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Understanding the Orchard Project and its Programs

Since its inception in 2007, The Orchard Project has tried to diffentiate itself for artists and companies alike by providing a form-fitting atmosphere for the development of work. Over time, and with more than 250 projects accelerated, we have grown to learn that the more we can articulate what to expect (and not to expect) with our support, the better. 

I was thrilled that, in a calm and supportive environment, I was able to get a great deal of work done on my new play. Also that the artists get to lead the model of their development needs instead of the institution is rare and wonderful.

2017 OP Participant

The Orchard Project is unique--it treats artists with respect, trust, and support, in an atmosphere of joyous informality coupled with deep seriousness about the work itself. OP gets that theatre may come out of the work of writers, actors, devisers, musicians, directors, comedians, producers, poets, or fools, and OP performs an act of unconditional faith in saying only, 'Here's time and space. Do what you do.' Grateful!!

2017 OP Participant

The Orchard Project inspires wild work because it is grounded in its mission (one that is so unusual, and so vital to the artists who are lucky enough to spend a week there) to give freedom in its residencies. The lack of end-gaining creates the possibility ends beyond one's wildest dreams!

2017 OP Participant

What the Orchard Project Provides

Most artists and companies who come to the Orchard Project attest to its ability to provide flexible support during residencies and within its continuum of support. For our standard residency, the structure of work is organized by the artist or company, and there is usually no "capstone" event (e.g. public reading) required at the end of a residency. An artist or company could work on one, two, or more projects. In the summer of 2018, for instance:

  • Manual Cinema (IL), worked on its adaptation of Frankenstein, creating new puppets, storyboarding, incorporating “laboratory" of cameras, overhead projectors, actors, and puppets in one rehearsal space, while its composers and music team worked on scoring in another;
  • Longtime Tectonic Theater Project members Barbara Pitts McAdams (NY) and Jimmy Maize (NY) worked with the Orchard Project's Core Company to create initial moment work a new piece about activisim called the #HereToo Project.
  • Longtime collaborators and downtown NY mainstays Steve Zehentner (NY) and Penny Arcade (NY), developing their newest work Old Queen (working title);
  • Performance artist and singer Joseph Keckler (NYC) continued developing early content for Let Me Die, an amalgamation of original work and operatic death scenes culled from the canon;
  • Fiasco Theater (NY) did text and prepartory work on a new reimagining of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera;
  • The Orchard Project workshopped and read, casting actors from NYC, Heidi Armbruster's play Mrs. Christie;
  • Roundabout Theatre Company's (NY) Space Jam program - a playwright support initiative - collaborated with the Orchard Project to support various works by playwrights Alex Lubischer, Jiehae Park, and Ming Peiffer, who all had private writing time and the chance to have various scenes and plays read by other artists in residence.
  • Autobiographical solo performer Ryan J. Haddad (NY) returning the the OP to collaborate with composer/vocalist Trevor Bachman and director and Orchard Project Director of Cabaret Julian Fleisher on Haddad's debut cabaret piece, Falling for Make Believe, culminating in an invited sharing of the piece for the 50+ other artists in residence.