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Latest Winners Of The TACA Donna Wilhelm New Works Awards Announced 10
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Ana Gonzalez flees north with her infant — on top of a boxcar – in Cara Mia’s Dreamers. Photo: Jerome Weeks

This year’s winners of the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund are Kitchen Dog Theater — to help fund two “rolling” world premieres by playwright David Yockey (Blackberry Winter and The Thrush and the Woodpecker) — and the Dallas Theater Center, for its collaboration with Cara Mia Theatre Company to develop and premiere Deferred Action, the second part of a planned trilogy that began with Cara Mia’s Dreamers. Both groups will receive $50,000.

This is the fourth year for the awards — thirteen panelists judged 16 applications to choose these two recipients based on their level of innovation, impact on the discipline and impact on the originator of the work. Previous winners of the the award include Will Power’s Stagger Lee musical, the Dallas Opera’s premiere of Everest, the Dallas Bach Society’s Le Mozart Noir and Second Thought Theatre’s Booth. The Wilhelm Family is continuing its support of the fund at $100,000 each year through 2017.

The full release:


DALLAS, Texas – TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) has announced the grantees of the 2015 TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund to support the advancement of new work in performing arts. The 2015 recipients of $100,000 in award money are Dallas Theater Center and Kitchen Dog Theater. Each organization will receive $50,000.

For the fourth year in a row, TACA sought input from an impressive jury comprised of national arts practitioners who judged each submission based on level of innovation, impact on the discipline and impact on the originator of the work. Thirteen nationally recognized peer review panelists reviewed 16 applications to select the two beneficiaries.

“We are excited to announce this year’s beneficiaries, and we look forward to seeing their innovative work come to life in our community and have an impact on a national level,” said TACA’s Carlson President and Executive Director, Rebecca Young. “We applaud and sincerely thank Donna Wilhelm for her family’s investment of support for the creation and development of new work in the Dallas community.”

The Donna Wilhelm Family has announced its continued support of the Fund at $100,000 each year through 2017. Donna Wilhelm, in whose family’s name the fund is established, said, “Our hope with these New Works grants is to provide support for a transformational project, one that will serve as a catalyst for the organization to take the next step in its journey of artistic excellence.”

TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund grants for 2015 will support the following:

Dallas Theater Center (DTC) will receive a $50,000 grant for the development and world premiere of a new play, Deferred Action, the second part of a planned trilogy that began with The Dreamers: A Bloodline. Dallas Theater Center’s Director of New Play Development, Lee Trull, and Artistic Director of Dallas’ Cara Mía Theatre Co., David Lozano, are collaboratively developing this play about immigration. The storyline focuses on undocumented youth who are caught between existing immigration laws, presidential policies and the harsh reality of living in the shadows. Performances are scheduled from April 29 to May 15, 2016, in the Wyly Theatre’s Potter Rose Performance Hall.

“Dallas Theater Center is immensely honored to receive this grant to support the world premiere of Deferred Action by David Lozano and Lee Trull,” said Kevin Moriarty, DTC’s Artistic Director. “DTC shares with TACA a belief that new work produced in North Texas, by North Texas artists and for North Texas audiences is essential for a thriving arts community.”

“We are especially thrilled that TACA is recognizing a new play that represents DTC’s core values of collaboration, diversity and theater that inspires meaningful dialogue within our community,” Moriarty continued. “As collaboration with Cara Mia Theatre, Deferred Action demonstrates how theaters and artists in the region can become stronger by working together.”

Kitchen Dog Theater Company (KDT) will receive a $50,000 grant for two National New Play Network (NNPN) Rolling World Premieres: The Thrush and the Woodpecker and Blackberry Winter. Both plays are written by one of America’s most exciting emerging playwrights, Steve Yockey, and will be featured in KDT’s 18th Annual New Works Festival. Subtitled “a revenge play,” The Thrush and the Woodpecker is a portrait of fury, while Blackberry Winter could be described as a rumination on grief. Both plays employ shadow puppetry and gestures of magical realism to explore the most elusive element – human emotion. Performances of both plays will take place May 20 to June 25, 2016 at The Green Zone, 161 Riveredge Drive, Dallas.

“Producing two brand-new works in repertory by the same playwright is unprecedented for Kitchen Dog Theater,” said Tina Parker, Co-Artistic Director. “Steve Yockey is one of the most unique, essential and influential voices of his generation. His blending of naturalism with the fantastical to tell contemporary stories is wholly original.”

“Championing an in-depth exploration of Mr. Yockey’s work will afford Dallas audiences an unparalleled opportunity to experience new work in the context of a larger body of work and an immersive journey into a playwright’s singular vision,” Parker added.

Established in 1967, TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) champions artistic excellence in performing arts organizations and encourages innovation, collaboration and engagement through financial support, stewardship and resources. Since its inception, TACA has distributed more than $24 million to emerging and established performing arts organizations with budgets from as little as $27,000 to as much as $30 million. For more information about TACA, please call 214.520.3930 or visit Connect with TACA on Twitter @TACADallas, Instagram @TACADallas or

ABOUT TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund
In January 2012, TACA launched its first Artistic Excellence Fund: the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund. This fund grants up to $100,000 each year to support the creation and performances of new work in Dallas County by one or more of TACA’s annual beneficiaries. This Fund was conceived to further establish North Texas as one of the nation’s major cultural centers fostering local development of innovative, adventurous and risk-worthy new work in the performing arts. TACA’s spectrum of performing arts includes dance, plays, and musical theater, solo and choral vocal works, instrumental and spoken word performances. This Fund is designated to support new, previously unseen work that demonstrates focus on innovation and experimentation. To date, the fund has awarded $400,000 in support of the creating and development of new work.

Recipients of the TACA Donna Wilhelm Family New Works Fund have included the following: African American Repertory Theater for homeschooled by Jonathan Norton (2012); Cara Mia Theatre for The Dreamers: A Bloodline by Cara Mia Artistic Ensemble (2012); Dallas Theater Center for Stagger Lee by Will Power and Justin Ellington (2012); Second Thought Theatre for Booth by Steen Walters and Erik Archilla (2013); Undermain Theatre for Abraham Zobell’s Home Movie: Final Reel by Len Jenkin (2013); and Voices of Change for Tibet Fantasia by Xi Wang (2013); Dallas Bach Society for Le Mozart Noir by Chevalier de Saint-Georges and Valerie Shelton-Tabor (2014); Dallas Children’s Theater for Skippyjon Jones by Linda Daugherty and Nick Martin (2014); Fine Arts Chamber Players for Universal Language by Margaret Barrett and Dr. David Silva (2014); The Dallas Opera for Everest by Joby Talbot and Gene Scheer (2014).

2015 National Panel Reviewers
Matt Albert Artist-in-Residency, Southern Methodist University
Stephen Brown-Fried Artistic Associate/Casting Director, Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey
Rachel Chavkin Artistic Director, The TEAM
Kenneth Foster Director of Arts Leadership, Thornton School of Music, USC
Greg Fulkerson Violin Professor, Oberlin College
Dean Gladden Managing Director, The Alley Theatre
Melanie Rios Glaser Executive and Artistic Director, the Wooden Floor
Kimberly Grigsby Musical director, conductor, arranger and musician
Parisa Khobdeh Dancer, Paul Taylor Dance Company
Cassie Meador Artistic Director, Dance Exchange
Roche Schulfer Executive Director, The Goodman Theatre
Kara-Lynn Vaeni Director of Theatre and Opera, and Literary Manager, New Georges
Paul Walsh Associate Professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism, Yale School of Drama