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Flip the Script

Playwright Jeremy O. Harris ’19 is changing the landscape of new play development.

In a partnership with The Bushwick Starr, an Obie Award–winning not-for-profit theater, Jeremy O. Harris ’19 established the Pet Project Grant, a program which distributed 152 unrestricted cash awards of $500 to playwrights all over the country. The Pet Project grants were distributed quickly and inspired a sense of radical sharing, promoting creativity while theater was paused.

In a statement about the grants, Jeremy wrote, “As many playwrights I know were supposed to open their first show, begin their first residency, enter or leave graduate studies, or simply be focusing on writing their second draft, many were paralyzed with fears for their health, the well-being of their families, or how they might stock their refrigerators. I thought it prudent to do my part to aid in some small way with the relief our government deems unnecessary for our community.”

Jeremy’s advocacy precedes the COVID-19 public health crisis. Earlier this year, he signed a two-year deal with HBO that included a unique stipulation—a discretionary fund to commission, enhance, and produce the work of theater artists. “I wanted to make sure that any company I worked with recognized the importance of maintaining the delicate ecology of theatre in these times. To know that HBO also believed in that vision gives me immense hope for the future of both industries,” said Jeremy about the partnership. This work has established an exciting new precedent where playwrights are taking playmaking into their own hands. For more information about the Pet Project Grant, visit thebushwickstarr.org/pet-project-grant.


Return to Alumni Newsletter: September 2020

Jeremy O' Harris

Jeremy O. Harris ’19. Photo by Andre E. Wagner.