Commonwealth Theatre Center to Receive $10,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Funding will help support an original audio immersive production designed to build cross-cultural understanding.

LOUISVILLE, KY — Commonwealth Theatre Center (CTC) has been approved for a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support its Connecting Cultures initiative. 

The grant will directly support the development of ZAYNAB’S NIGHT OF DESTINY, an audio immersive play reflecting and celebrating the unique experiences of Muslim youth and other underrepresented communities through CTC’s Connecting Cultures initiative. This project is among 1,073 projects across America totaling nearly $25 million that were selected during this first round of fiscal year 2021 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects funding category. 

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support this project from Commonwealth Theatre Center,” said Arts Endowment Acting Chairman Ann Eilers. “CTC is among the arts organizations across the country that have demonstrated creativity, excellence, and resilience during this very challenging year.”

Connecting Cultures (made possible by a generous grant from the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art) documents and celebrates the real-life experiences and interactions of Kentuckians who identify as “othered”. CTC commissioned MENASA playwright Denmo Ibrahim in November 2020 to help transform these intersecting narratives into an original production, where region-wide audiences can view themselves in the struggles and triumphs that transcend stereotypes. Community partners include Nur Islamic School, Imagine Blind Players, the LGBTQ-focused Louisville Youth Group and others. 

“All of us at CTC are deeply honored to receive this grant,” said CTC Artistic Director Charlie Sexton. “This will be instrumental in helping us pivot and adapt to this ongoing pandemic and continue this extremely valuable work.”

CTC Director of Creative Engagement Hallie Dizdarevic acknowledged the significance of the grant for the greater Louisville community. 

“This generous award from the NEA has allowed us to increase production values, sponsor select productions, and more fully market ZAYNAB’S NIGHT OF DESTINY to our region,” said Dizdarevic. “For some, this may be the first time that they will see their life experiences mirrored back to them in a children’s production, and we are incredibly grateful to the NEA for allowing us to enhance and expand our reach.”

CTC looks forward to sharing ZAYNAB’S NIGHT OF DESTINY as an audio immersive drama with the community later this year.

About Commonwealth Theatre Center:

Commonwealth Theatre Center’s mission is to develop youth and our community through excellence in comprehensive theatre education and performance. Connecting Cultures was first developed in 2013, and has a proven record of overcoming harmful misconceptions through individual storytelling and theatre collaboration. Through its nationally-recognized theatre programming and outreach efforts, CTC serves over 55,000 students and adults region-wide each year. For more information, please visit www.commonwealththeatre.org.

About the National Endowment for the Arts:

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.