Playwrights’ Center and McKnight Foundation Recognize Three Minnesotan Theater Makers
Playwrights’ Center and The McKnight Foundation continue to strengthen the Twin Cities’ legacy as a leading cultural hub by supporting some of the most promising Minnesotan theater makers through three $25,000 McKnight Theater Artist Fellowships. The 2021–22 McKnight Theater Artist Fellowships have been awarded to Trevor Bowen (costume designer), Elizabeth MacNally (stage manager), and T. Mychael Rambo (actor). The awards will allow these artists the freedom to pursue personal artistic projects as they contemplate the future of the field.
“We are pleased to support these three amazing Minnesotan theater artists with our longtime partner the McKnight Foundation, said Playwrights’ Center’s producing artistic director Jeremy B. Cohen. “After the challenges of the past 15 months, being able to further uplift the incredible careers of Trevor, Elizabeth, and T. Mychael, adding to the excitement of returning to live theater, is uniquely rewarding. And it is particularly meaningful to have a stage manager—a crucial and often unrecognized role—as a recipient; the first time in the fellowship’s history.
“The McKnight fellowship is so important to me because it's one of the only fellowships that recognize the artistry of stage management,” shared stage manager Elizabeth MacNally.
“I don't think a lot of people see the artistry in stage management or see themselves as artists. I hope by seeing me here, people will start seeing their own art in their worlds as well. The value placed on all artists has been magnified coming out of the pandemic, so having this chance to showcase my art is really amazing.”
Actor T. Mychael Rambo explained, “The McKnight Theater Artist Fellowship offers me the opportunity to ground myself, nurture myself and release myself from the worries, concerns and challenges (both financial and emotional) of this last year. This fellowship will allow me the time and resources to fortify my artistic talents so that I might step into the year ahead better prepared to be my best self as an artist and as a community member.”
“I am honored to be recognized alongside storytellers I consistently learn from and look up to,” stated costume designer Trevor Bowen. “I will be able to create a practice that is holistic, healthy, and sustainable. I will be able to invest time into my skills, and creativity, which will add value and depth to future projects I am able to collaborate on and manifest.”
The McKnight fellowship provides me with the valuable resources of time and space to reconsider how I work in a challenging and mostly rewarding industry. It is a helpful next step for me to have space to re-frame and examine the work I have done in the last 12 years of my career. I am curious to investigate the ideas and tropes utilized into my own designs as well as some long held, possibly flawed perceptions of what a costume’s function is. I have the opportunity to switch up the traditional hierarchy in the design process, and to fulfill some long held artistic goals,” added Bowen.
“These artists will have the opportunity to develop a new theatrical piece as part of their fellowship,” said the Playwrights’ Center’s associate artistic director Hayley Finn. “We are excited we will be able to showcase their work as part of the McKnight Works in Progress event in spring of 2022, along with works by 2021 McKnight Theater Artist Fellows Kurt Kwan, Abbee Warmboe, and Talvin Wilks and 2020 McKnight Theater Artist Fellows Sun Mee Chomet, Jim Lichtscheidl, and Kate Sutton Johnson.”
Each year, the Playwrights’ Center serves as an artistic home for over 40 playwriting fellows and Core Writers, in addition to supporting 2,300+ member playwrights across the globe and partnering with producing theaters to move work from page to stage. The fellowship programs have anchored the Center’s support of playwrights and theater makers for nearly 50 years.
The McKnight Theater Artist Fellowships at the Playwrights’ Center recognize theater artists living and working in Minnesota (other than playwrights) who demonstrate a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and artistic excellence. The program supports these mid-career artists with a $25,000 fellowship, intended to significantly advance the recipients’ art and careers. Selection is based on a commitment to theater arts, evidence of professional achievement, and a sustained level of excellence in the recipient's work.
Trevor Bowen’s Twin Cities and regional credits include: “Public Love” (Walker Art Center); “Lady Day at Emerson Bar and Grill,” (The Jungle Theater); “The Road Weeps,” “The Well Runs Dry” (Pillsbury House Theatre); “In The Heights” (Ordway) “BLKS,” “True West” (Steppenwolf); “Colossal,” (Mixed Blood Theatre); “Ragtime” (5th Ave); “All is Calm,” (Theater Latte Da); “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” (Seattle Children’s Theater); “Corduroy,” “Three Little Birds” (CTC); “Sweat” (Asolo Rep); “Fiddler on the Roof,” (Ten Thousand Things) “Albert Herring,” (MN Opera). Trevor has an M.F.A. in costume design from West Virginia University. www.trevorbowendesign.com
Elizabeth MacNally has been stage managing in the Twin Cities since 2001 and has made Pillsbury House Theatre her artistic home for the last 10 seasons. Some of her favorite shows in the past include “Main Street” and “Hiding in the Open” at the History Theatre; “Next Fall” and “Recent Tragic Events” at the Jungle Theater; “The Brothers Size,” “Buzzer,” “The Children” and “Jimmy & Lorraine A Musing” at Pillsbury House Theatre, and ”9 Parts of Desire” at the Guthrie Theater. Elizabeth has a B.F.A. from Rockford University in Rockford, IL, and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
T. Mychael Rambo is a Regional Emmy Award-winning actor, vocalist, arts educator, and community organizer whose talents have made an indelible mark on stages across the Twin Cities, nationally, and internationally. He has appeared in local and national television commercials, feature films, HBO mini-series, and other television programming. T. Mychael is an accomplished recording artist, highly sought-after public speaker, and affiliate professor in the College of Liberal Arts, Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota.