2016 Playwriting Competition Awards

The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation extends congratulations to the winners of its 2016 playwriting competition. Of the 267 submissions to this year’s competition (the largest number AABBF has ever received), the judges have chosen the following award recipients:

  • First Prize ($3,000): Donja R. Love, of Jersey City, N.J., for Sugar in Our Wounds. Set in the American South during the Civil War, this extraordinary play tells the tragic story of love between two slaves in the year before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued.
  • Second Prize ($1,500): Sevan K. Greene, of New York, N.Y., for The House of In Between. Recounting the story of a hijra clan in Patna, India, the play examines the crisis faced by a trans community whose traditional, once-honored way of life is degraded and threatened by social and political change.
  • Honorable Mention ($500): Daniel Loftman Hurewitz, of Brooklyn, N.Y., for Reclamation. A dramatized biography of Bayard Rustin, the play provides an inside look at power struggles within the African-American civil rights movement and the impact of homophobia on Rustin’s life and career.
  • Honorable Mention ($500): T. Berto, of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, for ROW. The play focuses on Sonny, an Aboriginal boy consigned to Canada’s Residential School System; abused by the priests who run his school, Sonny later becomes a sex worker who struggles with his commodification as a “kept” man.
  • Honorable Mention ($500): Will Snider, of Del Mar, Calif., for Strange Men. Set in Uganda following the murder of Ugandan gay rights activist David Kato in 2011, the play explores the fraught relationships between an Indian restaurant owner, his black African employee, and a white American Peace Corps volunteer in a dangerously homophobic environment.
  • Honorable Mention ($500): Lachlan Philpott, of Stanmore, New South Wales, Australia, for The Trouble with Harry. The play is based on the true story of Eugenia Falleni, who for decades lived as Harry Crawford, a working-class man in early 20th-century Sydney. Scandal erupted when Crawford’s biological sex was revealed during his trial for the murder of his wife Annie Birkett.

In addition to the prizewinning playwrights, six others made it into the competition’s final round: John Barrow, for Lillian Paula Carson; Barry Brennessel, for Sideways Down the Sky; Catrin Fflur Huws, for To Kill a Machine; Robin Rice, for Alice in Black and White; Gene Franklin Smith, for Bachelor Hall; and Dale Turner, for Uncle Harold [The Naked Young Man].

Four Production Grants Awarded in November

The foundation is pleased to announce the following production grants for November 2016:

  • A grant to Creative Ammo, Inc., of New York City, to support the Downtown Urban Arts Festival (DUAF) production of B-Boy Blues, by James Earl Hardy. Based on Hardy’s best-selling 1994 novel of the same name, the play will have a four-week run off-Broadway in June 2017. (Performances are currently slated for Greenwich Village’s Cherry Lane Theatre, but the venue may change.)
  • A grant to On the Road Productions International, Inc., of New York City, to help enable the completion of director Rosemarie Reed’s documentary film Forgetting the Many: The Royal Pardon of Alan Turing, which focuses on the thousands of gay British men who, like Turing, were convicted of acts of “gross indecency” but have never received pardons from the British government. A rough trailer for the film can be viewed here.
  • A grant to Overtime Theater, of San Antonio, Texas, to support the March 2017 production of The Last Days of Oscar Wilde, by Bernard J. Taylor. For more information on the company, visit Overtime’s website.
  • A grant to TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence), of New York City, to assist in the production of Eirebrushed, by Brian Merriman. The play, which tells the hidden histories of queer heroes and heroines of the Irish Rebellion of 1916, runs from November 15–19 at Downtown Art, 70 East 4th Street, in Manhattan. Founded by gay playwright Doric Wilson, TOSOS is New York City’s oldest professional LGBTQ theater. For more information visit the TOSOS site.

