Forum Theatre, the Silver Spring-based company which brought such plays as The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Angels in America and Gidion’s Knot, among others, to DC over the last five years, has won a $12,000 National Theatre Company grant from the American Theatre Wing, ATW announced yesterday.
The grant, one of twelve which American Theatre Wing gave nationally, will be for general operating costs. The awards were given to companies between five and fifteen years old which “have articulated a distinctive mission, cultivated an audience, and nurtured a community of artists in ways that strengthen and demonstrate the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American theatre,” according to the ATW website.
Forum Theatre, now entering its 11th season, is particularly notable for its pay-what-you-want policy, which permits walk-ins to pay whatever they believe appropriate and can afford in order to see the company’s work. More broadly, Forum’s philosophy (which it calls “Forum for All”) is grounded in the belief that a theater’s art should be available to the community in which it is located.
“Forum for All is our philosophy that theatre should be and has to be accessible and affordable to everyone. It’s a belief that our theatre belongs to our community,” Artistic Director Michael Dove explained. “We are passionate about discourse and we want to ensure that everyone has a place in the room and a voice in the conversation. Access to theatre and the arts is a quality of life issue. It’s an integral part of society and should be enjoyed and open to all.
“The recognition from the American Theatre Wing is a tremendous honor,” he continued. “We are very proud of Forum For All and of the work we do in facilitating community discussions around our plays. To receive this award for these programs from such a prestigious organization is truly special. We have an incredibly talented and dedicated team at Forum and I share this with them.”
In addition to Forum, theaters from California, New York, Texas, Chicago, Michigan and Fargo, N.D. won grants.
The American Theatre Wing, in addition to giving the National Theatre Company grants, also awards the Tonys.