$3.7 Million Initiative of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Supports Playwrights in Nonprofit Theatres

January 14, 2013

Wellesley’s Melinda Lopez, lecturer in theatre studies, has been named to a three-year playwright residency at the Huntington Theater in Boston as part of a $3.7 million initiative by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Boston Globe reports that Lopez is one of 14 playwrights around the country to be granted a residency at an established theatre.

The Mellon funds will provide salary and benefits to the writers-in-residence, allowing them to focus more fully on writing without worrying about making ends meet; the residency also encompasses other theatre duties, such as helping plan upcoming seasons, attending board meetings, or participating in playwright development programs. A total of $245,000 will cover Lopez’s salary and benefits at the Huntington for the three-year residency. She will also be eligible to apply each year for an additional $10,000 to cover travel and research expenses.

“It’s like a dream come true. It really is,’’ Lopez told The Globe. “My brain is working overtime on all the ways that this is going to generate new work. I’m really looking forward to the time to have periods of quiet in my life when I can just think about theater.’’ She’ll begin her residency at the Huntington on July 1.

In addition to teaching theatre and performance at Wellesley, she teaches in Boston University’s graduate playwriting program, and acts—now appearing in Our Town at the Huntington Theater. At Wellesley, she says, students are encouraged to apply both analytical skill and creative passion to the understanding of theatre. 

Lopez is the author of:

  • Alexandros
  • Caroline in Jersey
  • From Orchids to Octopi: An Evolutionary Love Story
  • Irne (“Best Play,” “Best Production,” Huntington Theatre)
  • Gary
  • God Smells Like a Roast Pig (Elliot Norton Award "Outstanding Solo Performance")
  • How Do You Spell Hope?
  • Midnight Sandwich/Medianoche
  • The Order of Things
  • Sonia Flew (Elliot Norton Award “Best New Play”)

During her residency, Lopez plans to finish Becoming Cuba, a historical drama set on the eve of the Spanish-American War, and also write two additional full-length plays.