Three New Grants Announced for October

The foundation extends congratulations to the following grant recipients for October 2016:

  • Aubin Pictures, New York City, for the video series A Moving Body, now in post-production. The series of five 12-minute documentaries focuses on the lives and activism of residents of Cleveland, Ohio, who have been affected by police misconduct, social discrimination, and poverty and whose love for their hometown pushes them to bring about real change in one of the most racially divided cities in America. The AABBF grant will cover sound-mixing costs for the fourth episode, whose working title is “A Trans Activist Life.”
  • CounterPULSE, San Francisco, for Seth Eisen’s Rainbow Logic: Arm in Arm with Remy Charlip. This transdisciplinary work about the life and legacy of the late gay dancer, mime, visual artist, and children’s book author Remy Charlip will premiere November 4–20, 2016. For more information and to buy tickets, visit the CounterPULSE website.
  • MIX NYC, New York City, which is acting as fiscal agent for Public Square Films’ feature-length documentary Sylvia & Marsha. The film unpacks the nearly forgotten story of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, legendary drag queens and Stonewall veterans who, as cofounders of the trans-rights movement, set in motion today’s cultural dialogue about gender and identity. The film also investigates Marsha’s mysterious death and the ongoing epidemic of violence stalking the trans community.

In addition, the foundation will again be underwriting a playwriting workshop at Lambda Literary Foundation’s annual Writers Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. For information on the retreat, consult Lambda’s website.

Important Notice: Foundation P.O. Box Has Been Closed

The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation is no longer receiving postal correspondence at its post office box, which has been closed. Please send any postal correspondence to the following address:

The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation
c/o James Waller
500 West University Parkway, #16J
Baltimore, MD 21210

Six Grants Awarded in August and September

The foundation is pleased to announce six new grants:

  • A grant to Aubin Pictures, New York City, to assist in the completion of Amor Puro y Duro, a feature-length documentary film exploring the life and career of the iconoclastic Mexican ranchera singer Chavela Vargas. Information about Aubin Pictures and its film projects can be found on the production company’s website.
  • A grant to Dragon Theatre, Redwood City, California, to support the production of Caeneus and Poseidon, by Bridgette Dutta Portman. The play, styled on ancient Greek tragedy and written in blank verse, tells the story of Caenis, who becomes the world’s first trans man. Caeneus and Poseidon won an honorable mention award in the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation’s 2014 playwriting competition. The Dragon Theatre production is scheduled for spring 2017; for more information, visit the theatre’s website.
  • A grant to the frank theatre co., Vancouver, British Columbia, to help fund the production of Walt Whitman’s Secret, by Sean O’Leary. The play will run from October 13 through 23 at Presentation House, in North Vancouver. For further details, go to the frank theatre’s website.
  • A grant to HERE Arts Center, New York City, to help support the production of Sara Farrington’s play Life, Labor, Lust. The play, based on the life of American Gilded Age novelist Edith Wharton and focusing on her relationships with her closeted gay husband and bisexual lover, will be performed in 2017 at The Mount, Wharton’s country home in Lenox, Massachusetts.
  • A grant to the Make a Difference Trust, London, U.K., to support a staged reading of Charles Leipart’s A Kind of Marriage. The play, which concerns novelist E. M. Forster’s longtime relationship with bisexual policeman Bob Buckingham and Buckingham’s wife, May, won an honorable mention award in the foundation’s 2015 playwriting competition. The reading will take place in London in November; date and venue have not yet been announced.
  • A grant to St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn, New York, to support the subsidized ticket fund for trans performance artist Taylor Mac’s music-history extravaganza A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, which will run at St. Ann’s from September 15 through October 9. The last show in the run will be a marathon performance of the entire 24-hour-long piece. The subsidized ticket fund will offset the cost of attendance for young LGBT people with limited resources. For more information on the performance, visit St. Ann’s website.

In addition, the foundation is renewing its support for the Arch and Bruce Brown Fellowship program at the MacDowell Colony. The AABB fellowship, administered by MacDowell and awarded yearly, helps support a MacDowell resident pursuing performing-arts work that is LGBT-themed and historically inspired.

