Four School of the Arts Alumni Receive NYFA Playwriting Fellowships

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Clarence Coo ’10, Migdalia Cruz '84, Winter Miller '03, and Melisa Tien '09 have all been awarded New York Foundation of the Arts Artists’ Fellowships in the 2016 Playwriting/Screenwriting category to support their continued work as playwrights.

Clarence Coo, who is currently Program Administrator of the School of the Arts Writing Program, has developed his plays at Lark's Playwrights' Week, New York Theatre Workshop, Ma-Yi Theatre, New Dramatists, Second Generation, the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, the New York International Fringe Festival, Mu Performing Arts, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, Round House Theatre, East West Players, the Mark Taper Forum, the Young Playwrights Festival, and the Kennedy Center. His plays include The God of Wine, People Sitting in Darkness, Bahala Na, Braids, Proof Through the Night, and Removing the Glove. He was awarded the 2012 Yale Drama Series Prize, judged by John Guare, for his play Beautiful Province (Belle Province). Coo is also a recipient of the Arena Stage Allen Lee Hughes Fellowship, an NEA Access to Artistic Excellence Grant, a Kennedy Center commission, and a Larry Neal Writers’ Award. He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists, a member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and a 2012-2013 Dramatists Guild fellow.

Migdalia Cruz who was born and raised in the Bronx, is a playwright and translator with the Lark’s Mexico/US Word Exchange. Her originals plays have been produced at the National Theatre of Greece in Athens, Old Red Lion in London, NYU, The Goodman Theater, Milagro Theater, Mabou Mines Houston Grand Opera, Ateneo Puertorriqueño, Teatro Vista, and Latino Chicago Theater Company, where she served as writer-in-residence from 1991-1998. Her plays include Fur, Miriam’s Flowers, Another Part of the House, El Grito del Bronx, Song for New York: What Women Do While Men Sit Knitting, Yellow Eyes, Salt, and Da Bronx Rocks. Cruz received a New York State Council on the Arts grant to workshop her play TWO ROBERTS: a Pirate-Blues Project with the Lark. She is an alumna of New Dramatists and was mentored by Maria Irene Fornés.

Winter Miller is a playwright, journalist and founding member of the company 13P, which was committed to self-producing the plays of the thirteen founding playwrights. Her plays include No One Is Forgotten, Look at Us, Spare Rib (An Unruly History of Abortion), The Penetration Play, The Arrival, Seed: A Vaudevillian Cabaret, the musical Amandine, and In Darfur. In Darfur premiered at The Public Theater’s Delacorte Theater in Central Park with a standing-room-only performance, the first for a play written by a woman. Winter’s plays have been produced by 13P, The Public, Center Theatre Group, New Black Fest, The Cherry Lane Theatre, TimeLine, WAM, Theater J, The Goodman, Keen, Baltimore Center Stage, Horizon, Hourglass and the 52nd Street Project. Miller also worked with youth living in a refugee camp in Northern Uganda to write and perform plays. She has been a member of The Civilians R&D Lab, The Lark, and the Playwrights Center, and has received fellowships from Sundance Institute, Hedgebrook, The Cherry Lane, The Lark, Orchard Project, Space on Ryder Farm, New York Theatre Workshop Monday @3, and Voice&Vision. She is currently a New Georges Affiliated Artist.

Melisa Tien is a playwright creating socially conscious work. Her plays have been presented at Women’s Project, National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival, the Women Playwrights International Conference, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, Mumbai University, Theater for the New City, Manhattan Rep, Theater Masters, Collective Unconscious, Subjective Theatre Company, NY Madness and Ensemble Studio Theatre. Tien’s plays include Jackson Heights, 3 AM, Refrain, Familium Vulgare, Musical Chairs, Underdogs and Hi-Profile, Adult Beginner Swim, Light Sweet Crude, Daughter of Heaven, Ginger, The Secret Life of the Office Worker, Yes, Madly, The Hiding Place, Azad Nazem/Free Verse, and Odyssey. Tien is a recipient of the Visionary Playwrights award from Theater Masters, a member of the 2010-2012 Women’s Project Lab, recipient of a 2012 Puffin Foundation grant, and is currently a member of New Dramatists. She has also been a resident at the Millay Colony, Byrdcliffe, and the MacDowell Colony.

New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is “committed to supporting artists from diverse cultural backgrounds at all stages of their professional careers.” NYFA makes unrestricted grants to artists living in New York. NYFA artist fellowships are awarded on a rotating three year basis by discipline. The other categories awarded this year are Architecture/Environmental Structures/Design, Choreography, Music/Sound, and Photography.
School of the Arts Alumni in Film and Visual Arts were also among this years grantees.

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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.