"Signature was the first theater I ever purchased a subscription to. I was fresh out of school and that experience actually changed my life - partly because it was the August Wilson season, but also because (at $15 a ticket) I could afford it. Great theater was suddenly something very true and accessible and welcoming to me. That season I also grasped for the first time what a “career” for a playwright could actually be - or that a playwright could even have a “career” in the first place.
Our work can often feel isolated and one-off – it’s here and it’s gone and what’s next? – but, spending time with a writer’s body of work, you suddenly get the sense that there are other shapes, other echoes that can be made – longer, slower stories that can get told – and I think that opened something up for me, in terms of how I started to think about writing.
This kind of promise is what a lot of playwrights dream of, and three plays over five years is not just a gift but a challenge – an encouragement to think bigger. The possibilities now seem greater and stranger and maybe a little more dangerous and that’s exciting to me -- and to imagine those possibilities playing out in the context of the Signature’s ticketing initiative is just inspiring. I couldn’t be more thrilled."
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins is a Brooklyn-based playwright whose credits include War (Yale Rep; forthcoming at Lincoln Center/LCT3), Gloria (Vineyard Theatre), Appropriate (Obie Award; Signature Theatre), An Octoroon (Obie Award; Soho Rep, Theatre for a New Audience) and Neighbors (The Public Theater). He is a Residency Five playwright at Signature Theatre and is under commissions from LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater, MTC/Sloan, and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. His recent honors include the Windham-Campbell Prize for Drama, the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation Theatre Award, the Benjamin H. Danks Award, the Steinberg Playwriting Award, and the inaugural Tennessee Williams award. In addition to holding an MA in Performance Studies from NYU, Branden is also a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at the Juilliard School. He currently teaches in the Hunter College Playwriting MFA Program, where he is a Master-Artist-in-Residence.
Upcoming Residency Five Production
Past Residency Five Productions
IMAGE: Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. Photo by Gregory Costanzo.