The BRB Retreat is a deep dive into FGP’s methods of delighted listening and joyful creation, providing an opportunity for artists of all mediums to initiate their own projects, build collaborative relationships, and develop their artistic process. The annual summer retreat, now in it’s fifth year, has served hundreds of theatre artists, musicians, choreographers, composers, designers, installation artists, authors, arts administrators, and podcasters.
AMY GIJSBERS VAN WIJK is a queer, first-generation American playwright from Texas. She has been a finalist for PlayPenn, and a semi-finalist for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival and the O’Neill (all 2016). She is a member of Pipeline’s PlayLab 2017-18, and The Tank’s Pilot Writing Group. She has previously made theatre with an Oculus Rift, and written a play for a robot. BA, Brooklyn College. MFA, Carnegie Mellon University under Rob Handel.
ANDREW R. BUTLER is a 2018 Jonathan Larson Grant recipient for his music & lyrics. His sci-fi folk concert Rags Parkland Sings The Songs Of The Future is premiering at Ars Nova this Fall, and was developed in part through FGP’s Playground Playgroup. Andrew’s work has also been developed by Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Pipeline Theatre Co., Playwrights Downtown, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, Theatre Aspen, TheatreWorksUSA, The Civilians, and The Polyphone Festival at UArts. www.andrewrbutler.com
Trumpeter ALPHONSO HORNE is a two-time Grammy nominated trumpeter named by Wynton Marsalis as one of the rising stars of the next generation. Horne has performed with many renowned jazz artists including Marcus Roberts, Michael Feinstein, Rhiannon Giddens, Marilyn Maye and Rihanna. He has performed in venues and festivals around the world including Monterey, Montreal, and Umbria Jazz Festivals. Horne has also performed in Tony- Award winning Broadway shows including “After Midnight” and “Shuffle Along” featuring guest artists Fantasia Barrino, Dule, Toni Braxton, Audra McDonald, Savion Glover and many more. Mr. Horne holds degrees from Florida State University (BM), and The Julliard School (MM).
THOMAS MATTHEWS is from DC and went to NYU. His acting credits include HBO’s The Newsroom, American Hustle and Joy. He’s currently in post for his directorial feature film debut, Lost Holiday, starring Kate Lyn Sheil, Joshua Leonard, William Jackson Harper and Isaiah Whitlock Jr. He’s a founding member of the Attic Theater Company, with whom he produced and acted in 6 productions at The Connolly, The Wings, and The Flea.
PHILLIP CHRISTIAN SMITH is a semifinalist and finalist respectively for The American Shakespeare Center’s Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries for his play Comedy, Errors, Vanity, and Stupidity, a sequel to The Comedy of Errors, and Trustus Playwrights’ Festival. He is Co-Artistic Director of The Playwriting Collective, a playwright-driven initiative designed to support writers from lower economic backgrounds, and playwright in residence at Exquisite Corpse Company. His play The Chechens will be produced in August by Exquisite Corpse.
TOM COSTELLO is a freelance writer/director. He is the Associate Artistic Director of Pipeline Theatre Company and an Associate Artist at the Flea (Smoke by Kim Davies; The Wundelsteipen by Nick Jones). He has been a Drama League Hangar Directing Fellow (Olivia Dufault’s The Messenger; Christopher Parks’ Aesop’s Fables), director and deviser with Dramatic Adventure Theatre in Ecuador and Slovakia. Current faculty member at Atlantic Theater Company (most recently, Sarah Ruhl’s Passion Play.) NYU/Tisch BFA in Drama; FAMU Screenwriting.
KATE EASTMAN is an actor and writer from Fallbrook, CA. Her first web pilot, ‘Rx’, will be online this fall. She loves new plays and Shakespeare, and recently played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at the Guthrie Theater. She holds a BFA from NYU and an MFA from Juilliard. She dreams of a home in the woods and Medicare For All.
NATHANIEL BLAKE JOHNSON is a New York based writer who hails from Phoenix and Dallas. Both places play instrumental parts in culling who he aims to be as a person and artist. He received his undergraduate degree from Morehouse College in Atlanta for English and an MFA in playwriting from The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University. He has had works done under Cry Havoc Theater Company and Liberation Theater Company.
