The Orchard Project Opens Applications for its 2020 Programs

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OP to Launch New Liveness Lab to Investigate Future of Live Performance
Plus New Audio Storytelling Lab
2020 Summer Lab to Run as Hybrid Online/Live Program
NEW YORK, NY (May 8, 2020) – The Orchard Project today announced its 2020 programs as well as the names of participating artists and companies. This year includes the launch of two new labs — the Liveness Lab to explore the nature of live performance right now and an Audio Storytelling Lab to provide support and mentorship to podcast, radio, and immersive audio projects. The Orchard Project also announced its pivot to a hybrid online/live model for 2020, which will allow the organization to accelerate the work of innovative playwrights and theater companies while keeping staff and artists safe during the current global health emergency.
“The Orchard Project’s success has always been connected to a trifecta of time, space, and artistic support that manifests itself in a world-class community of creators and, in its own way, 2020 will be no exception,” said Ari Edelson, Artistic Director of the Orchard Project. “We are working to create an ecosystem of support that rivals those we have provided previously and for which the Orchard Project is so highly regarded by artists. Even though we are gutted that we cannot convene artists this summer, we know this moment — and our artistic community — needs us to push forward rather than pull back.”
Each year, the Orchard Project provides a launching pad for more than 30 new works, providing opportunities for innovative artists, companies, and storytellers to accelerate and refine their ideas at all stages of development. Summer 2020 has four major programs for professionals: a Professional Theatre Lab; the OP Greenhouse, providing year-round collaborative support to emerging theatermakers; an Episodic Lab, providing support, mentorship, and guidance to promising episodic/TV projects; and after a successful early 2020 pilot, a new Audio Storytelling Lab, providing support, mentorship, and guidance to promising podcast, radio, and immersive audio projects.
In 2020, these labs will occur in two phases:

  • In a first phase of support, artists, teams and companies will participate in a series of multi-week online labs that will provide structure for development, peer engagement and feedback, and dramaturgical support. This phase will replace the Orchard Project’s traditional labs in Saratoga Springs, NY, and take place over the course of June and July, 2020.
  • In the program’s second phase of support, participants in all programs will be invited to convene in New York City for a multi-day series of workshops and presentations to occur when safety and circumstances allow.

The announced participants for the 2020 Labs include:

  • PROFESSIONAL LAB (supporting plays, musicals, and physical theatre pieces): Neena Beber/Jessica Hecht/Dionne McClain-Freeney, Kristoffer Diaz/Jaime Casteneda, Krista Knight/Jill Sobule, Zachary Fine and Skymonkey, and Stephen Belber/Jamal Joseph.
  • EPISODIC LAB (support, mentorship and guidance to promising episodic/tv projects): Alex Spieth, Bashir Gavriel, Deborah Stein, Iman Ahmed, Tina Satter/Jess Barbagallo, Sarah Mickelson, Wendy MacLeod, Zackery Alexzander Stephens, Zen Freese & Benjamin Ross Lyerly.
  • ORCHARD PROJECT GREENHOUSE (providing year-round collaborative support for a top notch cohort of creators): Robert Ross Parker, Ellie Heyman, Sarah Gancher, J. Julian Christopher, Maggie Kate Coleman & Erato Kremmyda, Susan Soon He Stanton, Billy Recce, Kate Douglas, and Soomi Kim.

Information about all lab participants and projects will be posted shortly on, and other participants to be still announced.
As part of the Orchard Project’s ongoing commitment to push the storytelling form, it will be supporting a new online-only laboratory called the Liveness Lab. The Liveness Lab will explore how performance can address the questions of “liveness” in the current moment, looking into and far beyond live-streamed video chat. From technical solutions to process-based innovations, the artists and companies participating will explore possibilities, hear from experts in a variety of fields, and examine processes past, present, and future.
During the first phase of the lab, as many as 15 different makers, teams, and companies will convene through weekly meetings and panels with leading thinkers (e.g. VR experts, app developers in the tech space, immersive event designers, etc). Part think-tank and part greenhouse, this first phase of the lab will culminate in a virtual public online convening (details to be determined by the lab) in mid to late July.
Applications for the lab are free to submit, due on May 15, 2020, and available on
The Orchard Project is a leading American arts institution committed to supporting the most innovative artists and companies from the US and around the world in the creation of new bold new work. The Orchard Project identifies and promotes new and established voices, and has propelled over 250 ideas to production in just over ten years through its professional lab, episodic lab, and Greenhouse. The Orchard Project’s programs and initiatives push the industry and the theatrical form, as well as building diverse audiences and educating young members of the theater community.
Works created at the Orchard Project have been seen by audiences in New York, Boston, London, Tokyo, Stockholm, Washington D.C, and more. From All the Way to The Aliens and from An Octoroon to Posh, the Orchard Project has played a significant role in the development of countless new and varied works that have been produced on and off Broadway and at theaters including St. Ann’s Warehouse, MCC Theatre, BAM, Arena Stage, Philly Live Arts, PS122, The Public Theatre, Atlantic Theater Company, the Edinburgh Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Yale Rep, the Royal Court, and beyond.
The core activities of the Orchard Project are a series of accelerating residency and artist support programs that occur in New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY. Programs include laboratories for theatrical plays and musicals, episodic content, audio storytelling, and a world class apprentice program for young artists.

For more information, visit

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