These community events in March and April lead us into this year’s Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration, culminating with the annual HGP Dinner on April 10th, recognizing 2022 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner, composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón.
February 1, 2022 (Sarasota County, Florida) — Three recent Hermitage Greenfield Prize (HGP) winners – Martyna Majok (2018), Helga Davis (2019), and Aleshea Harris (2021) return to Sarasota this spring to present their work and speak about their creative process.
First, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and 2018 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner Martyna Majok presents “Building a Play: Exploring the Playwright-Director Collaboration.” This will be a conversation on the Hermitage Beach, moderated by Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO Andy Sandberg, featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Martyna Majok and her collaborator on the HGP commission, director Caitlin Sullivan – Friday, March 4th at 5:30pm. Last year, Majok offered Hermitage audiences an early virtual preview of her commission, featuring Tony nominee Marin Ireland. Here, Majok shares the continuation of the play’s journey.
Next up, the Hermitage, in collaboration with EnsembleNewSRQ and New College of Florida, presents the live Sarasota premiere of “Ocean Body,” the commissioned work from 2019 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner and composer, vocalist, and performance artist Helga Davis, along with her collaborators Shara Nova and Mark DeChiazza on Saturday, March 19th at 6pm. Davis and her creative colleagues shared a virtual sneak peek of her work last year; this is the further culmination of their work, presented live at the Hermitage. This will also be available virtually to allow greater accessibility to a wider audience.
Then in April, to kick off a weekend of events celebrating the Hermitage Greenfield Prize, award-winning playwright, author of What to Send Up When It Goes Down, and 2021 HGP recipient Aleshea Harris presents “A Theater Maker’s Year: What ‘Went Down’” on Friday, April 8th at 6pm. Harris’ commission is expected in 2023. Meanwhile, she has had an extraordinary season of plays premiering in New York, London, and more.
Further details and descriptions of these events can be found below. Additional events surrounding the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Weekend will be announced at a later date.
“We are thrilled to welcome back these three distinguished artists and recent Hermitage Greenfield Prize recipients,” said Andy Sandberg, Hermitage Artistic Director and CEO. “Martyna, Helga, and Aleshea are passionate and visionary creators who give us hope for the future, and their innovative works exemplify the mission of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize — to bring into the world works of art that have a significant impact on the broad as well as the artistic culture of our society.”
Each year, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, in collaboration with the Philadelphia-based Greenfield Foundation, grants a $30,000 commission and a six-week residency at the Hermitage’s historic beachfront property to a distinguished artist, rotating each year in the disciplines of music, theater, and visual art. The 2022 Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner, composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón will be celebrated at the Hermitage Greenfield Prize Dinner on Sunday, April 10th at 6pm at Michael’s On East in Sarasota. The Hermitage Greenfield Prize Celebration is presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County serving as Lead Community Sponsor. Co-Chairs for this event will be Carole Crosby and Sondra Biller. Capacity will be limited to accommodate safe social-distancing practices, and additional health and safety measures are anticipated for this event. Tables and sponsorships now available; additional information can be found at HermitageArtistRetreat.org.
In addition to the Hermitage Greenfield Prize, the Hermitage recently introduced the annual Hermitage Major Theater Award (HMTA), newly established to recognize a playwright or theater artist with a $35,000 commission to create a new, original, and impactful piece of theater. Playwright and director Radha Blank (The Forty-Year-Old Version on Netflix) was named the inaugural recipient of the Hermitage Major Theater Award in December of 2021.
For more information about the Hermitage, the Hermitage Greenfield Prize, and upcoming Hermitage programs, visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org.
Most Hermitage’s programs are free and open to the public with a $5/person registration fee. Hermitage programs are presented outdoors unless otherwise noted. Due to capacity limitations and social distancing, registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org.
See below for complete program details and artist bios.
