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2022 Artists’ Awards

Storytellers Black & Silver Productions, playwright Peter Sonenstein and violinist Ilana Zaks were the recipients of our 2022 Artists’ Awards. Each has been awarded a $2,500 grant to create or complete original, new work and will be premiering it at our upcoming festival, scheduled for September 17-24, 2023.

Ilana Zaks, New Haven, Music

Zaks, a classically trained violinist, will premiere The Sounds of New England, a six-movement work featuring collected sounds and melodies from low-income and under-resourced communities in the six New England states. The piece will be performed live on solo violin and loop pedal, featuring composed and improvised music interwoven with music and other sounds of the communities from which the music derives.


Black and Silver Productions, Madison, Drama

A collaboration of Jennifer Munro and Denise Keyes Page, Black and Silver Productions will present Women Tell: Our Firsts, a collection of never-before-heard stories told by and about women.

The performance, featuring as many as six women storytellers selected and mentored by Munro and Page, will be an evolution of Black and Silver Productions’ Women Tell series in Madison, which has presented women’s storytelling programs themed to different decades, beginning with the 1920s. Stories told at the 2023 performing arts festival will feature tales of being first: the first child in a family to attend college, the first to marry outside the family’s culture, the first-generation American, the first to come out, to learn a foreign language, to be elected to government office, to perform surgery, etc.


Munro and Page, professional storytellers themselves, will solicit video submissions from women around the country and choose those who will perform at the festival.


Peter Sonenstein, Madison, Drama

Sonenstein, a playwright, will present a staged reading of The End of Empire, a multimedia theater experience that tells the story of a technology billionaire struggling to control the impact of his inventions on society. Employing live actors supplemented by video imagery and animation, The End of Empire will examine the outsized impact of technology through the eyes of those who think they control it, while presenting the evolution of digital technology—from the invention of the first algorithm in 825 CE to the development of the internet, and the growth of social-media and other platforms that increasingly shape our lives, our society and the world.

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