Antaeus Theatre Company has selected writers Zola Dee and Marlow Wyatt for the company’s inaugural NEXT Commissions, a new play development initiative for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) playwrights. The commissions were created to amplify historically underrepresented voices and to broaden the scope of the classical theater canon.
An artist-driven theater company, Antaeus believes in the power and importance of storytellers as architects of culture and stewards of history. The purpose of NEXT is to nurture an inclusive generation of writers and support the creation of extraordinary new plays that will stand the test of time. NEXT, which launches with the commissioning of Dee and Wyatt, offers financial, dramaturgical and logistical support for the development of original, full-length works inspired by or in response to classic plays or historical events and figures.
Together with the Antaeus Playwrights Lab, which was established in 2014, NEXT is part of the company’s dual-pronged New Classics Initiative. Two original works from the Lab, The Abuelas and Eight Nights, were produced as part of the company’s 2019-20 season. During 2020-21, Antaeus produced and shared Lab members’ original plays through the acclaimed audio series, The Zip Code Plays: Los Angeles, which has been streamed over 60,000 times to-date. The goal is to produce NEXT-commissioned plays as part of an upcoming Antaeus season.
“We’ve been expanding our definition of “the classics” at Antaeus for many years now, having produced 20th century playwrights as well as new plays from our Lab,” note Antaeus artistic director Bill Brochtrup and producing executive director Ana Rose O’Halloran. “We’re excited to launch this new artistic initiative and thrilled to partner with Zola and Marlow, two extraordinary storytellers, as they craft these vital stories for the American theatrical canon.”