NPN Announces Fall 2020 Development Fund Awards


October 23, 2020  •  3 minute read

Photo from Open Dance Project, All the Devils are Here: A Tempest in the Galapagos
Open Dance Project, All the Devils are Here: A Tempest in the Galapagos. Dancers Joshua De Alba, Brittany Deveau, and Joseph Stevens. Photo: Lynn Lane.

The National Performance Network (NPN) is pleased to announce it is awarding $35,000 and leveraging an additional $94,560 through the Fall 2020 Development Fund to further support four NPN Creation Fund projects. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, NPN is supporting additional Development Fund awards for all Creation Fund projects awarded in 2020, reflecting its commitment to continuing to support the live arts through projects that advance racial justice and cultural equity.

The Development Fund, which is phase 2 of NPN’s Creation & Development Fund (CDF), helps offset managerial, artistic, or technical needs when developing a work. These needs can include supporting technical residencies, building or deepening community engagement, relationship building, storytelling, or studio time to adapt a work for travel.

NPN’s approach to artistic support is built on the notions of partnership and long-term relationship building. NPN actively strives to expand the capacities and connectivity of its constituents. The Development Fund is structured to maximize these goals. Artists can apply independently or as a team with a co-commissioner of their choosing, depending on the needs of the project.

The next Development Fund deadline will be March 12, 2021.

The Creation & Development Fund is made possible with support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency), and co-commissioners.


Fall 2020 Development Fund Recipients

Due to the pandemic, projects descriptions and timelines may shift.


Ananya Dance Theatre (Minneapolis, MN) — Dastak (Knocking) / Agun (Fire)
Co-commissioner: UtahPresents (Salt Lake City, UT)

Conceived in four sections—Fire, Earth, Air, Water—this work explores the search for home and belonging as a deeply personal and intimate part of larger questions of racial and cultural justice. In times of pandemic, mass migration, political and economic devastation, capitalist empire-building, war, environmental crisis, and communities displaced by the Uprising following George Floyd’s murder, this work utilizes dance as a reminder of shared humanity. Its title, Dastak, means “knocking” in Farsi and refers to those who are knocking on the doors of justice. 

The Development Fund will allow this work, which was developed via Zoom and physically distanced outdoor rehearsals, to be rehearsed in a theater setting for the first time. It will also fund development of model outreach and educational activities to be used during the production’s tour.


Adil Mansoor (Pittsburgh, PA) — Amm(i)gone
Co-commissioner: The Theater Offensive (Boston, MA)

Amm(i)gone, an adaptation of Sophocles’s Antigone, is an apology to and from a mother. Creator and performer Adil Mansoor explores queerness and kinship using this canonical text, teachings from the Quran, and audio conversations between him and his mother. The performance is Mansoor’s live attempt to reconcile his conflicting experience as a theater artist, queer educator, and momma’s boy that will resonate with anyone who has loved someone with resoundingly different beliefs.

The Development Fund will support a remote digital developmental residency and a work-in-progress performance.


Open Dance Project (Houston, TX) — All the Devils Are Here: A Tempest in the Galapagos
Co-commissioner: DiverseWorks (Houston, TX)

Colliding Shakespeare’s The Tempest with a 1929 unsolved murder in the Galapagos, this immersive dance theater performance explores issues of power, gender, health, and climate change. The work will invite its audience to explore a rich multimedia tableau consisting of archival footage, journals, letters, weather maps, and environmental recordings.

The Development Fund will support both in-studio and community-based development of the work through an interactive community workshop and a series of public programs to gain feedback and insight from specific communities.


Tracy Murrell (Atlanta, GA) — Mache Nan Soulye (Walking in Your Shoes) . . . Exploring Haitian Migration

Exploring the forces that sparked the movement of Haitians on an alternate route to the US, this multimedia work will feature the perspectives of women journeying through the Caribbean, South and Central America, and Mexico. Told through images and stories, it aims to serve as both a powerful counter-narrative to the immigration story and a testament to the universality of migration as a shared experience. 

The Development Fund will support a reimagining of the work’s form by funding creative consultancy sessions with the multimedia firm Rabbit Raccoon and as well as a virtual development residency at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences in Rabun Gap, GA.