Playwrights' Center head Jeremy Cohen, seen here with Aditi Brennan Kapil. Photo by Tom Wallace.

The Playwrights’ Center's Many Voices program, which seeks to broaden the theatrical talent pool with support to writers of color, has been expanded, the Minneapolis-based new play incubator announced Wednesday.

Beginning in July 2013, each award under the program will have an increased purse of $12,500, more than double the current $5,650. The program also will be open to national playwrights and will focus on helping playwights build up their skills as well as relationships within the field.

“By expanding its support at this critical time, the Many Voices program opens up exciting new opportunities for early-career playwrights of color and ultimately for theaters and audiences nationwide,” said Jeremy B. Cohen, the center's producing artistic director. “I am proud to continue our close collaboration with the Jerome Foundation in taking this critical fellowship to the next level.”

Funded by the Jerome  Foundation since its 1994 inception, Many Voices is one of several fellowship programs admnistered by the center. It also awards fellowship for theater artists, including four annual Jerome fellowships for emerging playwrights, each of which comes wth $17,500 purse; three McKnight (Foundation) theater artist fellowships ($25,000); and two McKnight advancement grants ($25,000). 

Many Voices, which has been coordinated by playwright Christina Ham (pictured at left) over the past six years, has a roster of distinguished alumni, including Naomi Iizuka, Daniel Alexander Jones and Aditi Brennan Kapil.

“Playwrights of color participate in all programs and services offered by the Playwrights’ Center, but the re-envisioned Many Voices Fellowship allows for focused and specific attention and support,” said Cynthia Gehrig, president of the Jerome Foundation.