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Alan Cumming, Theresa Rebeck, Bridget Everett, Marcus Gardley, Stew, Ping Chong, UK’s Gate Theatre, And Many More To Participate In The Orchard Project’s First-Ever Summer In Saratoga Springs, NY
The Exchange today announced the artists and companies who will participate in its 2015 Orchard Project summer residency program. Twenty-two artists and ensembles (listed below) were selected from a competitive field of nearly 500 applicants to develop their big, new ideas at the Orchard Project. This will be the eighth summer — and the first summer in Saratoga Springs, NY — for the Orchard Project, a laboratory program where theatre artists and companies come to innovate, develop, and refine new shows. Past productions developed at the Orchard Project have gone on to be performed around the globe for over 500,000 people and to win awards from TONYs to Obies to Oliviers.
The Exchange also announced the launch of its first-ever Orchard Project Presents season, a series of public performances that will take place at Universal Preservation Hall — a recently restored 1871 church — as well as at venues around Saratoga Springs. The Orchard Project Presents series will invite the public to experience world class new work as it is being developed. The series will feature events every week in June, including Sneak Peek Productions (early stage, cutting-edge workshops and productions), Cabarets and Concerts (special events with top musical talent), and an Open Studio Week (featuring innovative shadow puppeteers). Orchard Project Presents will begin the month with an immersive production of Church of the Passionate Cat by Austin’s Underbelly Theater and conclude with an intimate concert with TONY Award winning actor, singer, and writer Alan Cumming. The full lineup is listed below.
“We couldn’t be more excited to turn Saratoga into a creative springboard for pathbreaking new work that will go on to stages across the country and the world,” Ari Edelson, the founder and artistic director of the Orchard Project, said. “We can’t wait to see what the Orchard Project’s 100-plus writers, directors, actors, singers, dancers, and puppeteers create this summer.”
“We are thrilled to have The Orchard Project in residency at Universal Preservation Hall in 2015,” said Teddy Foster, the President of the Board of Directors of Universal Preservation Hall. “For five weeks this summer, our beautiful UPH will be the creative place for aspiring artists and theatre professionals to hone their craft and, in turn, delight the residents and visitors of Saratoga Springs with their fresh, cutting edge performances. The energy between the two organizations is amazing and we look forward to hosting The Orchard Project for years to come.”
“We’re honored and incredibly excited to have Saratoga Springs named as the new home of the Orchard Project,” Todd Shimkus, the President of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, said. “Our city has one of the most vibrant downtowns and we’ve become a global destination for tourists and talent so I’m sure the Orchard Project’s artists will fall in love with their new home. Our focus on health, history, and horses have attracted people to our city for more than 150 years — and now we can say they are coming here to accelerate new play development as well.”
Full performance details and tickets for Orchard Project Presents, the public program of the Orchard Project, will be available online at on May 11. The season will include:
By Underbelly
June 5-7, 2015
Underbelly is an American theatre company that leads audiences on immersive journeys through forgotten spaces. An Underbelly show combines narrative, music, dance, and fresh cookies (if you’re lucky). Developed at the Orchard Project in 2014, Church of the Passionate Cat is a detective story turned on its ear, blending film noir whoduniting with a jazz age church revival like you’ve never experienced before.
By Neena Beber
Directed by Theresa Rebeck
Featuring John Glover and Hettienne Park
June 19-20, 2015
Hours before he is to receive a lifetime achievement award, a world-famous film director receives a visit from the woman best known as his victim. A Foreign Body pairs playwright Neena Beber (Jump/Cut, Tomorrowland, and HBO’s upcoming Ballers) with director Theresa Rebeck (Broadway’s Seminar and Mauritius, Creator of TV’s Smash) for an intimate and explosive theatrical event.
By Nichole Canuso Dance Company
June 19 – 21, 2015
Developed at the Orchard Project in 2013,The Garden is a dance theatre piece that is designed for four participants at a time. It takes the audience on an intimate yet expansive journey that blurs the line between viewer and participant. Nichole Canuso Dance Company creates movement-based works that explore the complexity of the human experience using subtle gesture, explosive movement, humor, and interactive design.
By Finkle
June 19 – 21, 2015
UR STAR is an intimate interactive theatrical art experience for tiny audiences. Told through music and hand drawn visuals, you are invited into an artist’s apartment and taken on a journey that is at times whimsical and at times intensely personal. Developed at the Orchard Project in 2014, UR STAR is an experiment in the relationship between audience and artist and an exploration of what it means to grapple with darkness.
  • BRIDGET EVERETT – One Night Only Cabaret event!
June 20, 2015
Bridget Everett is a singing tour de force known for her funny yet gut-wrenching, outrageous and unpredictable performances (not for the faint of heart!). Bridget has played to sold-out houses on both coasts and has been joined by guests ranging from Broadway icon Patti Lupone to Rock icon Flea. Most recently, Bridget completed a run of US dates supporting the great Amy Schumer. She performed in the 24 Hour Musicals, which benefits the Orchard Project, in 2013.