The Hermitage hosts artists on its Gulf Coast Manasota Key campus for multi-week residencies, where diverse artists from around the world and across multiple disciplines create and develop new works of theater, music, visual art, literature, and more. As part of their residencies, Hermitage Fellows participate in free community programs, offering audiences in the region a unique opportunity to engage with some of the world’s leading artists and to get an authentic “sneak peek” into extraordinary projects and artistic minds before their works go on to major galleries, concert halls, theaters, and museums around the world. These free and innovative programs include performances, lectures, readings, interactive experiences, open studios, school programs, teacher workshops, and more, serving thousands in our regional community each year.
The newly announced program descriptions:
- “Building a Play: Exploring the Playwright-Director Collaboration”: A Conversation with Pulitzer Prize and Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner Martyna Majok, and Stage Director Caitlin Sullivan, Friday, March 4, 5:30pm. Shortly before winning the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2018, Martyna Majok was awarded the prestigious Hermitage Greenfield Prize, which includes a commission to develop a new work that will have significant impact on the broad as well as the artistic culture of our time. Hear from the playwright and her director, Caitlin Sullivan, in a conversation moderated by Hermitage Artistic Director Andy Sandberg about the director-playwright relationship in developing new work and the journey of this commission, which explores the infamous Chernobyl explosion and its human impact. This event is presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Martyna Majok’s Hermitage Residency generously sponsored by Terry Brackett. Registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org ($5/person registration fee). The Hermitage Beach, 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, Florida 34223.
- “Ocean Body”: The Live Premiere of the Commission from 2019 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner Helga Davis, Saturday, March 19, 6pm. Inspired by the deep friendship between Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner Helga Davis and her collaborator Shara Nova, and forged on the beach of Manasota Key, “Ocean Body” is a multi-disciplinary exploration of the ties that bind us all. Inhabiting a living sculpture that unites Helga and Shara and surrounded by projections of the vast ocean, the debut of this commission premieres in an innovative musical and visual experience, enhanced by live music and a diverse chorus of voices. This event is presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, EnsembleNewSRQ, and New College of Florida. Registration is required at HermitageArtistRetreat.org ($5/household registration fee for virtual, streaming access; A limited number of in-person tickets available for $25). The Hermitage Palm House Studio (indoors*), 6660 Manasota Key Road, Englewood, Florida 34223 (Also available via Live-Stream). *Please note: This will be the first indoor event in the Hermitage’s season, and #SafeArtsSarasota protocols will be followed.
- “A Theater Maker’s Year: What ‘Went Down’” with Playwright & Hermitage Greenfield Prize-Winner Aleshea Harris, Friday, April 8, 6pm. To launch this year’s Hermitage Greenfield Prize celebration, 2021 recipient Aleshea Harris returns to Sarasota to share her theatrical journey over the past year and the latest plans for her commission. Focused on the lives of two black men a century apart, both subject to confinement and surveillance at the hands of western civilization, her work seeks to honor tragedy without losing sight of the levity that just might light a way forward. This event is presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. This event will take place in Sarasota, with additional details and location specifics to be announced. Registration will be open for this event in the coming weeks.
About the Hermitage Artist Retreat:
The Hermitage is a non-profit artist retreat located in Manasota Key, Florida, inviting accomplished artists across multiple disciplines for residencies on its beachfront campus, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Hermitage artists are invited to interact with the local community, reaching thousands of Gulf Coast residents and visitors each year with unique and inspiring programs. Hermitage Fellows have included 14 Pulitzer Prize winners, Poets Laureate, MacArthur ‘Genius’ Fellows, and multiple Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar winners and nominees. Works created at this beachside retreat by a diverse group of Hermitage alumni have gone on to renowned theaters, concert halls, and galleries throughout the world. Each year, the Hermitage awards the $30,000 Hermitage Greenfield Prize for a new work of art, the newly announced $35,000 Hermitage Major Theater Award for an original theater commission, and the Aspen Music Festival’s Hermitage Prize in Composition.
For more information, visit HermitageArtistRetreat.org.
The Hermitage is supported by:
Hermitage programs are supported, in part, by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; by Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax Revenues; and by the Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council of Arts and Culture and the State of Florida (Section 286.25 Florida Statutes), as well as the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
The Hermitage Greenfield Prize is presented annually in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County as the lead Community Sponsor.
