Monthly Archives: May 2016

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