The Lark Play Development Center hosted a special event on October 11th celebrating playwright Katori Hall on her Broadway debut with The Mountaintop. (The Mountaintop was extensively developed at the Lark.) Lark board member and playwright Sandi Goff Farkas was also honored at the October 11th event with the first every Lark Risktaker Award for her creation of the Playwrights of New York (PONY) Fellowship. The Risktaker Award recognizes the leadership, vision and commitment of an individual who has defied convention in making a major contribution to supporting daring new voices in the American theater.
The PONY Fellowship was born out of a partnership between the Lark and Playwrights of New York, a not-for-profit organization founded by Sandi Goff Farkas. This one-of-a-kind opportunity deepens support for emerging writers by providing housing for a year in the PONY apartment, a monthly living stipend, and extensive artistic support at the Lark followed by two years of additional support and advocacy.
Katori Hall was the third recipient of the PONY Fellowship. During Hall's time as the PONY Fellow, she developed a number of works including Children of Killers, Our Lady of Kibeho, Pussy Valley and The Mountaintop, which was presented as a Lark BareBones® before receiving a full production on London's West End for which it won the 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play.
She said of the experience, "When I told my Lark family this story [about The Mountaintop] they gave me space and the artistic support I needed to tell a very personal and important story that was inspired by our history. The greatest cocoon that they gave me was the PONY Fellowship-the ultimate gift for a writer who is desperate to do just that-write."
Katori Hall is an award-winning playwright hailing from Memphis, TN. She has been involved with the Lark since 2006 and was awarded the PONY Fellowship in 2009. In 2011, Hall received the Susan Smith Blackburn prize of her play Hurt Village, and was inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Katori is a member of the Ron Brown Scholar Program, a graduate of Columbia, Harvard, and the Juilliard School. Katori was recently added to the Lark's Board of Directors.
Sandi Goff Farkas came to the Lark as a playwright in 2005 to develop her plays and has been part of the growth and development of the organization ever since. She is a Lark Board Member, a writer for stage and film, and a visionary in supporting new work for the theater. In 2007 she founded Playwrights of New York (PONY), an organization dedicated to supporting emerging playwrights. In partnership with the Lark, she created the PONY Fellowship.
About the Lark Play Development Center. A laboratory for new voices and new ideas, the Lark provides playwrights with indispensable resources to develop their work, nurturing artists at all stages in their careers, and inviting them to express themselves freely in a supportive and rigorous environment. The Lark reaches into untapped local populations and across international and cultural boundaries to seek out and embrace unheard voices and diverse perspectives, celebrating differences in language and worldviews. By encouraging artists to define their own goals and creative processes in pursuit of a unique vision, we believe we are reinvigorating the theater's ancient and enduring role as a public forum for discussion, debate and community engagement. www.larktheatre.org
Playwrights of New York (PONY). Founded by Sandi Goff Farkas, Playwrights of New York seeks to provide revolutionary support for playwrights by economically freeing them to pursue their careers. Through the Playwrights of New York Fellowship, in partnership with the Lark Play Development Center, PONY provides playwrights with a year of housing, living stipend, and artistic support as well as continued support in the two years following the Fellowship. PONY Fellows include: Carson Kreizter (2007), Samuel D. Hunter (2008), Katori Hall (2009), Tommy Smith (1010), A. Rey Pamatmat (2011) and Special Jury Prize winner Tarell Alvin McCraney (2009). www.playwrightsofnewyork.org
Photos courtesy of O&M Co.
BWW Hi-Res Gallery - Original Version