  • THE ORCHARD PROJECT OPEN STUDIO (June 22-27, 2015) will be a week-long exploration of work that that will turn all of Universal Preservation Hall into a laboratory and that will invite the public to actively participate. The 2015 Open Studio will include four cutting-edge shadow puppeteers who will be developing new shows. There will be open hours each weekday, as well as a family workshop on Saturday, June 27. The puppeteers participating include Andrew Benincasa, Lydia Fine, and others to be confirmed.
June 26, 2015
The celebrated star of theatre, film, and television will perform in a one-night-only concert at Universal Preservation Hall. He will be performing with his musical director Lance Horne, who has been an Orchard Project resident in 2010, 2011, and 2013.
And more to be announced! Tickets and full schedule for Orchard Project Presents will be available on May 11 at
The artists selected to participate in the Orchard Project laboratory program will come to Saratoga Springs from around the world to accelerate projects at various stages of development. They include:
  • No Face Performance Group, the Philadelphia-based performance art duo of Jaime Maseda and Mark McCloughan;
  • INTAR, the New York City theatre company that, for nearly 50 years, has been at the national forefront of the development and presentation of Latino voices in the American theatre;
  • Rainpan 43, the collaboration between actors and magicians Geoff Sobelle, Trey Lyford, and Steve Cuiffo, which has delighted audiences with pieces including Elephant Room and All Wear Bowlers;
  • Marcus Gardley, the poet-playwright whose previous works include every tongue confess (Arena Stage) and Dance of the Holy Ghost (Yale Rep);
  • Jim Knable, playwright and songwriter who has had plays produced at MCC, Woolly Mammoth, Soho Rep, New Jersey Rep, Actor’s Express, and Target Margin Theatre;
  • ONEOFUS, the NY/London collaboration of husband and wife Mat Fraser (American Horror Story: Freak Show) and Julie Atlas Muz (Whitney Biennial Artist who was deemed “Royalty of Burlesque” by The New York Times);
  • Ping Chong and Company, led by the Guggenheim Fellowship-, BESSIE-, and OBIE-award winning director, Ping Chong, who will be working with performance maker and actor Ryan Conarro on The Alaska Project;
  • The Gate Theatre, an acclaimed small venue in London, will be developing a new commission called The Iphigenia Project, with director Christopher Haydon and playwrights Suhayla El Bushra, Lulu Raczka, and Caroline Bird;
  • Kleban winning composer Sam Willmott, will be collaborating with writers Rehana Mirza (Soldier X) and Mike Lew (Bike America), on their new musical, Bhangin’ It;
  • Choreographer and director Sam Pinkleton (Pretty Filthy, Kansas City Choir Boy. Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812), will be collaborating with writer Maggie-Kate Coleman and composer Erato Kremmyda on Marie in Tomorrowland;
  • Writer Stew (Passing Strange, for which he won TONY and OBIE awards) and composer/lyricist Greta Gertler Gold (NPR’s Song of the Day, The Universal Thump) will be working on a new musical, The (Insert Vacuous Popstar) Musical;
  • Lance Horne, the New York City-based composer and musical director to Alan Cumming, Amanda Palmer, and Meow Meow, will be developing new work;
  • London-based playwright and Headlong Theatre Associate Artist Sarah Grochala will be developing two new plays;
  • Folk singer and songwriter Jean Rohe will be working on her new musical, The Odysseus Agreement;
  • UK-based performance artist and writer Rachel Mars will be developing a new performance piece; and
  • Nathan Tysen (lyricist) and Daniel Messe (composer) will be refining their upcoming new musical AMELIE, based on the motion picture.
As is the tradition at the Orchard Project, laboratory residencies will culminate in open rehearsals for fellow resident artists and selected invited guests.
Hundreds of theatre companies and creative artists from around the United States and world have applied each year to develop their big ideas at the Orchard Project. In its original home in Hunter, NY, the Orchard Project supported more than 500 artists and 100 shows — including recent productions All the Way (Broadway), The Object Lesson (BAM Next Wave Festival), and I Promised Myself to Live Faster (Humana Festival).
Writers, teams, and ensembles join the Orchard Project for overlapping residencies, during which they are provided with free rehearsal space, room and board, and the support of fellow artists. In 2015, The Orchard Project is moving to Saratoga Springs, NY, where it will add a new series of public programs, Orchard Project Presents, allowing the public and theatre industry to get sneak peeks of ground-breaking new work.
The Orchard Project also runs an education program, the Core Company, which draws students from across the country. The young artists who are members of the Core Company train and create new work alongside resident artists and companies — and support the professional artists in residence.
Past Orchard Project supported companies include The Royal Court, the Public Theater, Tectonic Theatre Project, The Atlantic Theater Company, Pig Iron, The Rude Mechs, American Repertory Theater, Paines Plough, The TEAM, Mabou Mines, and many others. Work developed at the Orchard Project has gone on to win awards including Obies, Drama Desks, Olivier Awards and the 2014 TONY Award for Best Play for All The Way, which was written at the Orchard Project in 2010 and 2011. By even the most conservative estimate, these shows have been seen by more than 500,000 people in New York, London, and as far afield as Tokyo and Stockholm.
More information about the Orchard Project is available at


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