TWTP Founder Maryanna Clarke Receives Prestigious TCG Grant

TWTP founder Maryanna ClarkeTennessee Women’s Theater Project announced today that the company’s Founder and Artistic Director, Maryanna Clarke, is one of just eight theater professionals nationwide to receive a continuing education grant from Theatre Communications Group Leadership U[niversity], in the inaugural year of a program designed by TCG and funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The overall intent of this program is to strengthen the field by developing the individuals who are the core and the future of theatre, according to the TCG. Clarke is in Toronto, Canada this month for a ten-day visit to study first-hand the successes and longevity of three well-established professional companies there: Nightwood Theatre Company, Tarragon Theatre and Soulpepper Theatre.

“I’m thrilled to have this opportunity,” says Clarke. “There is so much Tennessee Women’s Theater Project can learn from these theaters about how to build a successful, sustainable company. In particular, Canada’s oldest professional women’s theater company, Nightwood Theatre, with its history of advocacy for ‘gender equity in the arts,’ has much to teach TWTP about how to build capacity, and what it takes to attract a diverse audience that’s loyal over the long haul. I’ll also be studying outreach, audience development and emerging artist programs at all three companies, to learn how some of their successful initiatives might mesh with TWTP’s mission and strategic plan here at home.”

Clarke also looks forward to her first meeting with a long-distance acquaintance. “I’ve been emailing for years with Susan Coyne, whose charming play Kingfisher Days kicked off our 2008-09 season,” she relates. “All this time we have never met, but while I’m in Toronto, Susan will be rehearsing at Nightwood for her appearance in the company’s next production, Between the Sheets, which is a wonderful coincidence.”

Jennifer Cole, Executive Director of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, responded to the announcement this way: “[Maryanna’s] selection as a continuing education grant recipient from the Theatre Communications Group reinforces her role as a thought leader and creative driver in our community. We are excited about what she will learn and bring back through this professional learning experience.”

Rod Reiner, Deputy Director at the Tennessee Arts Commission, added, “We congratulate Maryanna Clarke on her recent receipt of a Theatre Communications Group continuing education grant . . . Maryanna is very deserving of this award and will be an outstanding representative from the State of Tennessee.”

Hal Partlow, Director of Performing Arts for the Tennessee Arts Commission had this to say about the grant award: “No doubt it is a direct result of [Maryanna’s] years of tireless work producing and creating work from a female perspective, the numerous opportunities she has created for women in the arts, and the countless ways she has given women in the community a strong voice.”

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a private philanthropic institution whose Performing Arts program has made annual gifts of approximately $30 million per year since 2005. In 2004 The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation was awarded a National Medal of Arts, the highest award given to artists and arts patrons by the United States government.

Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for the American theatre, was founded in 1961 to foster communication among professional, community and university theatres. In 2005, TCG received the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre in recognition of its national impact. Tennessee Women’s Theater Project is one of only four TCG member companies in Tennessee.


Tennessee Women’s Theater Project:

Theatre Communications Group (TCG)

Nightwood Theatre

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Leadership U[niversity] press announcement:

*Photo courtesy Tennessee Women’s Theater Project.

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  1. This is so wonderful – and the opportunity could not have been offered to ANYONE who will make more of it than Maryanna. Congratulations!

  2. Regine McClain says:

    Congrats to Maryanna and everyone involved in the TWTP!