GIL TORRES is a writer, creator, and communications professional based in Brooklyn. Gil currently works at H&M’s headquarters office in NYC and is a graduate of California State University, Chico where he studied theatre. He met collaborator Billy McEntee in 2015 while performing in Hairspray at the Berkeley Playhouse in Berkeley, CA. Upon moving to New York, they created “Meet Gil” and look forward to developing this project.
BILLY MCENTEE is a Brooklyn-based writer whose articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, American Theatre Magazine, The Brookyln Rail, and Indiewire, among others. He is the Art Editor for Greenpointers and is a volunteer Spanish tutor with Make the Road New York in his free time. Billy works at Playwrights Horizons and is excited to see “Meet Gil” come to life alongside his collaborator, Gil Torres.
ANYA GIBIAN is an actor-musician based in Brooklyn. She loves collaborating with musicians and writers and making theater. Acting credits: National Tour: Cabaret, Once; Off Broadway: The Pirate La Dee Da, The Velveteen Rabbit (Atlantic Theater Company); The Mysteries (The Flea), Solina (New York Fringe Festival). Anya voices multiple characters on the audio drama podcast The Once and Future Nerd, as well as writing and performing original songs. Co-creator/writer with Juliana Kleist-Mendez on a devised piece called Rain Upon Remembrance. www.anyagibian.com.
T. ADAMSON is a playwright-dramaturg-and-performer whose list of potential titles for plays includes Stinkboat, Llamas in the Wigwam, Don’t Tell Bartholomew: The Musical, Mussolini Schmussolini, and Cube Root! Rita and Burton Goldberg Playwriting Prize, Irv Zarkower Award, Heideman Award Finalist, Bay Area Playwrights Festival Finalist. Big FGP fan and former Playground member. MFA: Hunter College. Thanks to God and my fam. Texas-raised Manhattanite. All referrals through: www.tadamsonplays.com
GRAHAM TECHLER has developed plays with the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Less Than Rent, and Urban Stages, and is published in anthologies by Smith & Kraus and Applause Books. He’s written for Paste Magazine, Splitsider, and Funny or Die. He also co-hosts The UFO Show (Pine Box Rock Shop) as well as Read Something Why Don’t You, You Illiterate F**k (Velvet Brooklyn), and performs and teaches improv around places with Dark Sneak Love Action.
WI-MOTO NYOKA is a performer and transmedia artist. Awards and honors include: Puffin Foundation grant recipient 2012, the Brick’s Comic Book Theater Festival 2014 selected librettist, Indie Boots Theater Festival Finalist & Audience Award Honorable Mention 2015, A.R.T/New York Creative Space Grant recipient 2016, MultiStage 2017 New Works Contest Semi-Finalist. Official Film Selections include: Urban Action Showcase (2016), MeccaCon International Film Festival (2016-18), Official Latino Short Film Festival (2017), The Art of Brooklyn (2018). Residencies include: Tanzhaus NRW Interdisciplinary Works 2011, The Playwriting Collective Writers Group 2017 and Fresh Ground Pepper Playground Playgroup 2017-18. She holds a BFA in Music Theater from the University of the Arts and an MFA for Performance & Interactive Media Arts from Brooklyn College.
JESSICA CREANE is an experimental game designer and performance artist based in Philadelphia, PA. She has worked in National Parks, on Broadway, and in the digital abyss. She makes playful, philosophical work that breaks apart the assumed rules of social play and reimagines the limits of human agency through infinite games and immersive experiences. Jessica is a graduate of The Pig Iron School of Advanced Performance Training. More can be found at www.jessicacreane.com.
JOSEPH WHITE is a musician based in Brooklyn, NY. Since 2011, he has been composer and musical performer for Rady and Bloom Collective Playmaking, with performances at spots such as New Ohio Theatre, Ars Nova, and The Brick Theatre. He is composer of the HERE Arts produced Ding Dong, It’s the Ocean, written by Alex Borinsky, which premiered at JACK in the spring of 2018. Joseph’s musical storytelling work, Boomwaggle was released on Gold Bolus Recordings in 2016, and his unsettling Christmas EP, Toyland, was released with Gelsey Bell in 2017. @joewhitenoise
SARAH COOK recently directed book club. by Nazareth Hassan and Living and Dying and Being Dead by Amelia French at Dixon Place. Upcoming: An Untitled Play About Sluts by Sara Kommer at HOT! Festival. She earned her BFA from NYU where she wrote her thesis, “TAKING UP SPACE: The Regulation, Representation, and Reclamation of Fat Female Bodies in the U.S,” and was awarded the J.S. Seidman Award for Drama for artistic and scholastic excellence.
