Thursday, December 19, 2013

A.R.T. Receives Substantial National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Grant to Support "Witness Uganda"

Witness Uganda

This is my second Blog post today concerning the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University.  As if rave reviews and sold out performances for the current show, "The Heart of Robin Hood," were not enough, there is breaking news I am delighted to share.

The next show on the docket at the A.R.T. will be the World Premiere of "Witness Uganda."  The NEA has just announced a grant of $85,000 in support of this ground-breaking production.  See details below from the A.R.T. Press Release sent our just minutes ago.

"Witness Uganda" will be presented at the A.R.T. from February 4, 2014 through March 16, 2014.  Mark your calendars now, so it promises to be another one of the over which people will be fighting tickets.
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American Repertory Theater at Harvard University
Receives National Endowment for the Arts Art Works Grant
to Support Witness Uganda

Grant One of 895 NEA Art Works Grants Funded Nationwide

Cambridge, MA — National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa announced last week that the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University (A.R.T.) is one of 895 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant.  The A.R.T. is recommended for $85,000 to support the world premiere production of Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews’ world premiere musical Witness Uganda, directed by A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus.

Acting Chairman Shigekawa said, "The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States. Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement, or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable experiences for the public to engage with the arts."

A.R.T. Managing Director Billy Russo commented: “We are very honored by the recognition from the N.E.A. for this incredibly generous support of Witness Uganda. As we begin rehearsals next week, such a strong vote of confidence in this production is inspiring.” 

Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence: public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancing the livability of communities through the arts.  The NEA received 1,528 eligible Art Works applications, requesting more than $75 million in funding.   Of those applications, 895 are recommended for grants for a total of $ 23.4 million. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at

About Witness Uganda:
When Griffin, a young man from New York City volunteers for a project in Uganda, he finds himself on a journey that will change his life forever. Inspired by a true story, this rousing new musical staged by Tony-Award-winning director and A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus, exposes the challenges confronted by American aid workers around the world and explores the question: “Is changing the world possible?”
Witness Uganda is the recipient of the 2012 Richard Rodgers Award for Musical Theater, ASCAP’s Dean Kay Award, ASCAP’s Harold Adamson Award, and a grant from Conde Nast c/o Summit Series. It was workshopped at Disney/ASCAP (hosted by composer Stephen Schwartz) and at the Vineyard Arts Project/Art Farm.  It has been performed in concert around the world and at events including Summit Series in Lake Tahoe, The Lido Investment Symposium in Beverly Hills, The Rattlestick Theatre New Play Festival in New York City, and Patrick’s Orphanage in Ndejje, Uganda.

About the A.R.T.:
The American Repertory Theater at Harvard University is a leading force in the American theater, producing groundbreaking work in Cambridge and beyond. The A.R.T. was founded in 1980 by Robert Brustein, who served as Artistic Director until 2002, when he was succeeded by Robert Woodruff. Diane Paulus began her tenure in 2008, and has since advanced the A.R.T.’s core mission to expand the boundaries of theater by programming events that immerse audiences in transformative theatrical experiences.

Throughout its history, the A.R.T. has been honored with many distinguished awards, including consecutive Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical for Pippin (2013) and The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess (2012), both of which Paulus directed, a Pulitzer Prize, a Jujamcyn Prize for outstanding contribution to the development of creative talent, the Tony Award for Best Regional Theater, and numerous Elliot Norton and I.R.N.E. Awards.

The A.R.T. engages with artists around the country and the world to investigate new ways in which to develop and create work. It is currently developing a number of multi-year projects, including the Civil War Project, an initiative that will culminate in the staging of three new works in the 2014/15 season. Under Paulus’s leadership, the A.R.T.’s club theater, OBERON, has become an incubator for local and emerging artists and has attracted national attention for its innovative programming and business models.

As the professional theater on the campus of Harvard University, the A.R.T. catalyzes discourse, interdisciplinary collaboration, and creative exchange among a wide range of academic departments and institutions, students and faculty, acting as a conduit between its community of artists and the university. A.R.T. artists also teach courses in directing, dramatic literature, acting, voice, design, and dramaturgy. The A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training, which is run in partnership with the Moscow Art Theater School, offers graduate-level training in acting, dramaturgy, and voice.

Dedicated to making great theater accessible, the A.R.T. actively engages more than 5,000 community members and local students annually in project-based partnerships, workshops, conversations with artists, and other enrichment activities both at the theater and across the Greater Boston area.

Through all of these initiatives, the A.R.T. is dedicated to producing world-class performances in which the audience is central to the theatrical experience.

The Loeb Drama Center, located at 64 Brattle Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge, is fully accessible.

Visit for more information.

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