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Playwrights Festival to Open With Reinstated Arts Grant

Times Staff Writer

South Coast Repertory’s spring California Playwrights Festival will be able to proceed as planned, now that Gov. George Deukmejian has reinstated the new $930,000 California Arts Council challenge grant program.

“We were hopeful the governor would reconsider,” SCR producing artistic director David Emmes said. Emmes praised the lobbying efforts of the arts community--organized by the California Confederation of the Arts, a nonprofit group that represents arts interests in Sacramento--and legislative support by such Orange County officials as Sen. Marion Bergeson (R--Newport Beach).

Following Deukmejian’s veto of the grant program in June, Emmes said SCR officials were worried that “we would have to severely limit the program--the readings, the workshops, the sizes of the casts--and either eliminate or reduce the prize money.” The festival is budgeted at $174,000.

The only Orange County arts group to receive a grant recommendation under the new program, SCR received a $43,500 award, which must be matched by $130,000 in other donations, according to the rules of the grant process.

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The spring festival is intended to “recognize and spotlight the richness and diversity of California playwrights,” Emmes said. “It’s a very important step forward in our commitment to new American plays.”

The theater company will award $10,000 to three playwrights, produce two of their plays on the SCR Second Stage and offer other play development programs.

The reinstatement of CAC challenge grant program monies does not affect four other Orange County arts groups that applied but were not recommended for challenge grants.

(For more news of the Challenge Grant program, see Morning Report on Page 2.)

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