The 2017-19 Writer/ Director LAB

William Burke & Jackie Sibblies Drury, Co-Chairs

The 2017 Writer/ Director Lab cohort. Photo by Sam Horvath.

In January, 2019 the Soho Rep. Writer/Director LAB will culminate in public presentations of new works that have been created and developed by artistic collaborators Shayok Misha Chowdhury & Virginia Grise, Ann Marie Dorr & Paul Ketchum, Jen Goma & Kristine Haruna Lee, Raja Feather Kelly & Daaimah Mubashshir, and Julia Mounsey & Peter Mills Weiss under the mentorship of co-chairs William Burke and Jackie Sibblies Drury.

The Soho Rep Writer/Director LAB was founded in 1998 to explore and develop the work of a new generation of theater artists and to foster new collaborations between writers and directors in the beginning stages of the creative process. Now, the LAB remains focused on this collaboration, inviting writer/director teams, of various backgrounds and experience, to apply with new and ambitious projects.

Currently, LAB applications are closed. Keep an eye on this space for an update on when the next round of applications is opened. You can also join the Soho Rep. e-mail list (bottom of the page), or follow our social media accounts for news on the Lab presentations and application process.

The 2017-19 Lab:

Shayok Misha Chowdhury is a queer Bengali director and writer based in New York City. He is co-founder of the The Lonely Painter Project, a collaborative which looks to performance as the art of embodied inquiry. His work has been or is currently being developed at Ars Nova, New York Theatre Workshop, SPACE on Ryder Farm, HERE Arts Center, the New York Musical Festival, the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, and the CATWALK institute. A Fulbright and Kundiman Fellow, Misha’s writing has been published in The Cincinnati Review, TriQuarterly, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. He has co-authored four musicals with composer Laura Grill and was a vocalist on the Grammy-winning album Calling All Dawns. Misha has been a visiting artist at Stanford, Fordham, and Syracuse, and is currently a New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellow and the Levitt Artist-in-Residence at Williams College. MFA: Columbia.

Virginia Grise is a recipient of the Whiting Writers’ Award, Princess Grace Award in Theatre Directing and the Yale Drama Series Award. Her published work includes Your Healing is Killing Me (Plays Inverse Press), blu (Yale University Press), The Panza Monologues co-written with Irma Mayorga (University of Texas Press), and an edited volume of Zapatista communiqués titled Conversations with Don Durito (Autonomedia Press). She earned her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and currently lives and writes in the Bronx.

Misha and Virginia on their play:

“rasgos asiaticos looks to a history that’s been (imperfectly) erased: Chinese immigration and settlement in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. It’s about moving bodies and porous borders. It’s about making home in inhospitable country.”

Ann Marie Dorr often works on big-little shows with adventurous and ambitious ideas in downtown and Brooklyn spaces including The Bushwick Starr, Abrons Arts Center, The Brick, The New Ohio, and JACK. Upcoming: continued exploration of How To… amongst other projects with Paul Ketchum and new plays with Sarah Loucks and William Burke. She is a proud Associated Artist of Target Margin Theater and currently the Production Manager at The Bushwick Starr.

Paul Ketchum is a playwright and performer. Some recent plays of his include The Harper’s Play (JACK, Prelude), How to Fold a Fitted Sheet (Silent Barn), The Dangers of Croquet (The Bushwick Starr Reading Series), The Bearded Wonder (Erin Courtney’s backyard) and so many other large and small things at various venues professional or otherwise. He’s performed in plays by Ariel Stess, William Burke, Jordan Baum and many other stupidly talented people. He has an MFA from Brooklyn College in startling middle-aged investment bankers.

Ann Marie and Paul on their play:

“Good and Noble Beings is an adaptation of A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari with a cast of dozens. There are more ways to perform the play than there are particles in the observable universe.”

Jen Goma is a writer, creator and performer who lives in Brooklyn, NY. As Showtime Goma, Jen released her debut album, made in collaboration with Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier and her A Sunny Day in Glasgow bandmates, called Smiley Face, in May of 2017. Premiering self-produced music videos on NPR, Brooklyn Vegan and Playboy, Showtime Goma’s Smiley Face also received coverage by Pitchfork, Stereogum, Consequence of Sound and Rolling Stone, placed on their list of “Albums to Stream Now.” Goma tours frequently, opening for acts like of Montreal, in her most recent live show with collaborator Nancy Feast (Teeny Lieberson of the band TEEN), as well as with her band A Sunny Day in Glasgow, who have been invited to perform at the Primavera Sound Festival, Les Nuits Botanique and SXSW. Goma was also a member of People Get Ready, a band/performance vehicle that has mounted shows at NY institutions like The Kitchen and New York Live Arts, in addition to providing live original music for Jodi Melnick in the Fall For Dance festival and performing at the Crossing Brooklyn Ferry Festival. The consummate collaborator, she has shared the stage with Jherek Bischoff, been featured on records by The Pains of Being Pure at Heart and created a documentary video short series with Luisa Conlon called The Working Life, which has been shown by the Brooklyn Filmaker’s Collective. A consultant on the Play Our Kiki: A Gay Farce which premiered in 2013 at the Fringe Festival as an AEA Showcase, Jen is currently writing music and lyrics for, You’re It, a musical based on the Netflix series Making a Murderer, while composing and sound designing for harunalee’s Memory Retrograde and Built for Collapse’s Danger Signals.

