Film Festivals
By Sundance Film Festival
Jan 26, 2006, 08:53

Salt Lake City, UT & Ucross, WY -– The Sundance Institute Theatre Program and the Ucross Foundation of Wyoming today announced the seventh season of their collaborative project, THE SUNDANCE PLAYWRIGHTS RETREAT AT THE UCROSS FOUNDATION. This residency program offers five playwrights and one composer three weeks of focused time and the freedom to explore their creativity at an idyllic working ranch in Wyoming. The Sundance Institute Theatre Program and the Ucross Foundation of Wyoming have collectively supported the work of writers and other artists for nearly a half a century. The Sundance Playwrights Retreat at the Ucross Foundation runs February 6–24, 2006.

Invited to participate in the 2006 program are playwrights David Adjmi, Nilo Cruz, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Hilly Hicks, Kathleen Tolan and composer Jenny Giering. The artists will receive full lodging and meals at the ranch in addition to all transportation for the duration of the three-week retreat. The participating artists are selected and invited by Philip Himberg, Sundance Theatre Program Producing Artistic Director. Mame Hunt, a staff dramaturg for the Theatre Program, will be in residence as a creative advisor at Ucross.

“The artists in this seventh annual Ucross/Sundance Theatre collaboration reflect Sundance’s commitment to supporting playwrights and theatre composers at different stages in their careers,” remarked Mr. Himberg. “Our ongoing relationship with the esteemed Ucross Foundation is a vital partnership for Sundance Institute. While our July Theatre Lab in Utah and December Lab at White Oak in Florida focus on rehearsal time with actors, the Ucross residency offers writers a quiet environment in which to begin or refine new work. This fits in perfectly with Sundance’s vision for play development, which looks to support artists at various steps in their writing process.” Projects that began their life at the Sundance Playwrights Retreat at the Ucross Foundation continue to open to resounding success at theatres across the country. Doug Wright’s I AM MY OWN WIFE won both the Pulitzer and Tony Awards in 2004, and Adam Guettel and Craig Lucas’ musical THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA continues its successful run at Lincoln Center Theatre.

Sharon Dynak, Executive Director of the Ucross Foundation, said, “We have come to look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the arrival of the Sundance playwrights each February, the perfect beginning of our residency year. As both organizations celebrate their 25th anniversaries in 2006, our partnership seems especially fitting. We are honored to collaborate with Sundance’s exceptional artistic staff and to have the privilege of supporting such gifted artists in their creative work.”


David Adjmi’s
work has been seen at the Cherry Lane Theatre, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Empty Space, La Mama, Etc., Lincoln Center, MCC Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, RSC (New Works 2005) among others. He was a 2005 Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts where he worked with Paula Vogel, as well as an international playwright-in-residence at the Royal Court where his one act play ELECTIVE AFFINITIES was commissioned and produced. STRANGE ATTRACTORS was produced or developed at over ten theatres in the U.S. and abroad. In 2005 David completed drafts of five new plays; they include THE EVILDOERS (Jon Robin Baitz Grant for New Writing 2005), STUNNING (Sundance Finalist), GUY DENIRO, CALIGULA and 3C (MCC roundtable reading; Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Hourglass Group Retreat.) Future projects include WASHINGTON SQUARE (selected for 2006 Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab) and RED ELVIS.

Nilo Cruz won the 2003 Pulitzer Prize and the American Theatre Critics Association/Steinberg Award for Best New Play for ANNA IN THE TROPICS. His plays have been produced in the U.S. and internationally. ANNA IN THE TROPICS premiered at New Theatre in Miami and was later produced by the Mc Carter Theatre and on Broadway (Tony nomination) with subsequent productions in London, Minsk, Madrid and more than 20 theatres throughout he states. His newest play, BEAUTY OF THE FATHER, was commissioned by South Coast Repertory and copremiered in 2004 at Seattle Repertory Theatre and New Theatre, and will be produced at the Manhattan Theatre Club. His other plays include LORCA IN A GREEN DRESS, TWO SISTERS AND A PIANO, A BICYCLE COUNTRY, DANCING ON HER KNEES, NIGHT TRAIN TO BOLINA and A PARK IN OUR HOUSE. Mr. Cruz has been an artist-inresidence at McCarter Theatre and The Public Theatre.

Jenny Giering, a composer, singer and pianist, has received numerous awards for musical composition including the 2001 Constance Klinsky Prize for Excellence in the Composition of Musical Theater, a Meet the Composer grant and the 2000 Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award. She also received the National Art Song Award and the 2005 National Music Theatre Network Director’s Choice Award for her musical THE MISTRESS CYCLE, written with bookwriter/lyricist Beth Blatt. THE MISTRESS CYCLE has been seen at the Williamstown Theater Festival, Theatreworks/Palo Alto’s New Works Festival, Barrington Stage Company and at the 2005 New York Musical Theatre Festival. Jenny wrote the score for Theaterworks/USA’s ISLAND OF THE BLUE DOLPHINS (book and lyrics by Beth Blatt). As well as the score for THE HOTEL CARTER (book and lyrics by Stephanie Fleischmann), which received a 2000 Frederick Loewe Award and a 1999 Cameron Mackintosh Developmental Award. Currently, she is working on CARABOO, a new musical with lyrics by Beth Blatt and book by Marsha Norman, and THE SCARLET LETTER with Marsha Norman.

