NEW VISIONS FELLOWSHIP
ANNOUNCING THE INAUGURAL RECIPIENTS: AYLA SULLIVAN AND NICK HADIKWA MWALUKO!
This Spring, National Queer Theater and the Dramatists Guild launched the New Visions Fellowship, an innovative new program for Black trans and gender non-conforming playwrights. The New Visions Fellowship is a rigorous year-long professional development initiative aimed at celebrating the brilliance of and uplifting Black TGNC writers in the face of the systemic exclusion that Black TGNC writers have endured within American theater.
We are so excited to award this fellowship to Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko (he/they) and Ayla Xuan Chi Sullivan (they/them). The program will be helmed by Black and Filipinx playwright Roger Q. Mason (they/them) along with Project Manager Jordan Stovall (they/them).
SUPPORT THIS PROGRAM
The New Visions Fellowship is an investment in the future – not only the future of the American theater but also the future of the writers whose lives it will change irrevocably. Your donations will help to ensure opportunity and access for the next generation of playwrights for the American Theatre.
“What excites me the most about this fellowship is that Black and Transgender creativity is at the forefront and heart of New Visions,” said playwright Ayla Xuan Chi Sullivan (They/Them). “I never want my Blackness and my Transness to be a fun fact about me: my identity is not a product to be bartered or questioned, it is integral to my creative life because my specific experience as a Black and Transgender person is inherently creative when I have to navigate how to ensure the expression and protection of my livelihood. To truly have that welcomed and celebrated in a professional landscape is a gift of resistance."
ABOUT AYLA SULLIVAN
Ayla Xuan Chi Sullivan (they/them) is a Black and Vietnamese, non-binary, interdisciplinary arts practitioner. They are an actor, a playwright, a director, a poet, an educator, and a co-founder of Shift 23 Media. They create and question the nature of performance through their desire to dismantle and disengage with the white supremacist commitment to the Hierarchy of Humanity. Sullivan’s work is often referred to as “love poems addressed to people in our community we are conditioned to forget”: Black, Indigenous, Asian, Queer and Trans People of Color, those experiencing homelessness, immigrants, and anyone who is (or has been) caged. In short, their politics begin and end with the Liberation of All Black People. Currently in Columbia University’s playwriting class of 2022, Sullivan is a budding new playwright of the Denver Metro Area. Their most recent production, Last Stop, was a semi-autobiographical, immersive nail salon experience at Denver’s Buntport Theatre. They also are the creator and star of You, Me, and the FAFSA (currently being taught in the television courses at Emerson College) and the short film D.A.M.E. They have also written librettos with composer Jack Frerer for the Arapahoe Philharmonic and the Albany Symphony. From 2016-2019, Sullivan served the Denver Metro Area as your second Denver Youth Poet Laureate. Their term ending Legacy Project brought Know Your Rights content to the youth of Denver by blending poetry with resources for police interactions.
ABOUT NICK HADIKWA MWALUKO
Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko (he/they): Plays include: Silence Is A Sound about intimate partner abuse with Black trans femminity; comedy Cock Tales for Christmas; 37, a Black lesbian duet; S.T.A.R: Marsha P. Johnson; queer fantasia Waafrika 123 (National Queer Theater); QTPOC trans masculine THEY/THEM/THEIRS; queer apocalyptic Homeless in the AfterLife; Blueprint for an African Lesbian; SH/Ero; Asymmetrical We; Brotherly Love; Trailer Park Tundra; Once A Man Always A Man; Mama Afrika; Queering MacBeth; Life Is About the Kill; That Day God Visits You; Ata; To Dyke Trans; Gayze; Good Grief; Pence At The Border & many more. Residencies: Nationally recognized Resident Playwright Initiative with Playwrights’ Foundation (SF, CA 2019-2023); Resilience and Development Writers’ Lab with Crowded Fire Theater Company in SF, CA (2017-2018); New York City’s EWG (Emerging Writers’ Group) at The Public Theater sponsored by Time Warner Co.; New York City’s Groundbreakers Group, Djerassi Artist Residency in northern CA, Freedom Train Productions, Ragged Wing Ensemble & more. Nick is a 2018 finalist for Africa’s Gerald Kraak Award. Nick graduated Magna Cum Laude at Columbia University in NYC for undergrad and completed an MFA at Columbia University as a Point Scholar, the nation’s largest LGBTQIA scholarship fund, and was awarded a Columbia University Fellowship for theater at the same time. Nick attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop thanks to a Norman Felton Fellowship. XXY Queer Africa: More Invisible, a companion essay to WAAFRIKA 1-2-3 published in Juked, was in Best American Essays 2020. Another essay, A Letter to My Gay Black Brother, was recently nominated for a Pushcart Award (results pending).
MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAM
The 2021 New Vision Fellowship playwrights will each be awarded $5,000, fully funded by National Queer Theater, to develop a play, musical, or performance experience of their design and choosing. We will host a professionally cast and directed reading of their play at the end of the program. They will also have the opportunity to participate in professional development sessions covering a wide range of artistic topics. In addition, they will receive a five-year complimentary membership to The Dramatists Guild including access to contracts, business advice, and career services, to help protect the artistic and economic integrity of their work.
“I believe in the power of queer storytelling to liberate all of humanity,” said playwright Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko (He/They). “To tell the full queer Black truth; to birth justice from queer realities. The New Visions Fellowship marries the power of queer Black storytelling to theatrical performance and, in so doing, champions the two greatest loves of my life.”