When we received the grant from the Noel Coward Foundation, completely new opportunities opened up to The Antaeus Academy. Building the playground for learning The Master as well as fostering a love of Coward in younger audiences were two goals we knew would enrich Antaeus’s mission and invigorate us as we leapt into our first full season. The Antaeus Academy studies Coward among the British Classics, but rarely are able to involve its members in such an immersion. When Jeanie Hackett, Artistic Director of both the Company and Academy, hatched the idea to expand the scope of the grant by creating a mentorship for young directors as well, the project took on a new energy. I personally have the privilege of experiencing a mentorship simply by working at Antaeus and assisting the moderators in our Academy classes, but many new directors are left on their own.
In addition, the grant allowed us rare opportunities to experiment with outreach and programming around plays that we knew would reach beyond generations. Each play in The Young Idea hinges on one specific conflict: how can younger people’s ideals evolve & prosper when they are caught in the very world which suffocates their parents? Sorel and Simon Bliss play out their frustration within the very games their parents created; Dora & Stevie Shattock must deceive their parents to save all their lives; and John Whittaker melts into a little boy in full view of his wordly wife after being with his parents for barely a month.
In this time of online, open communication, Noel Coward clearly proves that accepting new ideas and valuing the old is the best road forward. We thank the Noel Coward Foundation for the chance to infuse our contemporary voice into his classical themes and hope you will join us in celebrating The Master, Noel Coward, during the weekend of The Young Idea!
-Cindy Marie Jenkins, Artistic Associate of The Antaeus Company