Cynthia Hopkins

Cynthia Hopkins

Fellow: Awarded 2010
Field of Study: Drama and Performance Art

Competition: US & Canada

Cynthia Hopkins is the recipient of the 2007 Alpert Award in Theater, honoring her work as a writer, composer, performer, multi‐instrumentalist, and theater artist. She is the co‐founder and artistic director of the ensemble company Accinosco, which she formed in 2004—a collective of performing artists, designers, and musicians dedicated to creating groundbreaking original works that meld music, text, technical and theatrical design, and video with unbelievable fact and outrageous fiction—with whom she has created three full‐length works (collectively known as The Accidental Trilogy): Accidental Nostalgia, which premiered in 2004 (for which Ms. Hopkins received a 2005 Bessie Award for Creation); Must Don’t Whip ‘Um, a prequel to Accidental Nostalgia which premiered in 2007 (winner of a 2007 Bessie Award for design); and The Success of Failure (or, The Failure of Success), which premiered in 2009 at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. These works feature the band Gloria Deluxe, which Ms. Hopkins formed in 1999 and which has since produced many full‐length albums and performed at numerous venues in New York City and elsewhere. Opening for legendary artists such as David Byrne and Patti Smith, Gloria Deluxe has developed an enthusiastic following for its unique blend of folk, cabaret, rock, blues, and country music. In addition to her work with Accinosco and Gloria Deluxe, Ms. Hopkins has also created solo music/theater works including The Truth: A Tragedy (commissioned by Les Subsistances in Lyon, France, and Soho Rep in New York City, where it premiered in the spring of 2010); Tsimtsum, a piece commissioned by Dance Theater Workshop for the May 2006 Sourcing Stravinsky Festival; and Song Before Love Songs (a postapocalyptic requiem for the human race), a composition commissioned by Bang on a Can, which premiered in February 2005. In addition to her work as a creator, Ms. Hopkins has also worked as a composer, musician, and performer for many projects, including Big Dance Theater’s Antigone, Shunkin, and Another Telepathic Thing (for which she received a 2001 Bessie Award for composition and a 2000 OBIE award for performance); and Ridge Theater’s production of Mac Wellman’s at jennie richee (for which she won a 2001 OBIE Award as part of the collaborative team).

The script of Accidental Nostalgia was published in 2007 in Issue #3 of Play: A Journal of Plays. A short story by Ms. Hopkins titled "Quantum Gravity" was included in Amplified, a collection of short stories by songwriters published in 2009 by Melville House.

The work of Cynthia Hopkins has been supported and/or presented by venues including St. Ann’s Warehouse, the Walker Art Center, the Wexner Center for the Arts, On the Boards, the Philadelphia Performing Arts Festival, PICA’s Time Based Art Festival, and REDCAT; by residencies including Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Hermitage Foundation; and by funding foundations including the Jerome Foundation, NYSCA, the Greenwall Foundation, the Mid‐Atlantic Arts Foundation, APAP’s Ensemble Theatre Collaborations Grant Program, the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation, the Jonathan Larson Foundation for the Performing Arts, and the MAP Fund.


 Artist’s Statement

I consider myself a storyteller whose multilayered stories—addressing relevant social issues through a deeply personal lens, and incorporating elements of documentary‐like truth as well as extravagant fiction—require a multifaceted structure to be communicated. Through the integration of my work as a writer, composer, and performer, I strive to investigate new forms of theatrical narrative, and thereby to create a unique communication with my audience: one which provokes emotion, stimulates the senses, and enlivens the mind. My goal is to obscure the distinctions between edification and entertainment through the creation of works which are as philosophical as they are entertaining, as intellectually challenging as they are viscerally emotional, as deeply comical as they are tragic, and as historically aware as they are immediately engaging. Whatever enrages, disturbs, and/or frightens me most becomes the subject of my work. My creative process is a survival technique which alchemizes a combination of inner and outer (personal and socio‐political) demons into works of intrigue and hope, for the audience and for myself.


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