New York’s Irish Repertory Theatre and Dublin’s Fishamble: The New Play Company have announced their first collaboration, the 2022 Transatlantic Commissions Program, a new endeavor that aims to address head-on the historical inequalities in representation that have existed in the theatrical canon. Together, Fishamble and Irish Rep have commissioned four Black Irish artists and writers of color to work with a mentor over the coming year to create new works that will be presented by Fishamble in Dublin and Irish Rep in New York.
The inaugural cohort comprises Kwaku Fortune, Jade Jordan, Felispeaks, and CN Smith. These writers will spend the next year working under the mentorship of the Obie Award-winning playwright and Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith. Orlandersmith adds, “I am thrilled to be a part of the Diaspora of new work and new voices. It’s a privilege.” Works by these playwrights will be workshopped and presented in public readings in Dublin and New York in early 2023.
Maureen Kennelly, Director of The Arts Council, said:
“The Arts Council is committed to ensuring that the arts landscape is more reflective of Ireland in all its diversity and we are delighted to support this collaborative programme. Increased diversity and equality in the arts makes a richer creative arena for everyone and we look forward to the development and performance of these new works.”
Helena Nolan, Consul General of Ireland in New York, added:
“We are delighted to support the Irish Repertory Theatre and this important new commissioning project in partnership with Dublin’s Fishamble: The New Play Company. Both theatres play an integral role in their communities and I am particularly proud to see them investing in the careers of under-represented playwrights from Ireland, whose voices deserve to be heard both in Ireland and in the United States.”