With major support from 068 Magazine, Thrown Stone Theatre Company has launched the 068 Magazine Playwriting Fellowship and named its first fellow, Phanésia Pharel. The six-month fellowship will begin February 1, and include a stipend, developmental funds, and workshops in support of the playwright’s new material.
Ms. Pharel wrote the sensational new play, Should We Dance Instead?, for Thrown Stone’s 2021 season, The Suburbs. The play resurrects Ned and Betsy Armstrong — the now-famous operators of the Ridgefield Underground Railroad — in today’s world, where their family homestead is on the market for $28 million. Performed on the front lawn of the West Lane Inn, Ms. Pharel’s visionary story depicted the Armstrongs reclaiming their moral legacy and more importantly, their own happiness. BroadwayWorld said the play “brilliantly blends history, spirituality, and creativity.”
“Earlier this fall, we got the tragic news of the sudden closure of The Lark, a developmental theatre company in New York that has been instrumental in supporting the work of hundreds of playwrights, including Thrown Stone collaborators Jacqueline Goldfinger, Molly Smith Metzler, and Anna Moench,” said Thrown Stone Co-Artistic Director Jason Peck. “Then we learned that Phanésia had been a finalist for The Lark’s 2022 New Voices Fellowship when the company folded.”
“This program’s dissolution leaves some of the best and brightest new talents without crucial early-career support,” added Co-Artistic Director Jonathan Winn. “We were fortunate to give Ms. Pharel her first professional production, and with major support from 068 Magazine, we have created our own fellowship for this talented playwright.”
“The Lark was an immeasurable loss for playwrights seeking an invigorating theatrical community to fortify their craft,” said Ms. Pharel. “In my experience Thrown Stone excels in pushing the envelope artistically while offering an uplifting and life-giving production process. The opportunity to develop my work extensively with an organization that spurred one of the best artistic moments I’ve had thus far makes me feel blissfully blessed! I am so excited to see the work that comes out of this opportunity and the ability to connect with the lovely Ridgefield community further.”
With the help of 068 Magazine, the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut, and its board of directors, Thrown Stone has secured over half of the necessary funding for the fellowship — enough to proceed on February 1.
“068 Magazine strives to bring the best of arts, culture and people to the 068 area,” said Owner Dee Dee Colabella. “068 Magazine supports the creative organizations and talent found everywhere in our community and cannot wait to see what Ms. Pharel creates.”
“The Fellowship fits perfectly within the overarching goals we have to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in our work,” says Lisa Scails, Executive Director of the Cultural Alliance of Western Connecticut. “We’re excited about this new and timely opportunity and proud to support it.”