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Scheib wins 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship

Associate professor of theater arts awarded prestigious honor for mid-career professionals.
Scheib, an associate professor of theater arts
Scheib, an associate professor of theater arts
Photo: Naomi White
From "Bellona, Destroyer of Cities"
From "Bellona, Destroyer of Cities"
From "Untitled Mars (This Title May Change)"
From "Untitled Mars (This Title May Change)"

Jay Scheib, associate professor of theater arts in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, has been awarded a 2011 fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

The prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship is an award for advanced, mid-career professionals, who are chosen from among thousands of distinguished artists, scholars and scientists. Awarded to those who have demonstrated "exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts," the fellowships are designed to allow recipients time to work with "as much creative freedom as possible."

"In Jay Scheib, vision, ambition, talent and a restless hunger for creating new works are united," said Janet Sonenberg, professor of theater and head of Music and Theater Arts at MIT. "MIT is the perfect fit for Jay and the Institute is lucky to have him. He's utterly unique."

1, 2, trilogy

Reflecting on the fellowship, Scheib noted that, "It was awarded to help me finish a performance trilogy — Simulated Cities / Simulated Systems — that I have been developing at MIT. I have completed two productions of the work, and am currently developing the third, World of Wires. Part two, Bellona, Destroyer of Cities, just played in Paris as part of the Exit Festival and will be presented next month at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Having developed the first two parts of the trilogy at MIT, this is a fantastic affirmation — and not possible without the awesome support of MTA and the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences."

Works current and forthcoming

Scheib’s current productions include Bellona, Destroyer of Cities, which premiered at The Kitchen in New York, followed by a run at the Maison des Arts, Creteil (Paris), and will have its Boston premiere May 13, at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. As a director, Scheib's recent stagings include Beethoven's Fidelio at the Saarländische Staatstheater in Saarbrücken, Germany; Evan Ziporyn’s A House in Bali at the Cutler Majestic Theater in Boston and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival; and Brecht’s Puntila und sein Knecht Matti at Theater Augsburg in Germany.

Forthcoming productions include a collaboration with choreographer Yin Mei based on Antonioni's documentary on China, shot at the height of the cultural revolution. Titled The Seven Sages, this new dance theater peformance will premiere next year in Hong Kong. Also in process is World of Wires, will be developed with students at MIT and will premiere at The Kitchen in New York in January 2012.

Works, continued

Other recent works include Untitled Mars (This Title May Change), which premiered at Performance Space 122 in New York followed by a tour to the National Theatre in Budapest, Hungary, and This Place is a Desert, which premiered at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art followed by a sold-out run at the Public Theater in New York as part of the Under the Radar Festival. Untitled Mars received an Obie Award for Scenic Design; This Place is a Desert was named one of the Ten Best Shows of 2008 by Time Out New York. Concurrent with these productions, Scheib’s collaboration with punk rock ensemble World/Inferno Friendship Society, Addicted to Bad Ideas, toured to numerous venues around the world, including Spoleto Festival USA, Peak Performances in Montclair, and the Luminato Festival in Toronto. Additional international works include the world premiere of Irene Popovic’s opera Mozart Luster Lustik in Belgrade, Serbia, Lothar Trolle’s Ein Vormittag in der Freitheit at the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin and a new staging of the Novoflot science fiction opera saga Kommander Kobayashi in Saarbruecken, Germany.

Earlier awards

In the spring of 2009, Scheib was listed Best New York Theater Director by Time Out New York, and American Theater Magazine called him one of the 25 theater artists who will shape the next 25 years of American theater. Scheib is a recipient of the MIT Edgerton Award, The Richard Sherwood Award and the NEA/TCG Program for Directors. In addition to his position in MIT's School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Scheib is a regular guest professor at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria.

For more images, visit MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

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