Career Development Program for Designers

There will not be a round of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Theatre Designers during this fiscal year. To be notified when more information on the next round is available, please contact Jessica Lewis, artistic programs project coordinator.

The program offers six exceptionally talented, early-career theatre designers the opportunity to spend six months over a two-year period developing their design skills, expanding their artistic boundaries and increasing their knowledge of the field. Each experience is hand-tailored, matching recipients’ goals to appropriate and challenging assignments.

A successful program will include a majority of the following:

Travel and research;

Advanced study such as design workshops and master classes;

Cross-disciplinary forays such as language study or work with a dramaturg or director;

Observing companies and/or artists of distinction in their rehearsal or planning process;

Prolonged residencies, often working as an assistant;

Developing a new piece with a designated mentor in the final months of the program.

Under the program, recipient designers will receive $25,000, which represents six stipend payments of $3,900 and a final payment of $1,600. These stipends cannot be used to underwrite fees for design jobs, unless those assignments are related to the goals the recipient articulates in their application and interview.

In addition, each recipient will receive:

Up to $2,000 to support ongoing life needs such as health insurance, child care or elder care and up to $1,500 in supplementary travel.

Applicants of diverse backgrounds representing the full spectrum of theatrical activity, including those who have worked in non-traditional venues, are encouraged to apply to this program. No applicant will be discriminated against on the basis of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, color or national origin.

There is a large time commitment expected of each recipient selected. Recipients will be required to complete six months of activity within a two-year period, beginning October 1, 2009, and ending September 30, 2011, and will be asked to treat all activities within the program as professional engagements. It is assumed that the selected recipients will arrange their schedules in order to accommodate the Career development program.

TCG understands that advance scheduling of large blocks of time can prove extremely challenging for freelance designers, so the program activity need not be consecutive and the TCG staff will work with each recipient to match placements and develop a timeline for completing the program. However, potential recipients should be prepared and able to relocate during the program period, if necessary. And while they may accept work outside the program, they may not maintain salaried positions while completing program activities.

2009-2011 Recipients

Jeffrey Becker is a New Orleans-based set designer/sculptor who specializes in original site specific performances featuring innovative transforming sets, interactive environments, film and machines. Jeff has worked with theater companies such as The Cuttingball Theater, Mondo Bizzaro, Pan Pan Theatre from Ireland and Dah Teatar from Serbia. He is the recipient of several awards and grants including a NEA RAP Grant, Theater Bay Area Grant, SURDNA Professional Development Grant and a Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship.  He is a core ensemble member of ArtSpot Productions and is on the faculty of New Orleans Center for Creative Arts.

Oana Botez-Ban (Costume Designer), a native of Romania, has designed for major theater anddance companiesincluding The National Theater of Bucharest and was involved in different international theater festivals such as the Quadrennial Scenography Show in Prague. Oana is part of the first Romanian theaterdesign catalogue, Scenografica. Since 1999, her New York costume collaborations in theater and dance include Robert Woodruff,Richard Foreman, Maya Beiser,Richard Schechner, Blanka Zizka, Brian Kulick, Zelda Fichlander, Karin Coonrod, Jay Scheib,Eduardo Machado, Gus Solomon Jr.&Paradigm, Carmen de Lavallade, Dusan Tynek, Gisela Cardenas, Pavol Liska, Matthew Neenan, Molissa Fenley, Zishan Ugurlu, Erin Mee, Judith Ren-Lay,Michael Sexton, Pig Iron Company, Play Company, Charles Moulton, Loy Arcenas, Ripe Time. MFA in Design from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. Princess Grace Recipient.

Brendan Connelly makes all the sound and music for The Theater of a Two-headed Calf, which he co-founded, along with director Brooke O'Harra, in New Orleans in 1999. The Two-headed Calf has been a resident company at La MaMa, E.T.C. in New York where they created Tumor Brainiowicz, The Life and Death of Tom Thumb the Great, The Mother, Major Barbara and two seasons of Room for Cream. They have also created work at the HERE Arts Center, PS 122, The Perishable Theater and Soho Rep. The Company received an Obie Grant in 2008. Brendan's other theater work includes numerous collaborations with director Ian Belton. His non-theater compositions have been performed by the SEM Ensemble, Timetable Percussion, Hunter-Gatherer, Yarn/Wire and Wet Ink.

William Cusick is a video and projections designer based in NYC, whose work has recently been seen in productions at the BAM Harvey, Lincoln Center Theater, New York Theater Workshop, PS122, Culture Project, Ontological-Hysteric Theater, The Chocolate Factory, as well as various theaters in Europe and Canada. Cusick is the recipient of the 2007 Henry Hewes Design Award for Projections for his work on Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopiaat Lincoln Center Theater.Cusick has designed four original productions for the experimental theater company, Temporary Distortion, including the upcoming Americana Kamikaze at PS122.

Dave Malloy is a composer/sound designer/musical director/pianist/performer working in NYC and the Bay Area. He has been a member of Brooklyn's Banana Bag & Bodice since 2002; recent BB&B works include the Glickman Award winning Beowulf - A Thousand Years of Baggage, an original SongPlay featuring dueling trombones and 40's vocal jazz harmonies, The Sewers, an apocalyptic Victorian farce with an extensively integrated electronic score, and Space//Space, a claustraphobic sci-fi study in 7.1 surround. Other highlights include Clown Bible and (The 99-cent) Miss Saigon with Oakland's Ten Red Hen. He is a recipient of the 2009 Jonathan Larson Grant and a Bay Area Critic's Circle Award for Sound Design.

Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew is a NY based lighting designer and puppetry artist.  Recent designs include Kaspar Hauser and Dawn at The Flea Theater, Oph3lia and Frankenstein (Mortal Toys) at HERE Arts Center, Ocean/Flight at Highways Performance Space (LA), Invisible Glass at REDCAT (LA), Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant at Ohio Theatre, and No Where Can be Here Now at The Chocolate Factory.  As a puppetry artist, her toy theater production, The Butcher Men, was invited to the 2006 Prague Quadrennial and MILK was part of the Labapalooza 2007 at St. Ann’s Warehouse.  She received her MFA from California Institute of the Arts.

Designer recipients were chosen by a national independent selection panel that included Carol Bailey, designer; Clay Benning, resident sound designer, Alliance Theatre; Marsha Ginsberg, designer; Tyler Micoleau, designer; Joel Sass, artistic director, Jungle Theater; Angel Ysaguirre, director of global community investing, the Boeing Company.

Preliminary panelists included Carol Bailey, designer; Clay Benning, resident sound designer, Alliance Theatre; Marsha Ginsberg, designer; and Tyler Micoleau, designer.


The National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a public agency dedicated to supporting the excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education. Established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government, the Endowment is the nation's largest annual funder of the arts, bringing great art to all 50 states, including rural areas, inner cities, and military bases.

With additional support from The Ford Foundation.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has been a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide, guided by its goals of strengthening democratic values, reducing poverty and injustice, promoting international cooperation and advancing human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia.