Carey Perloff
A.C.T.'s Artistic Director Carey Perloff.

American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.)  has announced that Artistic Director Carey Perloff has won this year’s Blance and Irving Laurie Foundation Theatre Visions Fund Award for the upcoming world premiere of her play Higher. The award of $50,000, one of the largest awards for playwriting in the country, includes $25,000 to support next February’s world premiere production, $10,000 for the playwright, and $15,000 for A.C.T. to commission two new plays over the next year.

Perloff said: “It’s an incredible honor to have Higher chosen from among many wonderful plays for the Theatre Visions Award. This generous grant not only helps support this world premiere, but also provides funds for future commissions at A.C.T. So it is really the gift that keeps on giving, and I am extremely grateful to the Laurie Foundation for its support.”

Higher is the fourth full-length play written by Perloff, who is best known as a director and champion of other playwrights, including Tom Stoppard, Harold Pinter, José Rivera, and Philip Kan Gotanda. She has been developing Higher with A.C.T. Associate Artistic Director Mark Rucker for two years, beginning with a workshop at New York Stage and Film, followed by workshops at the Asolo Repertory Theatre in Florida and the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco last fall.

The play premieres as part of A.C.T.’s 2011–12 season in February under Rucker’s direction.

Entwined in a passionate love affair, two American architects find themselves locked in a high-stakes competition to design a memorial in Israel. As they roam from the sleek rooms of plush New York apartments to the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the two architects are stretched to the limits of their creativity—and sanity. Memory, desire, and design fuel this thrilling new work, featuring A.C.T. core acting company member René Augesen alongside two A.C.T. Master of Fine Arts Program students.

Higher receives its world premiere February 1–19, 2012, at the The Theater at Children’s Creativity Museum (formerly Zeum Theater, 221 Fourth Street, San Francisco).

[Photo: Kevin Byrne]