The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has recently given grants totaling nearly $10 million in support of playwrights producing new plays. This money is aimed at getting new works produced in larger scale theatres and markets. Again this is a reflection of just how risky it is to produce a new play on a financial basis that many companies shy away from it.
Chicago will be seeing some of the money contributed to Steppenwolf Theatre. The gift was no doubt bolstered by Steppenwolf's development of August: Osage County which won both the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize this year.
Large scale support of new works is essential in keeping theatre a vital part of our culture and national dialogue. If patrons go to the theatre and only see the same old stand-bye, theatre will undoubtedly stagnate and die out. Initiatives like these are important in keeping theatre fresh and vibrant as well as giving important issues a home for discussion. Thank you to the Mellon Foundation for their support of the arts.