Teri Schwartz, Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television (UCLA TFT), has announced that Pulitzer Prize-winning and Tony Award-nominated playwright Paula Vogel has been named the School’s inaugural Hearst Theater Lab Initiative Distinguished Visiting Playwright-in-Residence for the 2018-19 academic year.
The Hearst Theater Lab Initiative is made possible by the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, which gifted $250,000 to UCLA TFT, and the Dean’s special initiatives that support the School’s central vision to serve as a premier storytelling school — one whose mission is educating and developing a new generation of diverse, humanistic artists, industry leaders and scholars who use the power of story to not only delight entertain, but to enlighten, engage and inspire change for a better world.
“We are thrilled and honored to welcome one of the world’s most important and profound playwrights, Paula Vogel, to UCLA TFT as our inaugural Hearst Theater Lab Distinguished Playwright-in-Residence for our 2018-19 academic year,” Schwartz says. “Paula’s works explore and illuminate the deepest aspects of our human condition, all created with her searing intelligence, tremendous warmth and extraordinary humanity. She is the consummate theater artist. I’m so happy for our students that they will have this rare opportunity to be in the midst of a modern American master, receiving remarkable insights and ideas from Paula’s brilliant master classes, staged readings and other special workshops. Having Paula Vogel with us at UCLA TFT brings our vision and mission to life as the storytelling school in the most wonderful way imaginable.”
The Initiative is designed to give distinguished playwrights, such as Paula Vogel, a home and opportunity to develop and showcase new works and works-in-progress; conduct master classes and special workshops for UCLA TFT students; and give public lectures, among other special activities.
The Initiative funds the annual undergraduate and graduate student playwriting season. It has already funded graduate student playwrights of The New Play Festival — with original works by M.F.A. playwrights Joe Samaniego and Anna Fox; An Evening of Devised Works; The M.F.A. Ones, with an original one-act play by M.F.A. playwright Ryan Stevens; and The Capstone Reading, which involved an original work by undergraduate theater student Sarah Crosthwaite — thus strengthening opportunities for playwriting students to create and stage their own works.
The Hearst gift also provides vital grants for UCLA TFT’s award-winning Theater faculty to develop and showcase new plays and works-in-progress. UCLA TFT Assistant Professor Marike Splint was chosen to be the first recipient of the Hearst Theater Lab Initiative Faculty Award for her work Biography of a Home.
Two plays by Vogel will be produced in the 2018-19 Theater Season at UCLA TFT. A Long Christmas Ride Home, directed by Dominic Taylor, will be performed Nov. 14-18 and The Mineola Twins, directed by Judith Moreland, from Dec. 4-8.
Vogel has a rich history in theater. Her play How I Learned to Drive received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and numerous other distinctions including a Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, Obie, Outer Critics Circle and New York Drama Critics’ Circle awards. Vogel’s most recent work, Indecent, was nominated for Best Play at the 2017 Tony Awards and is slated for productions across the country in the 2018-19 season, including Los Angeles. Her other plays include The Long Christmas Ride Home, The Mineola Twins, The Baltimore Waltz, Hot ’N Throbbing, Desdemona, And Baby Makes Seven, The Oldest Profession and A Civil War Christmas.
Among her many other awards and distinctions are a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pew Charitable Trust Award, a Lilly Award, the Thornton Wilder Prize, a PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award and a TCG Residency Award. She was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame, received a Dramatists Guild Career Achievement Award and an Obie Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Vogel founded and ran the playwriting program at Brown University from 1984 to 2008; during that time, she started a theater workshop for women in maximum security at the Adults Correction Institute in Cranston, R.I. She was the O’Neill Chair at Yale School of Drama from 2008-2012, and was a playwright-in-residence at the Signature Theatre during the 2004-05 season. She continues her playwriting intensives with community organizations, students, theater companies, subscribers and writers across the globe.
Her current works-in-progress include The Mother Play (working title), commissioned by Center Theatre Group and Second Stage, and Cressida on Top, workshopped at the Goodman Theatre in 2018.
Photo credit: Laurie Sturdevant
Posted: November 8, 2018