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Ty Greenwood Receives Three Playwriting Commissions

Photo of Seattle Academy Faculty Ty Greenwood

Seattle Academy congratulates new faculty member, Ty Greenwood, for the three playwriting commissions he has received from City Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, and the Hansberry Project. Ty came to Seattle after graduating, in May 2020, from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master of Fine Art in Dramatic Writing. His rapid achievement acquiring three playwriting commissions is truly extraordinary, especially so early in his writing career. 

In Pittsburgh, City Theatre chose Ty as the inaugural recipient of a commission from the Kemp Powers Commission Fund for Black Playwrights. With a generous grant from award-winning playwright, screenwriter and film director Kemp Powers, this commission gives Ty flexibility to work on a new play of his choosing with support through the development process from City Theatre. While at Carnegie Mellon, Ty presented his thesis play at City Theatre at the same time Kemp Powers’ play One Night in Miami was in production bringing two plays with all black casts to audiences at the same time. Ty is excited to work again with City Theatre located in his hometown. He also looks forward to partnering with them to attract young and diverse audiences to the theatre.

Asolo Repertory Theatre, in Sarasota, awarded Ty its first Ground Floor Playwright Commission to pursue a work he’s developing inspired by black writer and activist James Baldwin. Describing his ambitions for this commission, Ty explains, “My goal is to capture the timeless essence of James Baldwin’s philosophy on race, sexuality and politics when it comes to being Black in America. I also promise to deliver a sense of hope and more importantly joy within the conversation of the Black experience.” Asolo Rep’s Ground Floor Commissions intend to give emerging playwrights an avenue for artistic expression free of commercial pressures, and to amplify voices of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) as well as other untapped voices. 

Based here in Seattle, The Hansberry Project selected Ty among a group of five playwrights to develop new works for The Drinking Gourd: Black Writers at Work. This multi-year project aims to develop a coalition of five black theatres with shared goals to commission, develop, and premiere works by black artists at theatres across the country.  The Hansberry Project partnered with True Colors Theatre Company, in Atlanta, to launch The Drinking Gourd in 2021. Each theatre will present four play readings of works by commissioned artists. Ty’s work goes into rehearsal on March 29 with his play reading following on April 3.