Playground Playgroup

fgp programming logos 2017-19

The PlayGround PlayGroup is a year-long, collaborative workshop culminating in the PlayGround Festival, enforcing Fresh Ground Pepper’s mission to prompt and provoke the artist to make art. It is a place where writers and creators of varying mediums convene to convert their pages, projects, and ideas into fresh new works.

Now in it’s sixth year, the PlayGround PlayGroup is a year-long collaborative workshop where writers and creators of varying mediums convene to convert their pages, projects, and ideas into fresh new works. The group meets monthly to share work, commiserate about writing and life, and eat lots of snacks, enforcing Fresh Ground Pepper’s mission to provoke artists to take risks, and to bring artists together and present work mid-process to supportive audiences. Their projects will debut at the first ever Fresh Ground Pepper Festival in April 2018.

Introducing the 2017-2018 Playground Playgroup

headshot1WI-MOTO NYOKA is a performer and transmedia artist. Awards and honors include: Tanzhaus NRW Interdisciplinary Works artist in residence 2011, 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. She holds a BFA in Music Theater from the University of the Arts and an MFA in Performance & Interactive Media Arts from Brooklyn College.

15094230_10101221243021001_425296492313680599_nKRISTA KNIGHT Krista’s work has been produced at New Georges, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova ANT FEST, among others. Commissions include a new musical with Dave Malloy for YMTC, The Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, Case Western, and The Assembly. Residencies at La Napoule, UCROSS, Yaddo, and MacDowell. BA: Brown University. MA: NYU Performance Studies. MFA Playwriting: UC San Diego. Page 73 Playwriting Fellow (2007), Shank Fellow at the Vineyard Theatre (2012). Alum of EST’s Youngblood, TerraNova Groundbreakers, Page 73’s Interstate 73, and Civilians R&D Lab, and member of New Georges JAM. Current Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Fellow at Juilliard.

Portrait of an Artist as a ClownJACOB MARX RICE keeps trying to write comedies, but everyone always ends up crying. Jacob’s play series about mental illness, The Suicidal Comedies, has ben produced around the country and won the Kennedy Center’s Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, Excellence in Playwriting Award at the NY Fringe Festival, Producer’s Pick at the Cincinnati Fringe, and others. Plays include Leni & Joseph (Last Frontier Theatre Conference; The Shelter), Uncertainty/Principle (Finalist, Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference; Finalist, EST/Sloan Project), and Almost Happy (Actors Theatre of Louisville; The Kraine Theater). Jacob is a Playwright in Residence at The Shelter, an alumnus of the Pipeline PlayLab, and an MFA candidate at NYU.
lena-h-012-WEBLENA HUDSON is an actor and writer based in New York. She has helped develop work for Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, Clubbed Thumb, Fresh Ground Pepper, La MaMa and Theatre Reconstruction Ensemble, among others. Lena can be seen in the critically-acclaimed web series “Om City,” and is also in pre-production for a short film she co-wrote and will co-direct/star in called, Too Long At The Fair.
In collaboration with…
Jess Chayes-November 18, 20164128JESS CHAYES is a Brooklyn-based director and founding co-artistic director of The Assembly, with whom she has co-created and directed eight original productions. Recent directing includes shows at New Georges, Lesser America, Ars Nova, Dutch Kills and workshops at NYTW, Williamstown Theatre Festival and The Vineyard Theatre. Associate directing: Peter and the Starcatcher (Broadway and New World Stages), Misery (Broadhurst Theatre). She is a NYTW Usual Suspect and co-founder of the New Georges Jam. Jess is the recipient of the 2017 Lucille Lortel Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women.
HolbrookBEN HOLBROOK is a Brooklyn-based (originally from NC) playwright and filmmaker whose works have been produced, developed, or commissioned by: Fundamental Theater Project, Ruddy Productions, The New York International Fringe Festival, Ugly Rhino(LA), Seoul Players (SK), Holiday House, Find the Light (LA), The Irish Arts Council, 45th Street Block Association, and Paper Lantern Theatre Company (NC). His prose has been published in “Call of the Void”, a journal of visual and literary arts. He’s been awarded the Drama League Rough Draft Residency (partnering with Sam Underwood), the Edward Albee Foundation fellowship, and is the inaugural recipient of the Peter Shaffer Award for Excellence in Playwriting. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and Fundamental Theater Project’s resident playwright. More info at
In collaboration with…
37126_1540120176332_6660667_nNATE WEIDA is a composer and writer living in New York City. He has written 10 musicals has been a regular musical director for The Possibility Project’s Foster Care Program and Atlantic Theater Company’s Kids Shows. He currently plays in a bluegrass band called “Great Dog Almighty” and performs in a Hall & Oates cover band (Halloween Oates / Deck the Hall & Oates). He is writing an epic poem called I’s Twinkle. He plays piano, flute, banjo, didgeridoo, and sings. Occasionally, he also raps with the hip-hop group “Dragons” under the pseudonym “Shitdogg”.
smrt3WILL 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 10-minute bar for one, writes and tells stories with The Moth, and occasionally performs boylesque under the name Handsome Peter. BFA: NYU Tisch.
headshot148LIZ MORGAN is a playwright, poet and performer. Her written work has appeared in the The Huffington Post, The Long Island City One Act Festival Anthology and the Medium publication, Athena Talks. Liz has developed projects with The Fire This Time Festival, The Lark, Rising Circle Theatre Collective, JACK, NY Madness, and National Black Theatre where she was named a finalist for the I AM SOUL Playwrights’ Residency. Other playwriting honors include SPACE on Ryder Farm Creative Residency (Finalist), New York New Works Theatre Festival (Finalist) and the New Works Lab at Stratford (Semi-Finalist). MFA: Brown University
IMG_5382ERIC FARBER is a Brooklyn-based percussionist and theater artist. Eric’s “wildly animated” performance and “positively gasp-worthy” design work was featured in FUTURITY (Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Set Design, Lortel Award for Outstanding Musical, OBA Award for Best New Musical – ARS Nova/SoHoRep, Mass MoCA, Walker Art Center, ART), The Foundry Theatre’s Good Person of Szechwan (Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Music in a Play – Public Theater, LaMaMa), The Skin of our Teeth (TFANA), Elementary Spacetime Show (Philly Fringe). Eric has an MFA from Bard College and a BA from The New School University. A member of The Lisps since 2006.

