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Grant funds training at Perseverance for actors

Money helps cover N.Y. teacher's two-year stay

Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2001

Perseverance Theatre has received its second grant from the National Theatre Artist Residency Program. The $25,000 grant will bring Kevin Kuhlke of New York University to Juneau for two years to train actors and produce an adaptation of Sherwood Anderson's novel "Winesburg, Ohio."

"It's definitely one of the most prestigious," said Jeffrey Herrmann, producing director for Perseverance. "It's sort of the centerpiece granting program of Theater Communications Group, which is the service organization for the not-for-profit theater."

Kuhlke is a master teacher of acting and has served as director of the Experimental Theater Wing at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for the past 10 years. He has taught acting, improvisation and directing in numerous countries, including Holland, Denmark, Austria, Cuba and Iceland.

Perseverance Artistic Director Peter DuBois was looking for somebody to help develop the local acting community, said Herrmann.

"Part of our mission since the inception of the theater in 1979 has been to provide training for theater artists," he said. "In an isolated community like Juneau, it's important to keep artistic horizons expanding."

The grant program previously brought playwright Paula Vogel to town. Vogel penned the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, "How I Learned to Drive," during her stay in Juneau.

"That was one of the most successful grants in the history of the program," Herrmann said. "We're sort of their poster child. They encouraged us strongly to apply again because they were so pleased with how it turned out last time."

Perseverance must match the $25,000 grant with their own funds. Much of the money will go to Kuhlke's travel expenses and salary, with some helping allay costs of the show.

In all, Kuhlke will spend about 18 weeks in Juneau over a two-year period, with his next visit coming at the end of August. He and other resident artists who have been awarded NTARP grants will be featured in an upcoming issue of "American Theater" magazine.

"They've been doing this for nine years," Herrmann said. "They've really had some real heavy hitters in the program. It's a real honor that we've been selected twice. I think that says something about our status in the country."



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