BRENDA NEISLER currently lives in Athens, Georgia. A high school media specialist for 32 years, she enjoyed connecting students and teachers with resources, information and a love for reading. During this time she created the first collaborative learning commons in Gwinnett County, the largest school system of Georgia. Brenda is a certified yoga instructor. She believes yoga offers physical benefits but also personal balance from self-awareness and spiritual renewal. Her goal as an instructor is to help others discover the unique mystery that is their true self.
NOAM SHAPIRO is a New York based director whose work focuses on how we respond during moments of crisis or change. He is the Producing Artistic Director of Three Hares, a Manhattan Theatre Club Directing Fellow, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and a Drama League First Stage Resident Artist. Noam has developed work with Ensemble Studio Theatre, The LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, The Barrow Group, The Tank, The Brick, The Lark, and Dixon Place. noamshapiro.com
FREDDY EPSTEIN is a bassist, producer and theater maker who has toured both nationally and internationally with a wide range of artists. Recent projects: Animal Wisdom by Heather Christian (Bushwick Starr); The Parade Ground by Eric Farber (FGP Fest); and The Elementary Spacetime Show by César Alvarez (Playwrights Horizons). Freddy is excited to be part of the FGP BRB Retreat to continue work on his hardcore/post-rock musical – Smoke Signals. He lives with his wife Dezi in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. www.soundcloud.com/freddy-epstein
MICHAEL BARRINGER is a filmmaker, writer, and performer living in Brooklyn. Backsiders (screenwriter/DP/producer), a short film supported by a residency from Barn Arts Collective, is an official selection of this year’s AltFest NY and the Hoboken International Film Festival. He is a member of theatre and film company Caborca; their debut feature film, The Entitlement (cinematographer), was awarded Best Feature Screenplay and Best Crime Drama at the 2018 Manhattan Film Festival, and is also an official selection of Indie Street Film Festival. He directed a proof-of-concept for Cloister F*cked, an in-development web-series created by past BRB-er’s Claire Rothrock & Ryann Weir. Upcoming: director of web-pilot comedy Porn for the Blind, written by Brady Walker. Supermarketfilms.tv
CRISTINA PITTER is a queer fat babe interdisciplinary artist, sex educator, activist, and founder of The Ashè Collective, a group which focuses on storytelling inspired by ancestral roots and identities while also engaging in community outreach. She also has the best laugh ever. SERIOUSLY. You might have seen her work at The Metropolitan Opera, 59E59 Theaters, Ars Nova, Classic Stage, New Ohio Theatre, Joe’s Pub, The PIT, The Tank, The Flea Theater, JACK, Dixon Place, Bizarre Bushwick, or three separate but specific bathtubs. Her show “decolonizing my vagina” will next be explored with a new performance art piece, “decolonizing the color of queerness” with her residency at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Feel free to follow her antics on Twitter @isisgypsy and Instagram @lavidabrujeria.
RYAN FOGARTY’s plays include You’ll Catch Flies (2018 O’Neill semifinalist, FGP Playground Playgroup), Goldfish Love (Princess Grace semifinalist), Beating Off, and Skin Like Milk (Cherry Lane Mentor Project finalist). He currently holds commissions from New Conservatory Theater Center and the EST/Sloan. He has developed work with Second Stage, LAByrinth, The Flea, The Lark, Celebration, among others. Robert Chesley/Victor Bumbalo Award, Wurlitzer Fellow. BFA Dramatic Writing NYU Tisch. Coming up: Plover @ Sam French OOB Fest.
