Thursday, March 1, 2012

Creative Placemaking Fellow John Pietrowski honored with state Fellowship

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts awarded the 2012 Individual Artist Fellowship grants totaling $182,600 to 22 New Jersey artists selected from more than 300 applicants in the categories of crafts, sculpture, photography, playwriting and poetry. John Pietrowski, Artistic Director for Playwrights Theatre, was named a winner in the playwriting category. John is part of the inaugural class of the Creative Placemaking Master Practitioner Certificate Program.

“Research has shown that in addition to helping us stay in touch with our humanity, creativity and imagination, the arts are a proven tool for community development and can be the powerful engine that drives the kind of sustainable economic growth New Jersey communities need,” said Ofelia Garcia, Arts Council Chair. “Artists are at the heart of this important work and it is the Council’s goal to encourage them, assist them to achieve their highest ambitions and help a wider public understand all that artists do to make New Jersey a better place.”

In his first public presentation, the Arts Council’s new executive director, Nicholas Paleologos, praised the Council and the Administration for their strong support for the arts as both “food for the soul and fuel for the economy.”

“It is a real honor to be selected by a jury of my peers, especially since the judging is handled anonymously by the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation,” said John Pietrowski. “Most of the teaching artists that work with Playwrights Theatre’s New Jersey Writers Project are past fellowship winners, and Cat Doty, a poet who works on the program also won this year, so I feel I am standing in good company.”

About John Pietrowski:
John Pietrowski has been at Playwrights Theatre since its inception twenty-five years ago, and in his current position for the past twenty years. As an actor, he has recently performed as Professor Schrag in David Wiltse’s Sedition, and has played Zeblyan in Seth Rozin’s Two Jews Walk into a War at Playwrights Theatre, NJRep in Long Branch and Shadowland Theatre in Ellenville, NY. He reprised the role of Zeblyan in April 2011 at InterAct Theatre in Philadelphia.

At Playwrights Theatre, most recently he directed Richard Dressser’s The Last Days of Mickey and Jean in a coproduction with The Bickford Theatre in Morristown and The Oldcastle Theatre in Bennington, VT. His latest directing project, Mother Hicks by Suzan L. Zeder is currently running at The Growing Stage in Netcong, NJ. He has directed the Premiere Productions of Mahida’s Extra Key to Heaven by Russell Davis, Augusta by Richard Dresser,  Rising Water by John Biguenet (coproduction with Shadowland Theatre), Where the Sun Never Sets by Robert Clyman, When Something Wonderful Ends by Sherry Kramer,  Whores by Lee Blessing, Big Boys by Rich Orloff and Spain by Jim Knable (all co-productions with NJ Rep), The Good Girl is Gone by D.W. Gregory, Foreign Exchange by Peter Hays, Sally’s Porch and Song of Grendelyn by Russell Davis, I See My Bones by Kitty Chen, Sister Calling My Name by Buzz McLaughlin and three shows in Rowing To America: The Immigrant Project.

He has directed Richard Dresser’s Rounding Third at What Exit? Theatre Company and Shadowland Theatre, More Fun than Bowling by Jeffrey Sweet at 12 Miles West Theatre and Midnight Cry, Our Dad Is in Atlantis and Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie at The Growing Stage in Netcong, Tammy Ryan’s Lost Boy Found in Whole Foods at Premiere Stages.  He has also directed Max McClean in productions of Acts of the Apostles, Mark’s Gospel, and Genesis at Playwrights Theatre, the latter piece also moving to productions at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland and the Lamb’s Theatre in NYC.

Other New York productions include readings of Song of Grendelyn by Russell Davis, at the Public Theatre and Alice’s Fourth Floor, as well as I See My Bones for Urban Stages. He has directed two radio plays for the WNYC Radio Stage Consortium, St. Joe’s Takes the Radio Stage and The Rehearsal, both of which have aired on National Public Radio. He also directed the stage adaptation of The Rehearsal, by J. Rufus Caleb, at the New Harmony Project.

His two plays Black Madonna and The Buda have been performed at Playwrights Theatre, Foundation Theatre, Loaves and Fish Theatre and Arts Club Theatre, and his most recent play, Dura Mater, was workshopped at Johns Hopkins in the fall of 2010. 
Mr. Pietrowski was also the Program Coordinator of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Theatre Program for Teachers and Playwrights from 1988-94. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Performance Studies Department, he also holds an Masters of Public Administration in non-profit management from Seton Hall University, where his master’s thesis became the basis for New Jersey’s Arts Education Census Project.He teaches theatre history and stage management at Fairleigh Dickinson University, and has taught at Drew University, Seton Hall, Kean University, and Bloomfield College. He is a member of the 2001 class of Leadership New Jersey, Secretary of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, Treasurer of the Madison Arts and Culture Alliance and the Treasurer of the National New Play Network.

About Playwrights Theatre:
Founded in 1986, Playwrights Theatre is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit professional theatre and arts education institution dedicated to developing and nurturing the dramatic imagination of artists, students, and audiences. Our New Play Program creates development opportunities for professional writers through readings, workshops and productions, and invites audiences to participate in authentic feedback experiences. Our New Jersey Writers Project, Poetry Out Loud, New Jersey Young Playwrights Contest and Festival, and Creative Arts Academy programs provide a comprehensive and hands-on arts education experience to over 31,000 students, Pre-K through adult.

Writers in the New Play Program are drawn from across the country, including our affiliation with the National New Play Network, a nation-wide group of theatres dedicated to the development and production of new work. Teaching Artists in our Education Programs are professional artists working in their field in the New Jersey, New York, and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. From 2003-2012, we have been designated a Major Arts Institution by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts (along with only four other theatres: The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, George Street Playhouse, McCarter Theatre Center and Paper Mill Playhouse) as “an anchor institution that contributes vitally to the quality of life in New Jersey.”

Funding for Playwrights Theatre activities comes from: the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the F.M. Kirby Foundation, Inc., Bank of America, Dramatist Guild Fund, Horizon Foundation of New Jersey, The Prudential Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Victoria Foundation, and many corporations, foundations and individuals.

Playwrights Theatre is a member of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance, the National New Play Network, and Madison Arts & Culture Alliance.

Note: The above information is from a press release distributed by Playwrights Theater, and used with the permission of John Pietrowski. 


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