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 cohort! We couldn’t be more thrilled about starting our second round of the lab with these new artists.

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 incredible 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.

Viniyata Pany & Divya Mangwani

Viniyata Pany is a multidisciplinary artist based in Brooklyn. She makes objects, installations and performances. Her practice is rooted in focused listening and reflection on aural ecosystems. She has exhibited her work and performed at NYU, Babycastles, Littlefield and Target Margin Theatre. A graduate of ITP, Tisch School of the Arts, her work has been featured in The Washington Post, Newsweek, The Verge, Huffington Post, Evening Standard and Breitbart among others.

Divya Mangwani is a writer and theatre artist from Pune, India, now based in New York. She was the founder and Artistic Director of Moonbeam Factory Theatre where she wrote, directed and produced plays that were staged all over India, Glasgow and Singapore. MFT supported community building and education through theatre. In New York, Divya’s work has been developed/seen at NYTW, The Flea, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Mabou Mines, Hypokrit Theatre Company, Pipeline Theatre Company, Project Y Theatre, Theatre East, Castillo Theatre and Governors Island. Her plays include Elements of Change (UN Climate Change Week), Yes, Uncle (finalist, Leah Ryan Fund for Emerging Women Writers 2018; semi-finalist, Page 73 Playwriting Fellowship 2018), Rise of the River (semi-finalist Playwrights Realm 2019), One, Two, Three (best script, director, play and audience vote, Short+Sweet Festival), among others. She was a 2018-2019 NYTW 2050 Artistic Fellow and is currently working on a three play cycle about Sindh, before and after the Partition.

Project Description:
Kalam कलम is a series of absurdist imaginings of alternative histories, breaking down the idea of the pen from a symbol of the free press to the object that signed the Emergency document during Indira Gandhi’s leadership.

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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