This will be the third year of the groundbreaking Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship program. During the first two years, the top regional theatre actors in the U.S. spent the artistic portion of their Ten Chimneys immersion delving into Shakespeare—with the late actress Lynn Redgrave in 2009, and renowned Shakespearean Barry Edelstein in 2010. In 2011, the ten selected Lunt-Fontanne Fellows will explore Chekhov, led by revered actress and Chekhov expert, Olympia Dukakis.
Olympia Dukakis, 2011 Master Teacher states, "I am proud to be a part of this program, which is so important to the future of American theatre, and am eager to work with the selected 2011 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows. With Chekhov, our hearts will open with compassion and reverence for life in all its contradictions.”
“Jim Craven is a true leader at Penumbra Theatre. His acting is trained, mature and secure, yet still responsive to the cultural shadows that shaped him as an African-American male in his youth. No small feat, since many finishing schools seem to have the effect of sweeping out cultural difference while training actors for the classics. When Jim is on stage with younger actors the experience turns out to be a ‘master class’ for the aspiring ensemble” says Lou Bellamy, Artistic Director, Penumbra Theatre Company.
In addition to the honor of being selected as a Lunt-Fontanne Fellow, and the inherent value and benefits of the master class and immersion experience, Craven will be awarded a $2,500 cash fellowship in recognition of his exceptional contribution to his community and to the overall quality of American theatre. According to Sean Malone, President of Ten Chimneys Foundation, “The Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program celebrates the top actors in America’s top theatre communities, widely respected for their talent, dedication to craft, and passionate pursuit of excellence, the qualities for which Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were so revered. This program celebrates people like James Craven—the best of the best, our communities’ theatre mentors.”