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"The Fountain," by Christopher Anselmo and Jared Corak, developed as part of the LabWorks program. (Photo by Alexis Buatti-Ramos)

New Victory Theater Announces 2019-20 LabWorks Artists

11 artistic teams will develop new works to expand the TYA canon.

NEW YORK CITY: The New Victory Theater has announced its 2019-20 New Victory LabWorks Artists. The program provides New York City-based artists with resources and support to develop new works for family audiences. The 11 artistic teams selected will tackle such topics as racism, adoption, and masculinity, among others.

LabWorks was established in 2012 to encourage artists to create works that challenge preconceptions commonly held about theatre for young audiences. LabWorks artists receive a stipend,  rehearsal space in the New 42 Studios, and the opportunity to get feedback from children through invited rehearsals.

“Many of this year’s artists explore the meaning of home and how we find comfort in an uncertain world, a particularly compelling theme when we consider the conflicts young people deal with today,” said Mary Rose Lloyd, senior director of artistic programming, in a statement. “New Victory LabWorks encourages artists to dig into big ideas. We want them to make choices as surprising and imaginative as the kids who will see their work.”

The 2019-20 New Victory LabWorks Artists include:

  • In Sheela and the Amazons, ChelseaDee Harrison (In Perpetual Flight: The Migration of the Black Body) deconstructs common perceptions of the Amazons and weaves together powerful stories of matriarchal societies using puppetry, dance, song, and original music.
  • Christopher Rudd (2019 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow) of RudduR Dance will create Witness, an exploration of America’s racial bias through contemporary dance and technology in a powerful fusion of art and activism.
  • Jess Kaufman (Dear Edwina, ’SWonderful: The New Gershwin Musical) adapts Randall de Seve’s popular children’s book Mathilda and the Orange Balloon in collaboration with UK-based DH Ensemble to be fully accessible to Deaf and hearing audiences.
  • Jody Drezner Alperin and Vicky Finney Crouch (directors, All American Boys 2016), along with Brooklyn’s Off the Page, adapts Kip Wilson’s young adult novel White Rose.
  • Playwright and puppeteer Dan Jones, in collaboration with director Chava Curland, fuses contemporary storytelling, puppetry, and mask work to update Ray Bradbury’s popular fantasy novel The Halloween Tree.
  • Andrea Ang (No Place, the Tank’s LadyFest) and Leah Ogawa (Molding, Flushing Town Hall) employ shadow puppetry and movement in Whale Come Home!, an environmentally conscious immersive theatre piece telling the coming-of-age story of a young whale’s empowering quest to return her family back to their ancestral home.
  • Jeanna Phillips and Alex Thrailkill (Cowboy Bob, Secret Supper: The Musical), collaborate with nicHi douglas (where love lies fallow, the Shed; Black Girl Magic Show!) to use a mix of disciplines to immerse audiences in an imaginative devised world.
  • Trusty Sidekick Theater Company (Up and Away, Shadow Play) bring both the excitement and the hardships of the American frontier to life in Goldrush, combining theatre, music, magic, and puppetry in this interactive new show that will travel around early childhood classrooms.
  • Tom Costello and Brendan Dalton (previous collaborations at Atlantic for Kids, the Flea Theater, and the Pit) explore the virtues of gentle masculinity through original music, storytelling, and the tale of a pregnant seahorse.
  • Sarah Dahnke draws communities together in To Grow a Pomegranate, using the power of dance and movement to explore immigration, otherness and adoption.
  • Musician and performer Laura Galindo (Fountain, LabWorks 2018-19) leads audiences on a genre-bending musical journey in Annie Aspen’s Musical Space Spectacular!

New Victory will also continue working with the following returning artists:

  • Composer Faye Chiao (To See the Stars, 2017 OPERA America Female Composer Discovery Award) and playwright Anton Dudley (2012 Lambda Literary Award Finalist) build the musical universe of Baba Yaga and the Firebird.
  • Valerie Clayman Pye and Spellbound Theatre (The World Inside Me, two-time Henson Foundation Family Grant recipients and winner of AATE’s 2017 Zeta Phi Eta-Winifred Ward Outstanding New Children’s Theatre Company Award) use media and Shakespeare’s lyrical text to form Shakespeare’s Stars for the under five
  • Hip-hop playwright Aaron Jafferis and composers Rebecca Hart, Yako 440, and Jacinth Greywoode use the four elements of hip-hop to reveal the hidden strengths of vulnerability in How to Break, a compelling take on the layered experience of illness.

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