The second annual Theatre Alumni Writing Studio at Flying Point took place last week at the beautiful estate of George and Joan Hornig in the Hamptons.
The Sundance Institute Theatre Program is a core component of The Sundance Institute, also known for its annual film festival founded by Robert Redford. The Theatre Program encompasses labs and retreats across the country, as well as Africa and the Middle East, focusing solely on the development of new work for the stage.
On the evening of Saturday, April 18th, over 40 invited guests, gathered in the Hornig’s beautiful art barn to hear readings, and have an intimate and open dialogue with the writers, as well as enjoy an informal dinner in a unique and inspiring setting.
The Hornig’s have expressed their appreciation for what artists need as simply a “retreat” … a place to put pen to paper; to get away from their regular routines, and maybe to work with renewed force; and therefore have opened their home for a full week to five “Fellows,” all alumni of previous Sundance Theater Labs. Along with Philip Himberg, the Program’s Artistic Director, Christopher Hibma, Producing Director, and Iyvon Edebiri, Producing Coordinator, they have all come together in the Hamptons for seven days of collaboration, running lines, shared meals, nature walks, taking in the local beaches, and an occasional ping-pong game.
As Joan Hornig stated, the decision to host the theatre lab literally in their backyard was a simple one, and she asked only one thing of them. “I ask that they be comfortable and well-cared for,” said Hornig. “I don’t bother them because I am not here, I ask them to be a voice for the whole program; nothing has to be finished, I gave them no assignments, Sundance gave them no assignments, this was their time to use.”
By the end of the week, “fellow” playwrights, Adam Bock, Frances Cowhig, Liz Flahive, Ellen McLaughlin and Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage, each had a work-in-progress—one that perhaps, would have been nearly impossible to complete within their day-to-day routines.
The readings and dinner was a way to introduce the program to the local community. Among the guests who were treated to this unique evening were artists, musicians, industry professionals, journalists and East End locals.
The Sundance Institute Theatre Program, champions theatre artists and their plays as a source of vital,
challenging, and diverse ideas in society. The Program aims to provide opportunities rarely available to contemporary artists, to support these artists throughout their careers, and ultimately contribute to a meaningful dialogue between artists and audiences.
For more information, visit www.sundance.org.