Jackson, a native of Kansas City, Kansas, has been the Rep's playwright-in-residence for three years. During its 2014-15 season, the Rep staged the world premiere of Jackson's Sticky Traps, the first new work as a result of Jackson's residency. It has also produced Jackson's earlier plays Broke-ology and When I Come to Die, which have also been staged at the Lincoln Center in New York City.
Jackson said he was thrilled to be able to continue his residency. "The opportunity to make a living as a writer in Kansas City is a reality that I never thought possible," he said. "The Mellon Foundation has made this — and more — possible."
He also said he believed it was the Rep's commitment to producing his plays that earned him another three years in residence.
"I know there are other residencies where playwrights struggle to have their work produced. If you write something that's not ready for production, you have to wait. The Rep has been committed to not just producing my work but helping to develop the work, to get it ready," he told KCUR.
Jackson also believes it makes a difference that he's from Kansas City.
"I didn't come to Kansas City for this, I am from Kansas City," he said. "I was born and raised here, I will rest my bones here in this city if I have my way, and the connection that I feel to not just theater but this community is really tight. I think the folks at the Mellon Foundation saw that as well, and it was something they were looking for. That's what we're trying to do with this grant is not just put a playwright in the theater, but in the arts community."
"Renewing this residency is of critical importance to KC Rep's expansion of its new work focus," said the Rep's artistic director, Eric Rosen, who called Jackson "a great American writer."
C.J. Janovy is an arts reporter for KCUR 89.3. You can find her on Twitter, @cjjanovy.