Theater Professor Meade Receives Honors
Adjunct assistant professor of theater Laural Meade ’88 has received two national awards for the high caliber of her work – recognition that will help her write new plays.
Together with Corey Madden and Keith Mitchell, Meade is the recipient of one of 38 MAP (Multi-Arts Production Fund) grants for the development of new work for live performance. (Madden is a long-time collaborator of Meade’s who was the associate artistic director of the Mark Taper Forum for 22 years. Mitchell is a set designer.) She will use the grant to develop a theater piece called “Rock, Paper, Scissors” with Childsplay Theater in Tempe, Arizona.
In addition, Meade was inducted into the Minneapolis Playwrights’ Center as a “core writer.” As such, she will receive production support to develop new work and test it on audiences over the next three years.
“It's great to be in the company of such distinguished writers and artists, and always gratifying to be recognized for your work,” Meade said. “In a cultural climate where arts funding is increasingly scarce -- especially funding for theater -- it's also reassuring. These honors mean that my current projects will definitely have a life on stage in the next year.”
Meade describes “Rock, Paper, Scissors” as an entirely non-verbal performance that follows a very young and very old character who are cut off from their technological “crutches.” Faced with boredom, they begin exploring plain white paper and ultimately create their own imaginative adventure. She is currently developing the script and will rehearse the piece in residence at Childsplay in January. It will then tour throughout Arizona until June.
In Minneapolis, the Playwrights’ Center staff will develop Meade’s plays in workshops, introduce her work to like-minded theaters and artists, have her out for master classes, and “generally be in my corner,” she says. The first project will be a residency in March of next year to work on her new play, “The Suffragist Roadshow,” a semi-fictionalized account of a group of activists who took a cross-country road trip in 1915 to gather signatures on a petition for national suffrage. The play is staged entirely in and around a 1915 Chrysler touring car. It was performed in a workshop production in Occidental’s Hillside Theater last semester.
“I love working with our students on new plays,” Meade said. “Minneapolis will be an excellent opportunity to work on the next draft and have the play seen by other regional theaters.”
The MAP program is a joint funding initiative of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Doris Duke Foundation. The core writer program at the Playwrights’ Center is considered one of the nation’s most competitive and rewarding opportunities for emerging writers in the field today.
Meade works as a playwright, director, and educator in her native Los Angeles. Her plays have been seen throughout Los Angeles, as well as in New York at PACE University and the Hangar Theater, in Chicago at the Bailiwick, in Seattle at On The Boards, and in London at LAMDA.