Tag Archives: SDC

Fountain director Shirley Jo Finney awarded SDC Denham Fellowship for ‘Runaway Home’

ShirleyJoFinney

Shirley Jo Finney

The Fountain Theatre is proud to announce that the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), the not-for-profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), has selected Director Shirley Jo Finney as SDCF’s 2017 Denham Fellow for her production of Runaway Home by Jeremy J. Kamps. Runaway Home made its world premiere at The Fountain Theatre and runs to November 5th. 

The Denham Fellowship was established by Mary Orr Denham in 2006 with a bequest to SDCF in honor of her late husband, Reginald H. F. Denham. It is an annual cash award given to women directors to further develop their directing skills, and supports a particular proposed project. Past recipients include May Adrales, Tea Alagic, Rachel Alderman, Kathleen Amshoff, Jessi D. Hill, Joanie Schultz, Bridget Leak, Hannah Ryan, and Diane Rodriguez.

“I love this place because it does important work, ” Finney stated about the Fountain Theatre and Runaway Home. “I love when a piece of work is being presented and the audience can’t get out of their seats. Because they have not experienced a play. They have experienced a life.”

Denham Fellow Shirley Jo Finney is an award-winning international director and actress. She has worn her director’s hat in some of the most respected regional theater houses across the country including: The McCarter Theater, The Pasadena Playhouse, The Goodman Theater, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Playhouse, Fountain Theater, LA Theater Works, Crossroads Theater Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville’s Humana Festival, Sundance Theater Workshop, Mark Taper Forum, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the State Theater in Pretoria, South Africa. Ms. Finney has received many prestigious awards over the years for her special talent and eye for storytelling and for creating exciting ensembles. Her awards include the L.A. Stage Alliance Ovation Award, The Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, LA Weekly Award, The NAACP Award, and the Santa Barbara Independent Award for her directing work. Finney helmed the acclaimed international all South African Opera entitled Winnie, based on the life of political icon Winnie Mandela. Most recently, Ms. Finney directed and developed the critically acclaimed world premiere of Citizen: An American Lyric by the award-winning PENN poet, Claudia Rankin. Other recent works include Facing Our Truth, The Trayvon Martin Project at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles, the Lark Play Development Center’s rolling world premiere of the road weeps, the well runs dry by Marcus Gardley at the Los Angeles Theater Center, and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Brother/Sister Plays.

“Shirley Jo has been a cherished member of our Fountain Family for many years,” says Stephen Sachs, Co-Artistic Director. “We are thrilled and proud that the SDC Foundation has honored her excellence.”

Runaway Home now playing to Nov 5th.

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Historic Milestone for the LA Theatre Community

An Historic Vote

Something important happened last weekend. Something historic for the Los Angeles theatre community. On Sunday, May 20, 2012, the first step was taken to launch a new chapter in how we produce theater in Los Angeles. At a gathering moderated by LA Stage Alliance at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, a meeting of 80-plus theatre producers agreed by unanimous vote that we would produce theater in a new way in the future: together.

The house full of producers, artistic directors and independent theatre-makers from venues all over Los Angeles, each with their own issues and concerns, voted unanimously to form a new Producers Guild that will speak with a single voice on behalf of all Los Angeles producers (99-seat producers, mid-size and larger). This is the most important milestone in LA Theatre history in the past 20 years.

Can 700+ theater producers spanning a diverse landscape as immense and wide as Los Angeles learn to collaborate and speak with one voice for the benefit of all? We’ll see. Let’s hope.

The new Producers Guild will work with the 99-seat Review Committee, the group already in place since the 1980’s to negotiate with Actor’s Equity Association about any proposed changes to the 99-Seat Plan.

The Producers Guild  could also address many issues that can enhance the creation and producing of theatre in Los Angeles: improve conditions at venues (at all levels), rebranding the national image of LA Theatre, shared marketing, standard and  improved rental contracts between venues,  discount ticketing, collective bargaining with fair and equal dealings with unions (Actors Equity, SDC, USA,), and much more.

And perhaps most importantly: create a deeper sense of community. Remember, this new Guild would include theater producers at all levels: 99-seat, mid-size, large-size, and independents. Power and solidarity and community in numbers.

What Happens Now?

We must build a structure for this new Guild.  We should reach out to the producers Leagues in other cities like New York and Chicago and examine their models.

Yes, we will have more meetings. And meetings about meetings. We must come together as a group and discuss how to proceed. This is the long, boring part of the process. It’s going to take time. But let’s get started.

Let the work begin.