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

Foundation Announces New Grants and a Gift for May

The Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation is pleased to announce the following grants and a gift for May 2016:

  • A grant to Bless Bless Productions, of New York, N.Y., to cover a trip by documentary filmmakers Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir to Nebraska, where they will do research for a new film, Heartbeat of the Heartland: The Brandon Teena Story, 20 Years Later. Muska and Olafsdottir’s previous LGBT-themed documentaries include The Brandon Teena Story (1998), about the 1993 murder of a young trans man in a rural Midwestern community, and Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (2009), about the forty-plus-year relationship between Thea Spyer and Edith Windsor. Windsor was the lead plaintiff in United States v. Windsor, which in 2013 led to the Supreme Court’s overturning of a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act. The trailer for Edie & Thea can be viewed at
  • A grant to Juventas New Music Ensemble, of Boston, Mass., to help support its world premiere production of a new opera, The Body Politic, by composer Leo Hurley and librettist Charles Osborne. The opera, set in North Carolina and Afghanistan between 1996 and 2006, follows a young transgender Afghan immigrant as he navigates his new American life. The opera received its premiere this month at the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts. For further information, visit
  • A gift to Simpatico Theatre, of Philadelphia, Penn., in recognition of its ongoing commitment to producing theater that is a force for positive social change. This June, Simpatico will premiere the play Time Is on Our Side, by R. Eric Thomas, which explores Philadelphia’s “hidden” history through the inspiring stories of generations of the city’s LGBT residents. For more information on the company and the play, visit

April Grants and Gift Announced

The foundation is pleased to announce the following grants, and a gift, for the month of April:

  • A grant to Brüka Theatre of Reno, Nev., to help fund its production of Malvolio . . . Or What You Will. A Transgender Story, by Sandra Brunell Neace and Rachel Lopez. The new play, a transgender take on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, will be presented during Reno’s Artown arts celebration in July.
  • A grant to Tight Braid Group of New York City. The grant, administered by fiscal sponsor Fractured Atlas, will help support Tight Braid’s production of Won’t Be a Ghost, by Francis Weiss Rabkin. This new, multidisciplinary play reclaims the erased histories and writings of two queer truth-tellers: early sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld and contemporary whistleblower Chelsea Manning. Performances will be held on April 14–17 and 21–23 at the Brick Theater in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  • A grant to Plan-B company, of Salt Lake City, Utah, to help fund its production of Virtue, a new play by Tim Slover. The play examines the relationship between twelfth-century Christian visionary Hildegard of Bingen and an aristocratic young woman, Richardis, who enters Abbess Hildegard’s monastery to become a nun. Virtue will be performed at Plan-B’s Studio Theatre at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City in February 2017.
  • A gift to Clubbed Thumb, of New York City, in recognition of the company’s support of new plays by living American writers, including Men in Boats, by Jaclyn Backhaus, which will be produced in July at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Foundation Announces March Grants and Gift

This month, the foundation is pleased to announce the following production grants and a gift:

  • A grant to Fractured Atlas, New York City, to support the production of Paula Kimper’s opera Patience & Sarah, A Pioneering Love Story. The new orchestration of the three-act opera will be presented by the Paula Kimper Ensemble in two staged concert performances on June 23 and 24 at The Players Theatre, 115 McDougal Street in Manhattan. The complete opera has not been publicly performed since its 1998 premiere.
  • A grant to Evolution Theatre Company of Columbus, Ohio, to support the production, later this year, of the play Abraham Lincoln Was a Faggot, by Bixby Elliot.
  • A gift to Houston Grand Opera to help defray expenses for the recording of the new opera Prince of Players, by Carlisle Floyd. The foundation had previously supported the world premiere production of the opera, mounted by the HGO earlier this month.