PREVIOUSLY ANNOUNCED HERMITAGE PROGRAMS:
Friday, Feb 11 @ 5pm, Hermitage @ Booker: “Pen to Paper” with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Paula Vogel (Live at Booker High School)
Presented in partnership with Booker High School and Florida Studio Theatre
Paula Vogel’s Hermitage Residency generously sponsored by Liz and Duncan Richardson
Wednesday, Feb 16 @ 5:30 pm, “Unscripted 2.0” with Hermitage Fellow, Poet, and Storyteller Hannah Hasan (Live on the Lawn at Van Wezel Hall)
Presented in partnership with the Van Wezel Foundation
Friday, Feb 18 @ 5:30pm, “Say Their Names,” with Hermitage Fellow Matthew Evan Taylor (Live on the Hermitage Beach)
Presented in partnership with Manasota ASALH
Thursday, Feb 24 @ 6pm, Hermitage Sunsets @ Selby Gardens: “Violin: Dope, Honest, & Evolved,” with Hermitage Fellow Lady Jess (Live at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Downtown Campus)
Presented in partnership with Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Friday, Feb 25 @ 5:30pm, Hermitage Artists & Thinkers: “Theater Today: Process & Production,” with Tony Award-Winning Broadway Producer Tom Kirdahy (Live at the Town Center of Longboat Key)
Friday, Mar 4, 5:30pm, “Building a Play: Exploring the Playwright-Director Collaboration”: A Conversation with Pulitzer Prize and Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner Martyna Majok, and Stage Director Caitlin Sullivan (Live on the Hermitage Beach)
Presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation and Community Foundation of Sarasota County
Martyna Majok’s Hermitage Residency generously sponsored by Terry Brackett
Saturday, Mar 19, 6pm, “Ocean Body”: The Live Premiere of the Commission from 2019 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner Helga Davis (Live at the Hermitage Palm House Studio / Virtual, Streaming Event)
Presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, EnsembleNewSRQ, and New College of Florida
Friday, Apr 8, 6pm, “A Theater Maker’s Year: What ‘Went Down’” with Playwright & Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner Aleshea Harris (Downtown Sarasota Location TBD; Not Yet Open for Registration)
Presented in partnership with the Greenfield Foundation and Community Foundation of Sarasota County
COMPLETE ARTIST BIOS
Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner Martyna Majok was born in Bytom, Poland and raised in Jersey and Chicago. She was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play, Cost of Living. Other plays include Sanctuary City, Queens, and Ironbound, which have been produced across American and international stages. Other awards include The Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding New Play, the Hermitage Greenfield Prize (as the first female recipient in theater), The Champions of Change Award from the NYC Mayor’s Office, The Francesca Primus Prize, two Jane Chambers Playwriting Awards, The Lanford Wilson Prize, The Lilly Award’s Stacey Mindich Prize, Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play from The Helen Hayes Awards, Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, ANPF Women’s Invitational Prize, David Calicchio Prize, Global Age Project Prize, NYTW 2050 Fellowship, NNPN Smith Prize for Political Playwriting, and Merage Foundation Fellowship for The American Dream. Majok studied at Yale School of Drama, Juilliard, and the University of Chicago. She was a 2012–2013 NNPN playwright-in-residence, the 2015–2016 PoNY Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center, and a 2018–2019 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University. Majok is currently writing a musical adaptation of The Great Gatsby, with music by Florence Welch and Thomas Bartlett, and developing an original series for HBO based on her play, Queens. She lives in New York City.
