing on writing their second draft, many were paralyzed with fears for their health, the well being of their families, or how they might stock their refrigerator with groceries. After a year of surprising abundance from a mix of luck and dedication to the "pet project" of being a playwright, I thought it prudent to do my part to aid in some small way with the relief our government deems unnecessary for our community. So to that end, in order to make the most impact for the most people, I wanted to be able to give 500 dollars to as many playwrights as I could from the licensing fees and publishing royalties of my pet project, Slave Play, moreover I wanted the process of distribution to be as easy as possible with the hope and trust that those who were most in need would be allowed the chance to benefit first. I'm also thankful that I was able to do this with the facilitation of a small theatre who has always believed in the power of the "pet project", The Bushwick Starr, and hope that if this inspires others they will send more funds their way so that as many playwrights as possible can maybe feel relief so many desperately need at this time."

Click here to see the grant application.


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