Stephen Adly Guirgis is a longtime member of NYC's LAByrinth Theater Company. His plays have been produced on five continents and throughout the United States. They include: THE LAST DAYS OF JUDAS ISCARIOT, OUR LADY OF 121st STREET (10 best plays of 2003; Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Best Play Nominations), JESUS HOPPED THE A TRAIN (Edinburgh Fringe First Award, Olivier Nomination as London's Best New Play, Barrymore Award, Detroit Free Press Best Play Award) and IN ARABIA WE'D ALL BE KINGS (10 Best of '99, TimeOut New York, critics pick, TimeOut London). All four plays were originally produced by LAByrinth, directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman and are published through Dramatists Play Service and by Faber and Faber. Stephen was awarded a 2004 TCG Fellowship, and attended the 2004 Sundance Screenwriter's Lab. He is a member of New Dramatists and the MCC Playwright’s Coalition, and is a regular contributor to ESOPUS Magazine. Television writing credits include “NYPD Blue”, “The Sopranos”, David Milch’s CBS drama “Big Apple” and ShaneSalerno's NBC drama “UC: Undercover”.

Hilly Hicks, Jr. is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and the Columbia University Graduate School of the Arts. He is the author of the children's play THE BREEZE, THE GUST, THE GALE AND THE WIND , which was produced by La Jolla Playhouse, and HOW TO UNLOAD A DISHWASHER, which was produced in Los Angeles by the Echo Theatre Company. Mr. Hicks' play ARTISTS & CRIMINALS was commissioned by South Coast Repertory and workshopped at the Mark Taper Forum. His play A HOLE IN THE DARK was presented in Manhattan Theatre Club's reading series 6@6: Discovering the Next Generation, and was subsequently produced at the Horizon Theatre Company in Atlanta and at City Theatre in Pittsburgh. His play THE HOME LIFE OF POLAR BEARS was developed at New York Theatre Workshop and the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference. It was presented in the new work exchange program at the Royal Court Theatre in London. His plays have also been presented at the Humana Festival in Louisville. For television, he was a staff writer for the Fox television series “Pasadena” with Dana Delaney, and a co-writer of the Discovery Channel special “Beyond Tomorrow. His plays have been published by Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts, Inc. and in various anthologies.

Kathleen Tolan worked for years as an actor, first in an experimental theatre company, Andre Gregory’s Manhattan Project, and then in plays Off Broadway and off-off Broadway, in regional theatre, and on TV and film. She began writing plays in the early 80’s. Her plays include A WEEKEND NEAR MADISON, KATE’S DIARY, APPROXIMATING MOTHER, A GIRL’S LIFE, THE WAX and, most recently, MEMORY HOUSE. They have been produced in regional theatres in New York and in Europe. She has received various commissions and awards. Her translation of MARIVAUX’S FALSE SERVANT was recently produced by the Classic Stage Company. MEMORY HOUSE premiered in March 2005 at the Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville; it has since been produced at Playwrights Horizons in New York, and Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago. Kathleen is the recipient of the 2005 McKnight National Residency and Commission, at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis. She is a member of the Writers Guild, the Dramatists Guild and PEN. She teaches playwriting at SUNY Purchase.


Located on a 22,000-acre working cattle ranch at the westernmost edge of the Great Plains, the Ucross Foundation was founded in 1981 and has awarded Fellowships to over 1,000 writers and artist in all disciplines from around the United States and the world. The Residency Program recognizes excellence in the arts, literature and natural sciences by supporting the work of individuals who have demonstrated exceptional achievement or potential for making a significant contribution to their field of inquiry and to society. Through the Foundation’s creative retreat nd private studio space, public art gallery, cattle ranch, nature preserve and abundant wildlife, Ucross is a true living laboratory in which the diverse interests of conservation, the arts and the natural environment work together on mutually compatible goals.

The Sundance Theatre Program is a program of the Sundance Institute. Through its developmental activities at the SUNDANCE THEATRE LABORATORY, THE SUNDANCE PLAYWRIGHT’S RETREAT AT UCROSS, and the SUNDANCE THEATRE LAB AT WHITE OAK, the Program identifies and assists emerging theatre artists, contributes to the creative growth of established artists, and encourages and supports the development of new work for the stage. More than 45 Sundance Theatre projects have gone on to productions at theatres across the United States, Mexico and Europe, in the last seven years.

Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is dedicated to the development of artists of independent vision and the exhibition of their new work. Since its inception, the Institute has grown into an internationally recognized resource for filmmakers and other artists. Sundance Institute conducts national and international labs for filmmakers, screenwriters, composers, writers and theatre artists. The annual Sundance Film Festival, a major program of Sundance Institute, is held each January and is considered the premier showcase for American and international independent film. The Institute supports non fiction filmmakers through the Documentary Film Program by providing year-round support through the Sundance Documentary Fund and a series of programs that nurture their growth, encourage the exploration of innovative nonfiction storytelling and promote the exhibition of documentary films to a broader audience. Through the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the Institute is committed to invigorating the national theatre movement with original and creative work and to nurturing the diversity of artistic expression among theatre artists. The Institute also maintains The Sundance Collection at UCLA, a unique archive of independent film.

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