J. Rufus Caleb

2008 Pew Fellow

J. Rufus Caleb, 2008 Pew Fellow. Directed by Glenn Holsten.

“I write in particularly precise images, so that I see it phrase by phrase. If there’s anything I understand about (myself), it’s the visual orientation, and the sound of the words on the ears.”

While sitting on a Greyhound bus that was inching through traffic in Lake Placid, New York, J. Rufus Caleb (b. 1948) was reading a book on slavery in the United States. In his Pew Fellowship application, he wrote, “I put down the book, look out the window, and see what I know is a slave coffle walking along beside the bus. The image is strong enough, for a few seconds, to see down there on the road a tired shuffling line of enslaved Africans.” This image led him to create an eight-minute play entitled, Slave Coffle w/ Observer. Caleb describes himself as a writer of “quirky theater pieces” that are highly personal in vision and presentation. He strives to create theater experiences that are “as visceral as they are intellectual.” In addition to writing for the theater, Caleb has also written extensively for radio and television.

Caleb’s plays have been produced by Theatre Double, Philadelphia; Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Madison, NJ; People’s Light & Theatre, Malvern, PA, and Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, KY. Caleb has also written a quartet of radio plays for WNYCs Radio Stage. His work The Devil and Uncle Asa received a Special Achievement Award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. In addition to this award, he has also received numerous other honors, some of which include fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a National Endowment for the Arts grant in Audio Production, and grants from the Samuel S. Fels Fund and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council. Caleb teaches in the theater program at the Community College of Philadelphia.

Aaron Cromie and Mary Tuomanen offer a sneak preview of their upcoming show, The Body Lautrec, in the galleries of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Lauren Mabry unveils new ceramic works at The Clay Studio, David Scott Kessler screens his film The Pine Barrens, and The Wall Street Journal reviews Bo Bartlett’s exhibition at Ameringer | McEnery | Yohe.

Grants & Grantees

Deron Albright (Pew Fellow, 2012) has been a filmmaker since 1994, with work spanning documentary, installation, poetic animation, and short- and long-form narrative.

Grants & Grantees

Lonnie Graham is a visual artist and a 2002 Pew Fellow.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Trevor O’Donnell has a long track record of helping theater and arts organizations build larger audiences and earn more revenue through a number of strategies.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Theater artist Alex Torra creates devised, experimental performances that combine theater, dance, and music.

Grants & Grantees

This production marked the Arden Theatre’s first commission for its children’s series.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Daniel Bernard Roumain is a composer, violinist, and bandleader who combines his classical training with hip-hop and Haitian influences.

Pew Fellow Raphael Xavier takes his Center-supported autobiographical dance, The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance, to Chicago.

Susan Hess Modern Dance hosted Ralph Lemon for a weeklong Masters Exchange residency, opening select sessions to the public to view the choreographic process at work.

Grants & Grantees

People’s Light is one of Pennsylvania’s largest professional nonprofit theaters and is known for its resident company of artists, eclectic mix of productions, and for innovative work with young people.

Filmmaker Heidi Saman’s film Namour is acquired for theatrical and on-demand distribution, theater artist Geoff Sobelle presents The Object Lesson at New York Theatre Workshop, and composer Jennifer Higdon is nominated for two Grammy Awards.