Kristine Haruna Lee is a playwright/director/performer, and a founding member of harunalee theater company. Recent plays with harunalee include to the left of the pantry and under the sugar shack (La Mama Club) and War Lesbian (Dixon Place TONY LGBT Critic’s Pick). Upcoming: harunalee + Ars Nova Maker’s Lab presents Memory Retrograde as part of Under the Radar’s Incoming! Series, and the world premiere of Suicide Forest at Bushwick Starr in 2019. Other plays: Drunkfish Oceanrant, Funeral Plays, Plum de Force and TROIKA. She has received developmental support from Space on Ryder Farm, Little Theater, Prelude Festival, York College, Food for Thought/Danspace, Asian American Writer’s Workshop, and held residencies/commissions with Ars Nova, BAX and Dixon Place. Lee is a recipient of the Lotos Foundation Prize for Directing, New Dramatist Van Lier Fellowship, and is a member of the New Georges Jam and Interstate 73. MFA Brooklyn College for playwriting. She currently teaches at NYU Tisch.

Jen and Kristine on their play:

“plural (love) is a live performance that catalogues quandaries on ‘love’ shared in real-time. Drawing from auto-theory, daydreaming, critical theory/text, and song, we exercise radical truth-telling, which has become a major feminist project for both of us creatively and in life.”

Raja Feather Kelly‘s direction includes Another Fucking Warhol Production (The Kitchen), Andy Warhol’s Bleu Movie (BAM Fisher), Andy Warhol’s TROPICO (Danspace Project), Andy Warhol’s DRELLA, I Love You Faye Driscoll (The invisible Dog), and Andy Warhol’s 15: Color Me, Warhol; (Dixon Place). Off-Broadway credits include choreography for Brenden Jacobs-Jenkins, Lila Neugabauer, Susan-Lori Parks, Lilieana Blain-Cruz, Richard Allen, Taran Gray’s and Whitney White. His recent collaborations are with Daaimah Mubashshir.

Raja was born in Fort Hood, Texas, and is the first and only choreographer to dedicate the entirety of his company’s (the feath3r theory) work to Andy Warhol and the development of popular culture over the last thirty years.

Honors include a 2017 Princess Grace Award for a Fellowship in Choreography, The 2017-18 Buran Theatre Carthorse Fellowship, a 2017 Bessie Schoenberg Fellowship at the Yard on Martha’s Vineyard, and a 2016 NYFA Choreography Fellowship. He received his BA in Dance and English from Connecticut College.

Daaimah Mubashshir plays include Night of Power (Columbia University), Rum for Sale (Signature Theatre-Ford Studio), There is Something About a Clock Face ( The Kilroys, JACK, Ensemble Studio Theatre & The Fire This Time Festival) and Not In This Room (The Fire This Time Festival, Magic Time @ Judson Church & Here Arts). Her work was also seen at Little Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem, The Bushwick Starr and The American AF Festival among others. She also enjoys pushing the boundaries of theatre – In Everyday Afroplay (The Bushwick Starr and JACK) Daaimah creates text for theatrical experiences, which blur the lines between the visual art, poetry, and theatre. Everyday Afroplay will be published in 3 Hole Press’s 2018 catalogue. She is a member of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writers Group and New Georges. Selected awards include a MacDowell Fellowship, and a Foundation of Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant. MFA: Columbia University.

Daaimah and Raja on their play:

“EVERYDAY AFROPLAY (EDAP), is an ongoing daily playwriting exercise, born out of a dire need to capture and express the ever-shifting perspective of living in black skin. Each instance EDAP is presented live; it is re-invented. We will create and develop a new theatrical experience using EDAP as genesis for the two year Writer/Director Lab process.”

Julia Mounsey is a writer and theater maker. Her work has been seen at New Skin//Old Ceremony at Cloud City, Little Theatre at Dixon Place, No Theme Performance Festival at Cocoon Theater, JACK, and is forthcoming at Under the Radar INCOMING! at the Public Theater. She has worked with New York City Players, Soho Rep., and was an Assistant Director on Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men. Her poetry has been published in Silo, Bodega, and The Washington Square Review. 2017 HB Studio Resident. 2018 Devised Theater Working Group at The Public Theater.

Peter Mills Weiss is a monologuist, theater artist, and founding member of GRANDMA. His work has been seen at Little Theatre at Dixon Place, CATCH Performance Series, and PS122’s COIL Festival. MAKE PEOPLE, his last show with GRANDMA, was presented as part of LaMaMa’s 2015 -16 season. 2015 Target Margin Theater Fellow, 2017 HB Studio Resident, and 2017-2018 member of the Public Theater’s Devised Theater Working Group.

Julia and Peter on their play:

“The working title of our project is While You Were Partying. It is a text-based piece that explores ideologies of white male violence, trauma, militarism and misogyny.”

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