Playwright Edward Albee named first recipient of Princeton/McCarter fellowship

Award-winning playwright Edward Albee has been named the first recipient of the Princeton University/McCarter Theatre Playwriting Fellowship.

The new theatrical initiative, funded by the Ford Foundation, will bring Albee to campus for several months beginning in fall 2007. While in residence, he will create a major new work that will be produced by McCarter. He also will teach in Princeton's Program in Theater and Dance.

"This fellowship program is a natural extension of the growing reciprocity between McCarter and Princeton and a model of how a professional theater and a university can work to mutual advantage," said Michael Cadden, director of the Program in Theater and Dance. "At a time when Princeton is committing to becoming a national leader in arts education, we're lucky to have Ford's encouragement to bring together the extraordinary resources of both organizations. Our students look forward to their dialogue with one of the most provocative minds in world theater."

Acclaimed by critics as "America's most important dramatist still writing," Albee first gained national attention in 1959 with his production of "The Zoo Story." He has won the Pulitzer Prize in drama for "A Delicate Balance," "Seascape" (currently playing on Broadway) and "Three Tall Women." He also has earned a Tony Award for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," "A Delicate Balance" (revival) and "The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?" He has been honored for his body of achievement with a gold medal from the Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a Kennedy Center Honor and a National Medal of Arts.

Albee is no stranger to Princeton's campus. He spent a short time on campus during the 1991-92 academic year as a Belknap Visitor through the University's Council of the Humanities. In 2002, he collaborated with McCarter Theatre Artistic Director Emily Mann on the production of his play, "All Over," and gave an address as part of the University's Public Lecture Series.

"Edward Albee acutely understands the function of art in a free society," Mann said. "As America's premier living playwright, he is also an incisive critic of American culture, and has dedicated much of his life to teaching the craft and art of writing for the stage. I can think of no one better to launch our partnership with Princeton University than Mr. Albee. The opportunity for Princeton University students to study with and observe a living legend and for McCarter audiences to witness the birth of a new Edward Albee play is a gift beyond measure."

Princeton President Shirley M. Tilghman, who in January announced an initiative to substantially increase support for the creative and performing arts at the University, added, "I am deeply indebted to Emily Mann and Michael Cadden, and to the Ford Foundation, for this wonderful collaboration that brings a playwright of Edward Albee's distinction to Princeton. This fellowship provides our students with an extraordinary opportunity to work with and learn from one of the finest playwrights writing for the theater today."