Writer/Director Lab

The 2019-2021 Soho Rep. Writer/Director LAB

William Burke & Jackie Sibblies Drury, Co-Chairs

We’re so excited to continue another year with the 2019-2021 Writer / Director LAB!

The LAB, first started in 1998, is an engine for creating lasting artistic relationships and giving the artists the means and resources to make a tangible piece of theater. It supports the development of four projects created by collaborative teams over 18 months, culminating in work-in-progress presentations at Soho Rep.

Read more about these artists and their projects below.

Jeesun Choi & Bryn Herdrich

Jeesun Choi is a transnational Korean playwright and physical theatre artist. Her plays move through diaspora, (im)migration, transnationalism to reveal the joy and agony of the human condition. Plays include Lost Coast (2021 Nashville Rep’s Ingram New Works Festival, reading at New York Theatre Workshop); The Seekers (2019 Bay Area Playwrights Festival Winner, 2019 O’Neill NPC Semifinalist, 2018-19 Bushwick Starr Reading Series, Fresh Ground Pepper Artist Retreat); Dahlia (Lark’s 2018 New Voices Fellowship Finalist, Dell’Arte International); Cecilies (Red Eye Theater, Minnesota Fringe Festival). She was awarded Artist of Exceptional Merit by Asian American Arts Alliance, and currently is the Ingram Lab Playwright at Nashville Rep, a member of EST/Youngblood, and a Usual Suspect at New York Theatre Workshop. She was a fellow at National Institute for Directing & Ensemble Creation at Pangea World Theater and a Works-in-Progress Artist at Red Eye Theater. MFA Ensemble-Based Physical Theatre, Dell’Arte International. jeesunchoi.com

Bryn Herdrich creates live performance events and directs new theatrical work. Recent directing credits include Variations on the Main (codirector, JACK), Interabang (Ars Nova Antfest), Ignis Fatuus (The Tank). She has developed work at The Bushwick Starr, Clubbed Thumb, Williamstown Theater Festival, Ensemble Studio Theater, The Flea Theater, and Dixon Place among others. BFA NYU/Tisch, member of the Williamstown Directors Corps, SDC Observership Class of 2018-2019 and MTC Directing Fellowship. She is a resident director and co-producer of PLAYxPLAY. Currently: associate director, The Sound Inside on Broadway.

Project Description

‘Bust’ will track the head-spinning ascent of an expatriate family from rags to riches- and back to rags- to lay bare the truth and cost of our relentless pursuit for money in the structures of 21st century neocolonialism.

Nia Farrell & Talia Paulette Oliveras

Ta-Nia: We are Talia Paulette Oliveras and Nia Farrell, collectively ta-nia. We are a theatre-making duo committed to challenging the limits of theatre to create unapologetically BLK spaces of liberation and actualization. We are creators and performers who focus on developing new work that foregrounds identity, collectivity, and celebrations of dreams. We studied experimental and collaborative theatre-making at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where we both received a BFA in Drama. During our studies, we participated in the MLK Scholars program and graduated with honors. Our work has since been presented in Ars Nova’s ANT Fest 2019 and will be in Theatretreffen’s Stückemarkt 2021. Recently, we were named finalists for SPACE on Ryder Farm’s Creative Residency 2020.

We are both multi-hyphenate artists who apply our interdisciplinary nature to the art we create in both process and product. We consider ourselves theory-hoes in training and ground our work in theatrical and theoretical conversations of BLK-ness in an anti-BLK society. One of our main sources of inspiration is the Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto which looks toward Black humanity and community as the means of speculation in order to (re)imagine the future. Instead of using science fiction technology as the access point to imagination, we use the “now” space of theatre — what we have in this present moment to build our Afro-future. To learn more about Talia, visit taliaoliveras.com and to learn more about Nia, visit niafarrell.com

Project Description
A MAP TO NOWHERE (things are) is a theatrical and technological experience that starts in the space between dreams and reality and works to close the gap between the two.

Keenan Hurley & Kedian Keohan

Keenan Hurley writes plays and makes sound. His work includes the play The Man Who Built His House to Heaven (59E59, The Edinburgh Fringe), as well as collaborations with Kedian Keohan on DAD DANCE (FEAST, The Playwriting Collective) and with Peter McNally on a workshop of The Power Broker (Magic Time @ Judson Church). He sound designed and performed in Sibyl Kempson’s Sasquatch Rituals (The Kitchen), co-sound designed Erin Markey’s Singlet with Jeff Aaron Bryant (The Bushwick Starr), designed several productions at The Flea, and with Caborca has sound designed shows in New York and in Cuba.

Kedian Keohan is a director, performer, and producer of live performance. They have worked for and collaborated with artists Erin Markey, Ann Marie Dorr & Paul Ketchum, minor theater, Geoff Sobelle, Andrew Schneider, Amanda Palmer, and Alice Gosti. They recently worked with director Jordan Fein on Singlet (Bushwick Starr) and as the Assistant Director for Rags Parkland Sings Songs of the Future (Ars Nova). They have assisted Julia Jarcho on minor theater’s Pathetic (Abrons Art Center) and Marie It’s Time (workshop). Their dearly departed theater company Church of the Millennials was presented at Ars Nova Makers Lab, BAX Upstart Festival, and IRT. Recent directing work: *Chefs Kiss* (FEAST) and Fantasy by Kirsten Harvey (No Theme Festival). Kedian is a proud alumnus of Dan Fishback’s NEEDING IT class at BAX.

Project Description:
A group of adults goes through puberty a second time, BLUSH is a play about ourselves and the black hole that leads elsewhere.

Kate Moore Heaney & Divya Mangwani

Kate Moore Heaney is a theatre director, producer, and dramaturg committed to promoting empathy and investigating social, political, and human rights issues through theatre. Kate is Artistic Producer of Noor Theatre, a steering committee member for the newly formed Middle Eastern and North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA), and a Resident Director at The Flea. She has also directed and/or developed new work with The Civilians’ R&D Group, The Amoralists, New York Theatre Workshop, The Shakespeare Society, The 24 Hour Plays: Nationals, and other NYC companies. She has assistant or associate directed with Ibex Theatricals/The New Vic, McCarter Theatre, Clubbed Thumb, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, and The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway. She graduated Cum Laude from Yale University with a B.A. in Theatre Studies and Psychology. katemooreheaney.com

Divya Mangwani is a writer and theatre artist from Pune, India, now based in New York. She creates work that questions our perception of the political, social and mythical. Divya was the founder and Artistic Director of Moonbeam Factory Theatre in Pune, where she wrote, directed and produced plays that were staged in India, Singapore and the UK. In New York, she has developed plays with UNICEF, Soho Rep, New York Theatre Workshop, The Flea, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Mabou Mines, Hypokrit Theatre, Project Y, Theatre East, Pipeline Theatre, Rising Sun Performance Company and Governors Island. She was a NYTW 2050 Artistic Fellow, Hypokrit Theatre Tamasha fellow and Playlab fellow at Pipeline Theatre. Before theatre, Divya worked as a journalist and editor. divyamangwani.com

Project Description:
An insider/outsider’s perspective on the disorienting evolution of language, accents, and dialects in America, hyperlinking to the future.
{A macro-micro-cosm of the ecosystem of examinations of the systemic paradigm of linguistic socio-structural-cultural framework of what the eff are you talking about?}

Thank you to Lawrence Sutton & Rick Titone for providing generous support to the LAB.

If you have further questions please email us at lab@sohorep.org.

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