Teresa Avia Lim and Tiffany Villarin in Jiehae Park's PEERLESS
Eileen Rivera, Brenna Palughi and Shannon Marie Sullivan in Jesse Jou's re-envisioned KING LEAR
Ruy Iskandar and Vichet Chum in THE HUNTERS by Jen Silverman. Photos by Erik Pearson
Claudia Rahardjanoto, Cartier Williams, Hillary-Mary in SONNETS ON TAP, conceived and directed by Awoye Timpo
Kahan James and Mahira Kakkar in THE RAGGED CLAWS
Photos by Chasi Annexy
SAVE THE DATE! Catch a sneak peek of the Mentor Project 2020 season at Announcement Night on Monday, December 9th at 7pm. Reservations required.
About Mentor Project
Cherry Lane’s marquee program is our Obie Award-winning Mentor Project. Every year we pair early-career playwrights in season-long, 1-on-1 mentoring relationships with experienced dramatists. Mentors guide their fellows through an intensive developmental process consisting of readings and rehearsals, while serving as a trusted source of career advice and professional support. The program culminates in fully-staged productions that remain critic-free to avoid commercial concerns that would inhibit the creative process. Each fellow receives a $5,000 stipend.
Mentor Project was established in 1998 by Founding Artistic Director Angelia Fiordellisi and was inspired by an important precursor in resience at Cherry Lane in the 60s: ALBARWILD, a collaboration between producers Richard Barr, Clinton Wilder, and playwright Edward Albee, who created production opportunities for such early-career playwrights as Sam Shepard, LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), A.R. Gurney, and Jean-Claude van Itallie.
In 2019 Mentor Project celebrates its 21st anniversary season, having nurtured the careers of 65 emerging artists to fuel the next generation of American playwrights. Past fellows include Rajiv Joseph (mentored by Theresa Rebeck in 2005), Katori Hall (mentored by Lynn Nottage in 2006), Sheila Callaghan (mentored by Michael Weller in 2006), Anne Washburn (mentored by Craig Lucas in 2000) - each of whom has since returned to serve as mentor - Julia Cho (mentored by David Henry Hwang in 2002), Christopher Shinn (mentored by Charles Fuller in 1999) and Bathsheba Doran (mentored by Michael Weller in 2003).
"The Plays of Mentor Project: a Cherry Lane Anthology"
Mentor Project is now in print! Read more
In the Artists' Own Words
"What the Cherry Lane is doing is so exciting. Most important, I think, is its mentoring program of young playwrights, and while it is nice that the Cherry Lane programming takes care of the important theatrical past, it is the mentoring program which will allow us to have an important theatrical future."
–MP 1999-2013 EDWARD ALBEE
"The Mentor Project is artfully designed to avoid the pitfalls of most play development workshops, directionless rewrites, lack of exposure to actors and audiences, and instead plunges the playwright directly into an intensely practical, tightly focused, experience...The Cherry Lane is doing essential work in building the next generation of American theatre artists."
–MP 2005 Mentor DAVID AUBURN
"The Mentor Project has my enthusiastic support. I have seen performances at the Cherry Lane rival the very finest professional theater this country has to offer."
–Co-Founding and Supervising Mentor 1999-2008 MICHAEL WELLER
"The Cherry Lane's belief in writers is absolute. And whether you are a young playwright staging a new play, or an experienced playwright passing along your advice and comfort, the mentor program at the Cherry Lane works on the most astonishing level, giving people a chance to talk with each other about the nearly impossible but nevertheless thrilling task of writing for the theater."
–MP 2001, 2002, 2003 Mentor MARSHA NORMAN
"Cherry Lane's Mentor Project asked me to read five plays, pick out the best one and be prepared to work with the playwright through drafts, reading, and showcase production. It proved to be one of the most rewarding experiences of my literary life."
–MP 1999, 2008, 2010 Mentor CHARLES FULLER
"I've been in touch with enough other fledgling playwrights to notice that buzz about your program is very good indeed. Writers in it seem happy, and writers outside of it want to get in."
–MP 1999, 2000, 2003 Mentor A. R. GURNEY
"Through the Cherry Lane Mentorship, I have had the privilege of working with two wonderfully gifted and dedicated young writers. They have taught me at least as much as I have taught them, and I am grateful for the opportunity to revisit that electrifying moment when a new playwright first emerges into the theatrical world."
–MP 2001, 2002, 2010 Mentor DAVID HENRY HWANG
"I am honored to be invited into the Cherry Lane Mentor Project. The playwriting art has been at the center of my life for so long that it is a great affirmation to me that an American institution of this historical stature and cultural scope recognized my motivation to serve."
–MP 2003, 2004 Mentor ED BULLINS
"I'm so proud of the Mentor Project and all the playwrights it's supported over the years. I feel so blessed to have been born at the Cherry Lane"
--MP 2006 Finalist Playwright KATORI HALL
"the greatest pay of all is the privilege to take part in the guidance of an artist who will be a vital contributor to the American theatre canon. In that respect with Nastaran [Ahmadi] I feel already I've been paid a thousand times over."
--MP 2012 Mentor KIA CORTHRON