Fendrick Theatre Fund Awardee Announced

“Knock Knock, Jesus Calling”, a play by Heather Fangsrud

ASI announced the 2018 awardee of the David R. Fendrick Theatre Fund.  A grant in the amount of $1,000 will be awarded to Heather Fangsrud for “Knock Knock, Jesus Calling” – a one-woman play where Fangsrud recounts her experiences as a lesbian growing up in a devout Jehovah’s Witness family.  The successful recipient was chosen by a panel from a pool of 17 total proposals submitted.

Heather Fangsrud’s grant will be used to continue refining and expanding the work, which she has been writing and expanding for over six months.  In writing “Knock Knock, Jesus Calling,” Fangsrud brings awareness of the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses by providing an insider’s view and dispelling any myth about the religion.  The play has been workshopped twice, once at the Dyke+ event associated with the Dyke March part of 2018 Buffalo Pride and at the 2018 Buffalo Infringement Festival.

Since 1989 the David R. Fendrick Theatre Fund has awarded grants to individual artists to enable them to realize or take part in a specific work of theatre.  Eligible applicants include actors, directors, writers, designers, performance artists, musicians or any person, regardless of descriptive title or relationship to a particular institution, who contributes to the creative process of theatre.  The grant is made in memory of fund establishers and founders Neil Garvey and Jesse Kregal.

“Arts Services Initiative is proud to carry on the work of Neil and Jesse, and the legacy of David Fendrick, by reactivating the Fendrick Theatre Fund for the second year of funding,” ASI Interim Executive Director Jen Swan said.  “Heather’s work addresses the true spirit of the Fendrick Fund as we are supporting an independent, local theatre artist producing an original work with the potential for production.  Heather is creating a platform for a unique project and igniting conversation and dialogue for those under-represented voices in our community.”

The David R. Fendrick Theatre Fund was established at the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo in memory of David Roos Fendrick (1941-1988), critically applauded Western New York actor, director, writer and scholar.  Fendrick was the youngest member of the first Lincoln Center Repertory Company and went on to a respected career in regional theaters across the country, including Buffalo’s Studio Arena Theatre.  Among his many distinguished performances was his portrayal of Irish rebel and writer Brendan Behan in a one-man show that continues to hold the record as Buffalo’s longest-running theatrical performance.

Past recipients include Tom Dooney, Robert Waterhouse, Michelle Costa, Jack Hunter,  Kelli Bocock-Natale and Michael Hake, Vincent O’ Neill, Jerry Finnegan, Geraldine Duskin, Kenneth Shaw, Susan Hodge Anner, Timothy White, Kelly Beuth, Anthony Cardinale, Anna Kay France, and David Oliver.