AARON GONZALEZ is a Director, Actor, Designer, Stage Manager and graduate of UNCSA. Projection Design: GHETTO KLOWN (Lyceum), Resident Director/ASM: BILLY ELLIOT National Tour. Associate Director/Ensemble BILLY ELLIOT (MUNY, Music Theatre Wichita, Gateway Playhouse) SM: THE LION KING (Minskoff), TIME STANDS STILL (MTC & The Cort), LATIN HISTORY FOR MORONS (Studio 54 & Public Theatre). PM: GHETTO KLOWN (International Tour) AN EVENING WITH NOEL FIELDING (US Tour). Winner of Innovative Lighting Design (2016 I.T. Awards) ACTOR: BULL on CBS. aarongonzalez.info
REBECCA VINEYARD is a California-born, Brooklyn-based actor/ performer and writer. She received her BFA in drama with a minor in producing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, and trained at the Atlantic Acting School. Her solo autobiographical piece regarding her experiences as a white-passing Palestinian person, Ambiguously Olive, was developed through Undiscovered Countries’ inaugural Blast Off! development lab in 2017. She regularly performs original work for shows produced by Undiscovered Countries and Paper Kraine Productions.
WIL PETRE is a performer, writer, and experience designer focusing on social architecture and intimate performance in public spaces. He currently operates Aqua Regia, a pop-up bar for one, writes and tells stories with The Moth, and occasionally performs boylesque under the name Handsome Peter. He is developing A Cocktail Party Game, a game that could be played at a cocktail party, and hosts cocktail parties where this game is played.
DANIELLE BECKMANN is an actress, producer, and writer originally from Los Angeles living in Brooklyn. You can catch her weekly performance on the live-streamed Dungeons & Dragons show, Carroll Guardians. She feels honored to produce, act in, and write stories with her friends at Brooklyn Quarter studios in (you guessed it) Brooklyn, NY. Whether it’s on set, in a sound booth, or in a theater, Danielle loves breathing life into new projects. daniellebeckmann.com
CHRIS TYLER is a performing artist examining the intersections of popular culture, collective action and digital identity. Recent projects include the ongoing MAKE AMERICA series (Ars Nova), flesh failure (The Civilians’ R&D Group), R*NT (University Settlement), and TOTAL REJECTS LIVE!!! (Public Theater/Under the Radar Festival). His performance style has been called “equal parts hilarious and chilling” (Fusion), “precise-yet-butchered” (Out Magazine) and “so cute” (Taylor Swift). AB: Brown University. Follow him @NOTCHRISTYLER.
MAX REUBEN is a Philadelphia-born, Brooklyn-based playwright, director, and teacher who loves big-hearted, humanistic theater that attempts to reduce the amount of existential despair and loneliness in the universe. He’s written, directed, and devised work in a diversity of venues from Ars Nova to the Museum of Modern Art to a very hip apartment in Williamsburg. He’s a proud graduate of Playwrights Horizons Theater School, an undergraduate studio at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he now teaches first-year playwriting. In the summers, he teaches playwriting and devises new plays with the Powerhouse Theater Training Program at Vassar College.
Pub/A.R.T.); Pulp Vérité (Lee Strasberg Directing Fellow); A Snowfall in Berlin (Nylon Fusion); Must Be The Music (ArsNova); A Streetcar Named Desire (NYU). BFA: NYU; Producing Artistic Director 2018 Planet Connections Theatre Festivity; Artistic Associate Musical Theatre Factory 2017/18; teacher at Playwrights Horizons Theater School/NYU.
BEN HOLBROOK‘s works have been produced, developed, or commissioned by: Fundamental Theater Project, Ruddy Productions, The New York International Fringe Festival, The Memphis Fringe Festival (TN), Ugly Rhino(LA), Seoul Players (SK), Holiday House, Find the Light (LA), The Irish Arts Council, The Motor Company, and others. He’s been awarded the Edward Albee Foundation fellowship, the Drama League Rough Draft Residency, Fresh Ground Pepper’s Playground Playgroup Residency, Judson Church’s Magic Time residency, and is the inaugural recipient of the Peter Shaffer Award for Excellence in Playwriting.
Anna Abhau Elliott
Ryann Weir, Andrew Farmer, Claire Rothrock
T. Adamson & Joel Soren
Evan Watkins and Ryann Weir
Anna Abhau Elliott
Jay Owen Eisenberg
Jessica O’Hara Baker