July Grants Announced

The foundation is extremely pleased to announce the following grants for July 2016:

  • A grant to the Film Collaborative to help underwrite production and post-production costs for the short animated documentary film Half a Life, directed by Tamara Shogaolu. The ten-minute film focuses on Adam, a young Egyptian gay man who witnesses the Cairo police raping a young boy with a stick to “test” the boy’s sexuality—an abuse commonly committed against Egyptians accused of being gay. The event prompts Adam to become a gay-rights activist and to participate in the Tahrir Square uprising. Half a Life offers a firsthand look at the gay experience in Egypt before and in the wake of the Arab Spring revolution.
  • A grant to Pride Films & Plays, Chicago, to assist in the development of a new musical, A History Of Summer, by Adam Mathias and Jonathan Monro. The musical surveys the last century of summers at America’s earliest established gay communities—Cherry Grove and the Fire Island Pines—and explores the residents’ lives and loves, hopes and heartbreaks. Two concert readings of the work, held in late June, will be followed by a full-scale world premiere production to be presented during Pride Films & Plays’ 2016/17 season.
  • A grant to Celebration Theatre, Los Angeles, to help offset costs of its summer 2016 play-reading series.

June Grants Announced

The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation is very pleased to announce the following grants for June 2016:

  • A grant to Anam Cara Theatre Co., of Enka, N.C., to help support its production of And Everything Nice: A Purity Anti-Manifesto for the Stage, by Trish Cole. The play’s run began this past weekend and will extend through June 17 at Toy Boat Community Art Space in Asheville. For more information, visit Anam Cara’s website The grant is the second Anam Cara has won from AABBF; in 2014, the foundation supported the production of two short works by playwright Cole.
  • A grant to eta Creative Arts Foundation, of Chicago, Ill., to assist in the production of Eye of the Storm: The Bayard Rustin Musical, by McKinley Johnson. The grant will cover costs of transcribing music for the show, which examines the life and career of gay civil rights leader Bayard Rustin. Performance dates have not yet been announced.
  • A grant, to be administered by The Film Collaborative, to the producers of the documentary film Terrence McNally: Every Act of Life, an in-depth look at the life and impact of the notable gay playwright. The film, directed by Jeff Kaufman, features a stellar cast of McNally’s friends and collaborators, including (among many others) Chita Rivera, Nathan Lane, Audra McDonald, Matthew Broderick, Tyne Daly, Murray Abraham, Angela Lansbury, Rita Moreno, Christine Baranski, Joe Mantello, and Tony Kushner.
  • A grant, to be administered by the International Documentary Association, to the producers of the documentary film CandyPants, which surveys the lives of the Chicago gay couple who in the 1970s started a fad (and made a fortune) with their bizarre invention: edible underwear. The feature-length film is directed by Francis Gasparini.

The 2016 Competition Submission Period Has Closed

The submission period for the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation’s 2016 playwriting competition has ended. Submissions received after midnight on May 31, 2016, will not be considered. The foundation thanks all the playwrights participating in this year’s competition. Prizewinners will be announced in November of this year.


MacDowell Colony Names Mashuq Deen the Arch and Bruce Brown Fellow for 2016

The foundation extends congratulations to playwright/performer Mashuq Deen, of Brooklyn, N.Y., who has been selected by the MacDowell Colony as the 2016 recipient of the Arch and Bruce Brown Fellowship. While in residence at MacDowell, Deen completed a draft of a book, Draw the Circle and Other Writings, which details an Indian-American family’s struggle to come to terms with their transgender son. The book includes Deen’s full-length play Draw the Circle as well as two short plays and other short pieces. For more about Deen and his theatrical work, visit his website,

The Arch and Bruce Brown Fellowship, funded by a grant from the foundation and administered by MacDowell, provides support to a MacDowell resident creating LGBT-themed, history-based, performing-arts or related works. In 2015, the fellowship was awarded to filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo, whose documentary Memories of a Penitent Heart was screened at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and will be broadcast nationally on the PBS series POV in 2017; that film’s trailer can be viewed at