Awardee: Rachel Chavkin

Performing Arts, 2013

Rachel Chavkin is two-time Obie Award-winning and Drama Desk nominated director, educator and the founding Artistic Director of the TEAM, for whom she has directed/co-authored eight works, including Mission Drift, a musical composed by downtown artist Heather Christian that travels through 400 year of history in pursuit of the soul of American capitalism, co-produced by New York’s PS122, Lisbon’s Culturgest, and London’s Almeida Theatre (Winner 2011 Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Prize, Scotsman Fringe First, Herald Angel, Best of 2011 The Guardian), Architecting (co-produced by the National Theatre of Scotland, Winner 2008 Scotsman Fringe First, Top Ten 2009 Portugal’s Publico), and Particularly in the Heartland. Founded in 2004, the TEAM’s work has been seen all over New York (including the Public Theater and PS122), nationally (including the Walker Art Center and the A.R.T.), internationally (including the Barbican Centre, Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre, international festivals in Perth and Hong Kong, and the Salzburg Festival’s Young Directors Program). Mission Drift toured to London’s National Theatre in June 2013.


Project: Primer for a Failed Superpower

Primer for a Failed Superpower is a theatrical concert event inspired by the 1980s hardcore punk scene. It will feature a new band of 30-somethings (the TEAM), a teenage ensemble (ages 13-18, sourced wherever the work tours), multimedia and narrative  elements—all in pursuit of the following questions: Is America a failing superpower? How does a teenager, and a teenage nation, grow up? The defining geopolitical moment of the artists’ childhoods was the fall of the Berlin Wall. For the next generation, who many of the TEAM teach, their formative moment was September 11th.Primer is about preparing our minds for a shifting national identity, through conversations with the next generation, and a love letter to our future children about growing up in the 1980s.

Collab: The TEAM

The TEAM is a Brooklyn-based ensemble dedicated to creating new work about the experience of living in America today. Once described by The Guardian as “theatrical excavators of American culture, American dreams and the American psyche,” the company's work crashes characters from our nation's history and mythology into modern stories. The TEAM makes all of its work collaborativey, through a uniquely democratic writing process that fuses research, physical and verbal improvisation, and consensus-driven editing; in a final production it is nearly impossible to trace any one line of dialogue or image back to a single author’s hand. 

Founded in 2004, The TEAM has created and toured 10 original works to date. Their work has been seen in New York at the Public Theater, PS122, Vineyard Theatre, Ohio Theatre, and The Bushwick Starr; nationally at ArtsEmerson, A.R.T., Walker Art Center, Playmakers Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Virginia Tech, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and internationally at the National Theatre, Royal Court Theatre, Barbican, Almeida Theatre, and Battersea Arts Centre in London; Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre; Culturgest in Lisbon; the Salzburg Festival; Galway Festival; Perth International Arts Festival; and Hong Kong Arts Festival.