Public Works Prevails

Dallas Theater Center one of first four companies in nation to win big diversity grant

Dallas Theater Center one of first four companies in U.S. to win grant

Will Power teaching a Public Works Dallas workshop at Literacy Instruction for Texas
DTC playwright-in-residence Will Power teaches a Public Works Dallas workshop at Literacy Instruction for Texas. Photo by Kim Lesson

Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty has promised that Public Works, the community-focused production that incorporates outreach into its mission, would become a yearly tradition for the Tony-winning regional theater. Thanks to a new grant from Theatre Forward, an association of 19 nonprofit theaters across the Unites States, it looks like he'll get to keep that vow.

The Advancing Strong Theatre grant awarded each of its four inaugural recipients $50,000 to advance "equity, diversity, and inclusion goals for a targeted underserved and under-represented community."

DTC and Seattle Repertory Theatre will use their grants to continue presenting the Public Works program in their cities. The community engagement project brings together professional actors and members of the local community through workshops and outreach sessions, and culminates in a mainstage production that in Dallas last year featured more than 200 people.

The Public Works Dallas production of The Winter's Tale will take place August 31-September 2, 2018, at the Wyly Theatre. Full casting and ticketing information will be released at a later date.

The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis will further its outreach to local Native communities through its threefold Stories From the Drum. The project aims to create a series of community engagement workshops focused on amplifying Native voices, address barriers that prevent Native community members' access to Guthrie programming, and create a collaborative Native community performance.

In San Diego, The Old Globe will use the Theatre Forward grant to grow its Latinx Initiative. The theater will work with community partners in four local Latinx neighborhoods to provide access to arts engagement programs, ameliorating the discrepancy between the Latinx community (roughly a third of the county) and the Globe's audience.

The recipients of these highly competitive independent grants were chosen from a panel composed of Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Christopher Acebo, Yale Repertory Theatre's Kelvin Dinkins Jr., Center Theatre Group's Leslie Johnson, Milwaukee Rep's Jenny Toutant, and Walker Communications International president Donna Walker-Kuhne.

In addition, DTC's Public Works also recently received a grant for $90,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts. It's the largest NEA grant that the theater company has ever received.