Thursday, March 22 , 2018, 8:55 pm | Light Rain Fog/Mist 57º


PCPA Receives National Endowment for Arts Grant

PCPA (Pacific Conservatory Theatre) has been awarded a $10,000 Arts Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Selected from among performing arts companies across the country, PCPA was one of 133 organizations to receive national recognition for its work from the NEA. Art Works made a total of $3,960,000 in theater and musical grants to the 133 groups.

The NEA grant will provide support for PCPA’s production of Fences (Sept. 15-Oct. 1) through residencies for actor Derrick Lee Weeden, as Troy Maxson, and director Timothy Bond.

The grant also funds Bond and Weeden to instruct master classes for PCPA’s Conservatory programs, YPP Fall Intensives; to lead workshops in partnership with local high schools; and to participate in public talk-back sessions and pre-show interviews.

Weeden, who appeared as a guest artist earlier this year in PCPA’s production of The Whipping Man, also displayed his talent as one of America’s finest classical actors in the title role of PCPA’s 2013 production of Cyrano de Bergerac.

Weeden also has spent 22 seasons at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, playing iconic roles such as Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, Prospero in The Tempest and Brutus in Julius Caesar.

He has also performed as well at Shakespeare Theatre Company, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Bond is a professor at University of Washington School of Drama and was recently the producing artistic director of Syracuse Stage and the Syracuse University Department of Drama.

In Syracuse, Bond and created partnerships with 11 theater companies, including Seattle Rep, Portland Center Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, plus South Africa's two leading theaters: The Baxter Theater and The Market Theater.

He has directed and served in artistic leadership roles across the nation, including at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Seattle Group Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre, Arena Stage, and Actors Theatre of Louisville.

“We are thrilled to be presenting August Wilson’s masterpiece Fences with two of America’s most illustrious artists.” said Mark Booher, artistic director.

“Support from the NEA will allow our students and community to have access to Mr. Weeden and Mr. Bond — to see their transformative work and to engage with them as artists both at the play and in the classroom," Booher said.

"PCPA’s terrific resident company and long-standing relationship with the diverse communities of the Central Coast, together with the special support from this venerable federal agency, will enable many to have access to these nationally recognized artists,” he said.

"We have an opportunity to start a new dialogue on the ways in which the arts — and the ways the NEA supports the arts — are an essential component of our everyday lives," said Jane Chu, NEA chair.

"Although many may not realize it, the arts actively intersect with areas such as the economy, human development, and community vitality," she said.

"The arts and artists who are funded and supported by the NEA are an integral part of the solution to the challenges we face in all parts of our society," Chu said. 

The NEA refers to the Art Works grants as “the center of everything we do at the NEA,” Chu said.

The grant centers on three things, she said: “the works of art themselves, the ways art works on audiences, and the fact that art is work for the artists and arts professionals who make up the field.

"Art works by enhancing the value of individuals and communities, by connecting us to each other and to something greater than ourselves, and by empowering creativity and innovation in our society and economy," Chu said.

"The arts exist for beauty itself, but they also are an inexhaustible source of meaning and inspiration,” she said.

As the Central Coast’s resident professional theatrer company, PCPA produces 7-9 shows annually at three theaters in Santa Maria and Solvang. For tickets and more information, visit

— Craig Shafer for PCPA.

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