Theatre Alumna Caridad Svich Wins Guggenheim Fellowship

Caridad Svich
Wednesday, April 17, 2024
Caridad Svich ’85 is an award-winning playwright of more than 40 full-length plays.

Caridad Svich ’85 has received a 2024 Guggenheim Fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Svich, who was appointed in the field of Drama and Performance Art, is one of 188 international recipients chosen from more than 3,000 applicants through a rigorous application and peer review process.

“Humanity faces some profound existential challenges,” said Edward Hirsch, award-winning poet and president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in a press release. “The Guggenheim Fellowship is a life-changing recognition. It’s a celebrated investment into the lives and careers of distinguished artists, scholars, scientists, writers and other cultural visionaries who are meeting these challenges head-on and generating new possibilities and pathways across the broader culture as they do so.”

Since graduating from UNC Charlotte, Svich has written more than 40 full-length plays, a variety of short works, and 15 translations. She has edited Innovation in Five Acts: Strategies for Theatre and Performance (published by Theatre Communications Group in 2015), and a collection of three of her plays, JARMAN (all this maddening beauty) and other plays, was published in the UK by Intellect Books. Her most recent book, Toward a Future Theatre, was published by Methuen Drama in 2022. She is currently Artistic Director of New Play Development at the Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York City and teaches at Rutgers University.

Svich received a 2012 OBIE Award for Lifetime Achievement in the theatre, a 2012 Edgerton Foundation New Play Award and the National New Play Network rolling world premiere for Guapa, and the 2011 American Theatre Critics Association Primus Prize for her play The House of the Spirits, based on the Isabel Allende novel. She has won the National Latino Playwriting Award (sponsored by Arizona Theatre Company) twice and has been short-listed for the PEN Award in Drama four times.

In 2018, Svich received the Ellen Stewart Award for Career Achievement in Professional Theatre by the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE). Most recently, she received the 2023 Flora Roberts Award from The Dramatists Guild, awarded annually to a dramatist in recognition of distinguished work in the theatre.

Svich received the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award in Theatre from the College of Arts + Architecture. In 2018, the Department of Theatre presented her play, Archipelago.

While she was a student at UNC Charlotte, Svich earned a national playwriting prize for her play Waterfall, which received a student-mounted production. But she also took turns on the stage herself, performing in productions of Once Upon a Mattress and The Greeks.

“One of the things I learned at UNC Charlotte was to follow my own creative path and curiosities as an artist,” she said, “to trust my instincts, and to strive for excellence always.”

Since its establishment in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation has granted over $400 million in Fellowships to more than 19,000 individuals, among whom are more than 125 Nobel laureates, members of all the national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, Fields Medal, Turing Award, Bancroft Prize, National Book Award, and other internationally recognized honors. Among notable early recipients are e.e. cummings, Jacob Lawrence, Rachel Carson, James Baldwin, and Martha Graham.