In December 2012, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in New York awarded a $185K playwright residenCy Grant to support a new full-time position at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company for playwright/director and Woolly Company Member Robert O'Hara, through December 31, 2015.
One of 14 residency award recipients announced last month, O'Hara directed In the Continuum, which was presented at Woolly in 2006, and wrote the Woolly world premieres Antebellum (2009) and Bootycandy (2011). He joined Woolly's Artistic Company in 2011. Now, as a full-time staff member, he will play an integral role in season planning and the artistic development of new work and emerging talent. He will also direct productions, represent the theatre locally and nationally to artists and supporters, facilitate pre- and post-show discussions, and support Woolly's Connectivity Department to create dynamic events surrounding each show. Meanwhile, as an ambassador for Woolly, O'Hara will cultivate relationships with national and international festivals and venues to broaden Woolly's profile and impact; and, through his affiliations with contemporary playwrights, will scout new work to be considered for production at Woolly. Finally, his residency will include the development and world premiere of his newest play-Zombie: The American, a futuristic thriller about a White House literally haunted by America's past-commissioned through Woolly's innovative $4 million fundraising effort, Free the Beast!
"Robert O'Hara is a signature Woolly artist, one of the most provocative playwrights in America, and I'm incredibly grateful to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for this opportunity to draw him even more closely into the Woolly family," says Woolly Artistic Director Howard Shalwitz. "The core of his residency will be the continued development of Zombie: The American-which had an initial reading at Woolly just a few weeks ago-and other new works cooking in the playwriting part of Robert's brain. But over the next three years, the multi-faceted Mr. O'Hara will also contribute to Woolly as a director, as a core member of our artistic planning team, and as a liaison to our company, our community, and The National Theatre field. Our relationship with Robert has already yielded three big artistic successes, and we're excited to see how his residency influences-in unpredictable ways-both Robert's and Woolly's artistic evolution."
"I'm incredibly honored and excited about this Residency," says Robert O'Hara. "It will allow me to grow as a playwright, but more specifically as an overall artist. I'd like to thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for this rare opportunity to work closely with the visionary founding Artistic Director, Howard Shalwitz, and his extraordinary team at Woolly. They have been a constant support and well of creativity for me and my work."