Carol Dunne has been awarded a Genius Grant from the Pussycat Foundation for her work as Producing Artistic Director at Northern Stage (since 2013) and for her accomplishments at the New London Barn Playhouse (2008-2014). The award of $250,000 will be split evenly between the two theaters.
Barrette Center for the Arts in White River Junction VT, home to Northern Stage
The Pussycat Foundation is part of the philanthropic empire of the late Helen Gurley Brown, founding editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine and author of Sex and the Single Girl. Brown and her husband amassed a sizable fortune and had no children. Before and after her death, Brown's charitable contributions have funded several projects for kids as well as programs for media studies at both Stanford and Columbia universities. She was also a major benefactor ($15 million) of the New York Public Library.
"Pussycat" was Brown's favorite term of endearment in addressing close friends.
Reacting to news of her receipt of the Genius Grant, Dunne said of her years at Northern Stage and the New London Barn Playhouse, "Although we have experienced incredible successes with both companies, the not-for-profit theater model presents constant challenges. It is my hope that this grant, which honors us for the work we have created, will help support the success and sustainability of the work yet to come."
The award comes as Northern Stage is poised to kick off its 2017-18 season with Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, which will run from September 20 to October 29. It stars Emmy-winning and Tony-nominated actor Gordon Clapp, who also appears in the Stage's second production of the season, Robert Frost: This Verse Business. The holiday musical this year is Disney's The Little Mermaid, followed by the world premiere of Only Yesterday, with "Paul McCartney and John Lennon together for one night only." Only Yesterday was workshopped earlier at Northern Stage.
The final two offerings are the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner Disgraced, and Noises Off, "the funniest farce ever written" in which the razor-sharp timing has to be seen to be believed. Dunne's leadership has amplified the size of the theater's audience; over 30,000 people are expected to attend the six mainstage productions at Northern Stage during this 21st season.
Featured photo of Carol Dunne by Heidi Reynolds, used with permission of Northern Stage.
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Susan B. Apel, writer, ArtfulEdge