Caitlin Sullivan is a New York-based director and theater-maker. Her recent work has been presented by Ars Nova, New Georges, New Ohio Theater, WP Theater, Danspace, Fuesebox Festival, the Drama League, On the Boards, and Seattle Repertory Theatre. Other associations include New York Theatre Workshop, LCT3, Manhattan Theatre Club, and ZSpace. Sullivan is the Associate Director of Hundred Days and The Lucky Ones (by The Bengsons and Sarah Gancher, dir. Anne Kauffman) and the Resident Director for the Hundred Days tour. Before moving to New York, Sullivan co-founded Seattle’s critically acclaimed Satori Group. As Artistic Director, she created and/or directed seven original works. Sullivan spent several summers as the Artistic Director of the Williams College Summer Theatre Lab, where she developed new work with Martyna Majok, The Bengsons, Mallery Avidon, Dipika Guha, and Caroline McGraw. In addition to Williams, she has worked as a teacher and director at Rutgers University, Cornish College of the Arts, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and the National Theater Institute. Born and raised in Boston (Dorchester!), MA, Sullivan is a graduate of Williams College, an alumna of the Drama League Directors Project and Next Stage Artist Residency, a member of the New Georges Jam, and a New Georges Affiliate Artist. She is a collaborator of 2018 Hermitage Greenfield Prize Winner Martyna Majok.
Winner of the 2019 Hermitage Greenfield Prize, Helga Davis is a composer, vocalist, and performance artist with feet planted on the most prestigious international stages and with firm roots in the realities and concerns of her local community. She was principal actor in the 25th anniversary revival of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’s seminal opera Einstein on the Beach. Among the collaborations and works written for her are Oceanic Verses by Paola Prestini, You Us We All by Shara Nova and Andrew Ondrejcak, and Faust’s Box by Italian contemporary music composer Andrea Liberovici. The renowned theater director and visual artist Robert Wilson describes her as “a united whole, with spellbinding inner power and strength.” Davis also starred in Wilson’s The Temptation of St. Anthony, with libretto and score by Bernice Johnson Reagon; and The Blue Planet, by Peter Greenaway. She is the recipient of the 2014 BRIC Media Arts Fireworks Grant and completed her first evening-length piece, Cassandra. Current projects include Silent Voices with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus with text by Hilton Als; Requiem for a Tuesday with bass-baritone Davóne Tines and dancer/choreographer Reggie Gray; and Yet Unheard, a tribute to Sandra Bland by Courtney Bryan, based on the poem by Sharan Strange. Davis conceived and performed First Responder and Wanna as responses to Until and The Let Go by multidisciplinary artist Nick Cave. Davis is artist-in-residence at National Sawdust, host of the eponymous podcast HELGA on WQXR/New Sounds, and was the 2018–19 visiting curator for the performing arts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Shara Nova has released five albums under the moniker ‘My Brightest Diamond’ and composed works for yMusic, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, Brooklyn Rider, Nadia Sirota, and Roomful of Teeth, among others. Her orchestrations have been performed by the Aarhus Symfoni, North Carolina Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, and the BBC Concert orchestra. Nova is a Kresge fellow, a Carolina Performing Arts Creative Futures fellow, a Knights Grant recipient, and a United States Artists fellow. She is a collaborator of 2019 Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner Helga Davis.
Mark DeChiazza is a director whose multifaceted practice encompasses filmmaking, choreography, scenic and media design, and installation. His work has been presented in national and international venues including Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center, John F. Kennedy Center of the Arts, Guthrie Theater, Singapore International Festival of Arts, Les Subsistances, and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art. He is a collaborator of 2019 Hermitage Greenfield Prize winner Helga Davis.
Aleshea Harris is the 2021 recipient of the Hermitage Greenfield Prize, awarded in the discipline of theater. Her play Is God Is (directed by Taibi Magar at Soho Rep) won the 2016 Relentless Award, an OBIE Award for playwriting in 2017, and the Helen Merrill Playwriting Award in 2019. It was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and made The Kilroys’ List of “the most recommended un and underproduced plays by trans and female authors of color” for 2017. What to Send Up When It Goes Down (directed by Whitney White, produced by The Movement Theatre Company), a play-pageant-ritual response to anti-Blackness, had its critically acclaimed New York City premiere in 2018, and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award, with additional productions in 2021 at BAM and Playwrights Horizons. Harris was awarded the Windham-Campbell Literary Prize and the Steinberg Playwriting Award in 2020. She has performed her own work at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; Orlando Fringe Festival; REDCAT, as part of La Fête du Livre at La Comèdie de Saint-Étienne; and Skirball Center in Los Angeles. She is a two-time MacDowell Fellow and has enjoyed residencies at Hedgebrook, Djerassi, and she is now a Hermitage Fellow.