Heritage Center selects playwrights project participants

The Alaska Native Heritage Center announced the selection of writers and mentors to participate in its first Alaska Native Playwrights Project on Jan. 4.

The year-long project is designed to identify, train and mentor Alaska Native writers who wish to tell their stories and the stories of their people in theatrical form. The writers work with a group of five nationally recognized Native American and Alaska Native playwrights, who mentor them through the process of creating a play.

“The selection process was challenging, as many worthy applicants submitted materials,” said Ed Bourgeois, project director. “We are pleased to announce the selection of a cohort of talented, passionate and culturally knowledgeable artists who will develop into a powerful writing community. They all have very important stories to tell.”

The following ten artists were selected by a reading committee of six Native and non Native theater professionals: Phillip Charette (Yup’ik), Lisa Marie Heitman-Bruce (Sugpiaq), Kahlil Hudson (Tlingit), Martha Jane Jack (Yup’ik), Joan Kane (Inupiaq), Maureen Mayo (Koyukon Athabascan), Lucas Rowley (Inupiaq), Susie Silook (St. Lawrence Island Yupik), Holly Stanton (Yup’ik) and Kavelina Torres (Yup’ik/Inupiaq/Athabascan).

The five teaching artists, who will each mentor a pair of writers, are Diane Benson (Tlingit), Jack Dalton (Yup’ik), Diane Glancy (Cherokee), Terry Gomez (Comanche) and Joy Harjo (Muskogee Creek). All are established Native playwrights whose works have been published and performed in the United States and internationally.

The project started with a five-day writing intensive from Jan. 25-29. The play written by participants will be given staged readings at Cyrano’s Playhouse in Anchorage during November 2010, National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

For more information about the Alaska Native Heritage Center and its programs, please go online to www.alaskanative.net.