Chicago freelance director Lavina Jadhwani has been named one of five Fellows selected to receive a prestigious National Directors Fellowship from the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut — a program jointly operated by the National New Play Network, The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, and Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation. Jadhwanai was selected from a nationwide pool of more than 350 applicants.
In a prepared statement, Wendy C. Goldberg, the program’s director, noted: “We were humbled and overwhelmed by the national response for this program. The makeup of this group is impressive, incredibly diverse, and representative of those working in the industry today. They are a supremely talented, passionate, and intelligent group. This type of program has been a dream of mine, and we’re truly excited to help nurture and support the next generation of new play directors.”
Jadhwani (recently named Time Out Chicago’s “Best Next Generation Stage Director”), is an artistic associate at Silk Road Rising (“Ching Chong Chinaman,” “Gold Boy/Emerald Girl”) and Oak Park Festival Theatre (“Hamlet,” “Twelfth Night,” “Two Gentlemen of Verona”). She also served as the artistic director of Rasaka Theatre Company from 2007-2013, where she directed “Much Ado About Nothing,” the superb Chicago premiere of “Gruesome Playground Injuries” and directed and curated the Chicago premiere of “Yoni Ki Baat” and “culture/clash,” the nation’s first fully-produced South Asian short play festival. Her work also has been seen at Apple Tree, Bailiwick, Chicago Dramatists, Raven Theatre, Remy Bumppo, the side project, Stage Left, Teatro Vista, Victory Gardens, and others.
Jadhwani is a recipient of the Drama League’s Classical Directing Fellowship, an SDCF Observership, an Illinois Board of Higher Education Fellowship, and an LMDA Residency Award. As an educator, Lavina has worked with CCPA@Roosevelt University, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight Theatre, NHSI at Northwestern University, Shakespeare & Company, and The Viola Project. She is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University (BFA, Scenic Design; Masters, Arts Management) and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy, and is currently pursuing an MFA in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University.
The other Fellows named include: Portia Krieger (Brooklyn, New York); Larissa Lury (Las Cruces, New Mexico; Evren Odcikin (San Francisco, California), and Martin Wilkins (Charlotte, North Carolina).
In addition to Goldberg, the selection committee included David Auburn (director/playwright); Deb Zoe Laufer (playwright, whose ‘end Days is currently running at The Windy City Playhouse here); Robert O’Hara (director/playwright; Freddie Ashley (artistic diretor, Actors Express); Nan Barnett (executive director, National New Play Network), Gregg Henry (director, The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival), and Preston Whiteway (executive director, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center).
Fellowships begin at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in July, with workshops and professional development opportunities throughout the year culminating with a professional directing post within the wide-ranging network of member theaters in the National New Play Network.