Ucross, WY— January 14, 2021 -- Ucross, a prestigious artist residency program and creative laboratory for the arts in northeast Wyoming, today announced playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins as its newest board member. Jacobs-Jenkins, whose work includes Everybody (Signature Theater), Neighbors (Public Theater), An Octoroon (Soho Rep, OBIE Award for Best New Play), Appropriate (Signature Theater, OBIE Award for Best New Play, Outer Critics Circle nominee), Gloria (Vineyard Theater, 2015), and War (Yale Rep, forthcoming), is a former Ucross Fellow.
Jacobs-Jenkins joins current board members Jim Nelson, Ucross board chair and former energy executive; attorney Charlie Hart, Ucross board secretary; Deborah Koehler, executive director of the Raymond N. Plank Philanthropy Fund; attorney Kim Cannon; Steve Farris, former chairman and CEO of Apache Corporation; Lisa Hatchadoorian, executive director of the Museum of Art | Fort Collins, Colorado; Teri Rueb, Ucross alumna, artist, and professor of Critical Media Practices at the University of Colorado; Jesse Marion, founder of Millennium Seismic Ltd., a Calgary, Alberta-based company, and CEO and President of Integrated Corrosion Companies; author Dorie McCullough Lawson; Susan Miller, arts patron, collector, and former chair of the WYO Theater in Sheridan, WY; Kate Schutt, Ucross alumna, singer, songwriter, and producer living in New York City; and Scott Manning Stevens, director of the Native American and Indigenous Studies Program at Syracuse University.
“First and foremost, Branden is a writer, and we are proud to welcome him and his talents to the Ucross board,” said Sharon Dynak, President and Executive Director of Ucross. “As a Ucross Fellow, Branden came to Ucross where we were able to offer him the gift of time and space as he continued to develop his brilliant playwriting voice. As a board member, we know he will represent and support his fellow artists as we continue to build innovative programs for the artist community nationally and beyond.”
Jacobs-Jenkins plays have been performed at such venues as Lincoln Center Theatre/LCT3, Soho Rep, the Public Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Actors Theater of Louisville, Center Theatre Group, Victory Gardens Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theater, The Matrix Theater, CompanyOne, Theater Bielefeld in Germany, and the HighTide Festival in the UK. He is currently a Residency Five playwright at Signature Theatre and master-artist-in-residence in the Playwriting MFA program of Hunter College, City University of New York. Other honors include a 2016 MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, the Paula Vogel Award, a Fulbright Arts Grant, a Helen Merrill Award, the Dorothy Strelsin playwriting fellowship, and the inaugural Tennessee Williams Award.
He is a Princeton alum from the Class of 2006, holds an M.F.A. in Performance Studies from NYU, and is a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at Juilliard. In addition, he teaches in The University of Texas at Austin’s College of Fine Arts. He is a Ucross Fellow through its longtime partnership with the Sundance Institute Theatre Program.
"My time at Ucross remains one of the most memorable and transformative experiences of my creative life. It's an honor to be invited to return in this capacity,” said Jacobs-Jenkins. “I look forward to working to ensure that the gifts of this place and these wonderful, hardworking people be accessible to as wide a range of talented artists and thinkers as is possible."
Located on a 20,000-acre working cattle ranch on the majestic high plains of Wyoming, Ucross welcomes 100 artists from a variety of creative disciplines each year and provides meals, accommodations, and uninterrupted time to work and create. Annie Proulx's The Shipping News, Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat Pray Love, Adam Guettel's The Light in the Piazza, Ricky Ian Gordon's operatic adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, and Michael R. Jackson’s A Strange Loop are just a few of the acclaimed works that have been created in part during Ucross residencies.