Santa Maria, CA – PCPA – Pacific Conservatory Theatre was 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. The grant will provide support for PCPA’s production of Fences (September 15-October 1) through residencies for actor Derrick Lee Weeden, as Troy Maxson, and director Timothy Bond. The grant also funds both Bond and Weeden to instruct master classes for PCPA’s Conservatory programs, YPP Fall Intensives, and to lead workshops in partnership with local high schools, and to participate in public talk-back sessions and pre-show interviews.

Derrick Lee Weeden, who appeared as a guest artist earlier this year in PCPA’s production of The Whipping Man, also substantiated his repute as one of America’s finest classical actors in the title role of PCPA’s 2013 production of Cyrano de Bergerac. In addition to his past appearances at PCPA, Weeden 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. Weeden has also performed at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

Timothy Bond is currently 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. While in Syracuse, Bond directed 15 productions and created partnerships with 11 prestigious theatre companies, including Seattle Rep, Portland Center Stage, Woolly Mammoth Theatre, McCarter Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, as well as the two leading theaters in South Africa: 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 Artistic Director Mark Booher. “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. 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.”

NEA Chairperson, Jane Chu 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,” Although many may not realize it, the arts actively intersect with areas such as the economy, human development, and community vitality. 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.”  

The NEA refers to the Art Works grants as “the center of everything we do at the NEA.” The grant centers on three things: “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. The arts exist for beauty itself, but they also are an inexhaustible source of meaning and inspiration.” In the spring of 2017, Art Works granted $3,960,000 in Theater and Musical Theatre grants to 133 organizations.

For 53 years, PCPA – Pacific Conservatory Theatre, has brought professional theatre to its stages on the California Central Coast and infused the national theatre scene with thousands of trained actors and theatre technicians. As the Central Coast’s resident professional theatre company, PCPA produces 7-9 shows each year in three theatres in Santa Maria and Solvang, CA.

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