*Los Angeles’ IAMA Theater Company is getting an endowment from “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” creator, Shonda Rhimes.
Part of the endowment will go toward the new Rhimes Unsung Voices Playwrighting Commission, which will give budding playwrights the chance to develop new plays with IAMA, reports Variety.
Founded in 2007, by Katie Lowes, Stefanie Black, Sarah Utterback, Amy Rosoff, Laila Ayad, Adam Shapiro, Brandon Scott and Wes Whitehead, IAMA is making its mark on the industry, having won the 2014 Ovation Award for Best Intimate Theatre in Los Angeles (The Recommendation).
Rhimes’ funding, which makes her the company’s first Patron of the Arts, will have special emphasis on cultural inclusion — all with the goal of showcasing fresh, creative, thought-provoking work. Those chosen will join artists such as Leslye Headland, Jon Caren, D.G. Watson, Bess Wohl, Max Posner, and others who have developed their plays with IAMA.
“I chose IAMA because attending their shows has brought me so much joy,” said Rhimes. “Their productions made me FINALLY feel the way one does when exploring the New York Off-Broadway world of theater. Fresh voices filled with creativity. And they’ve accomplished it all on a shoe-string budget. That ends now.”
The funding makes Rhimes the company’s first Patron of the Arts.
IAMA artists seek to connect and cultivate a new generation of audiences, promoting new artists and developing new works that challenge and entertain with the goal of producing vibrant, voyeuristic theater that stimulates honest dialogue and sustains the future value of theater within the diverse Los Angeles community. Their aim is to get the cord-cutter generation to come back out to the theater.
Plays generated at IAMA have gone to Off-Broadway, Second Stage, The Roundabout Underground, regionally, and internationally. IAMA members have been featured in numerous critically acclaimed TV shows and films, and have performed in a vast array of theatre and live performances all over the country.