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The Lark Awards Brittany K. Allen and Christina Quintana with 2017 Van Lier New Voices Fellowship

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Brittany K. Allen and Christina Quintana
Brittany K. Allen (Left) and Christina Quintana (Right. Photo Credit: The Hursts)

The Lark is thrilled to announce playwrights Brittany K. Allen and Christina Quintana have been selected as the recipients of the 2017 Van Lier New Voices Fellowship.  This year long residency is designed to help address the lack of inclusion of early career playwrights of color in the theater field. Specifically, the Fellowship supports extraordinary writers of color under 30 and includes a cash award of $15,000, plus a $3,000 health insurance allowance, as well as access to a wide range of Lark resources, including artistic program participation, financial tools and coaching, office and rehearsal space, and staff support. The 2017 cycle marks this Fellowship’s fourth year at The Lark. Past fellows include Reginald Douglas (director: Nikkole Salter’s Lines in the Dust at Luna Stage), C.A. Johnson(Waitin’ on the Moon), Donja R. Love (Soft or The Dead N***** Poem), Anna Moench (Hunger), Christopher Oscar Peña (awe/struck), andSusan Soon He Stanton (The Things Are Against Us). The Van Lier New Voices Fellowship program is a critical component in The Lark’s acclaimed portfolio of fellowships, designed to engage a diverse community of remarkable playwrights who collectively reflect and reveal the vibrancy of our world.

During their residency at The Lark, Allen and Quintana will be part of a community of artists at various career levels from across the country and around the world. The voices of the 2017 Fellows will be invaluable additions to this community.

“We are absolutely delighted to welcome Brittany and Christina as our next pair of Van Lier New Voices Fellows.  Both writers are grappling with a wide range of large cultural forces and synthesizing them to create surprising connections through their work,” said The Lark’s Director of Scouting and Submissions, Andrea Hiebler. “Brittany has a keen comic voice that celebrates silliness while remaining razor sharp.  Her plays are full of compelling characters who are often flailing but always genuinely striving for something substantial.  Christina spins lyrical stories that delicately untangle the seemingly disparate threads that tie us together through her playful use of language and musicality.  They have such vibrant visions and bighearted approaches to playwriting.  We can't wait for Brittany and Christina to add their dynamic perspectives to The Lark community and use these resources to continue expanding and extending their individual artistic paths.”

Allen, 26, is a New York-based writer and performer who is drawn to work that is funny, if gutting. She is a student of the advanced improv and sketch comedy writing programs at the Upright Citizens Brigade, and a member of the Obie-award winning young playwrights collective, EST/Youngblood, where her original play Redwood received a staged reading. On what is most exciting to her about receiving the Fellowship, Allen said, “I'm terribly thrilled and grateful to be selected. I'm looking forward to generating new material in this most encouraging of incubators, and revising several existing projects under the guidance and gaze of so many theatre-makers I respect. Thanks (isn't a strong enough word) to The Lark for having faith in me and my work, and empowering this playwright at a crucial moment!”

Quintana, 29, is a New York-based writer with Cuban and Louisiana roots, recently selected as a fellow for the CubaOne Foundation’s TuCuba program, connecting Cuban-Americans to the island. Her play Scissoring was a finalist for the Kitchen Dog New Works Festival and for the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition. On what she hopes to get out of this Fellowship, Quintana said, “I'm so thrilled to tear into the drafts of a few plays-in-progress during my time as a fellow. The freedom to push these pieces toward the best versions of themselves and generate new work among the Lark community will make this an unforgettable year.”

Though this is the Fellowship’s fourth year at The Lark, The Edgar and Sally Van Lier Fund at TheNew York Community Trust has been underwriting similar fellowships since 1991 at other New York City organizations including New Dramatists, Second Stage Theatre, and Asian American Arts Alliance. Ms. Van Lier, the visionary behind the fund, was born into a Hungarian immigrant family at the turn of the century and struggled to launch a career in show business. She got her break in 1923 when she won a beauty contest and was subsequently cast in Florence Ziegfeld’s Follies and in his production of Showboat. In later life, the Van Liers—who had no children of their own—took great delight in introducing young people to the arts and providing assistance to those who aspired to careers in the theater but couldn’t afford training on their own. To read more about the fund’s history, please visit: www.nycommunitytrust.org/EdwardandSallyVanLier.

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