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David White

David M. White is an Associate Professor at Towson University, Artistic Director of Word BRIDGE Playwrights Laboratory, and playwright-in-residence of Generous Company. Since 2007, he has overseen the development of 36 new works at WordBRIDGE and presented numerous workshops on new play development in the U.S. and Russia. His plays and translations have been produced across the United States.

“The Likhachev Foundation provided the opportunity for the type of cultural research that is invaluable to a playwright. I spent my two weeks researching the history of jazz in St. Petersburg as the background research for a play about an American jazz musician who makes discoveries about herself, her artform, and her country by seeing how Russia has embraced the American artform of jazz during the past ninety years. Researching this topic from afar yielded limited resources: a few texts, the CDs that were available in the U.S. via Leo Records, and Youtube clips of inconsistent quality. This fellowship provided the opportunity to fully immerse myself into the jazz scene as well as the cultural and historical circumstances that surrounded the survival of jazz in St. Petersburg. 

The Likhachev Foundation developed a program that connected me with the central jazz figures, venues, and historical locations around the city. They provided the opportunity to see jazz performances as well as meet with musicians, venue owners, historians, critics, a publisher of jazz texts, and many more people whose lives were connected to the jazz scene. This multifaceted view into jazz in St. Petersburg helped to create a portrait of this city with a depth that would not have been possible otherwise.

 The opportunity that the Likhachev Foundation provides is invaluable because they connect people with diverse passions from across two continents and by connecting those people, they connect places and cultures: this work not only furthers projects, but changes lives. The work that I did while in St. Petersburg will affect my playwriting, teaching, and my future interdisciplinary and international collaborations; transcending this particular project and opening new doors and connections from theatre to jazz and more importantly from St. Petersburg to the United States”.