Come see what they make this year at the Fresh Ground Pepper Festival in April 2018.

Applications for the 2018-2019 PlayGround PlayGroup will open in Spring 2018.

Previous PlayGroup Members
PlayGround 2009
Down The Toilet by Aaron Schroeder
The Dark Reality of Horace and Millie by Brooke Bundy
The Infinite Bigness of the Universe by Chris Chan
Masters of the Universe by Jais Brohinsky
Prep by Lorelei Ignas
Alligator Summer by Dylan Lamb

PlayGround 2010
Lust Trust by Alexandra Bassett
The Friedman-Vargases by Andrew Farmer and Emma Koenig
What It’s Like When Two Geeks Love Each Other by Jaclyn Backhaus
Treeplay by Alyssa Yackley
Sheeple by Mara Wilson
Hobbes by Matthew Robert Gehring
There Is No Isabelle by Dylan Lamb
Companion Piece by Kevin Armento

PlayGround 2011
Companions by Ali Mendes
Puppetonia by Sarah Todes
Fat Fat Fatty by Alex Kveton
SER by Dylan Lamb
Folk Wandering by Jaclyn Backhaus, Mike Brun,
Blake Allen, and Joel Esher

PlayGround PlayGroup 2012
Kevin Armento
Andrew Farmer
Theresa Giacopasi
Anna Greenfield
Preston Martin and Jaclyn Backhaus
Max Reuben
Evan Watkins

PlayGround PlayGroup 2013
Trevor Bachman
Salty Brine
Max Freedman and Hugh Trimble
Dylan Lamb
Dano Madden
Callan Stout
Emma Tattenbaum-Fine

PlayGround PlayGroup 2014
Taylor Adamson
Mikey Barringer
Amy Virginia Buchanan
Sam Corbin
Noah Mease
Jay Stull
Ellie and Drew Vanderburg
Antu Yacob

PlayGround PlayGroup 2015
Molly Beach Murphy
Julia Izumi
Andrew Scoville
James Monaco
Joe Castle Baker
Chris Tyler
Lindsey Hope Pearlman
Matthew Jellison
Charly Simpson
Jamie Effros
Claire Keichel

PlayGround PlayGroup 2016
Andrew Butler and Jordan Fein
Cat Crowley
NicHi Douglas
Ryan Fogarty
Tory Keenan-Zelt and Ilana Becker
Gordon Leary and Julia Meinwald
Nikki DiLoreto
Kareem Fahmy