Playground Playgroup

fgp programming logos 2017-19

Now in its seventh year, The Fresh Ground Pepper PlayGround PlayGroup hosts artists in a 14-month residency program that celebrates the joyful creation of new work. This year we are excited to welcome creators from many disciplines — playwrights, composers, directors, designers, performance artists, technology developers, choreographers, and even a Reverend — to develop an artistic project within the structure of an engaged, curious, and supportive peer group.

Their new projects will debut at the Fresh Ground Pepper Festival in spring 2020.

Introducing the 2019-2020 Playground Playgroup

Ben Beckley Headshot (large)BEN BECKLEY a co-artistic director of The Assembly, has co-created and performed in seven original projects with the company. His play Latter Days, produced by Dutch Kills, premiered at Ars Nova in 2017, and his short works have played venues across Brooklyn and Manhattan, and — in one case — been used to teach university religion majors the concept of transubstantiation. This March Ben makes his Broadway debut in What the Constitution Means to Me. Other acting credits include Denver Center, Long Wharf, ACT, Atlantic Theater Company, the first national tour of Peter and the Starcatcher and four international tours with Temporary Distortion.
In collaboration with…
Asa WemblerASA WEMBER is the sound designer for the Assembly and Wolf359. Over the past ten years with the Assembly, he has contributed the soundscapes and scoring for company-created works such as HOME/SICK, I Will Look Forward to this Later and SeagullMachine. During the same span of time, with Wolf359, he has collaborated on a series of deconstructed and reimagined technologically-assisted theatrical experiences, including Temping (for one audience member with no live actors) and the Block Association Project (with a 2wk interactive preshow). Upcoming: Doppelgänger with the Play For Voices podcast.
Darian DauchanDARIAN DAUCHAN is an award winning solo performer, actor, and poet who has appeared on both Broadway (Twentieth Century) and Off-Broadway Theatre (Jean Cocteau Rep., Classical Theatre of Harlem). TV and Film credits include Law and Order, Nickelodeon’s Bet the House as Darian the “SoundFX” Guy, and the Lionsgate feature film Things Never Said. His Sci Fi Hip Hop transmedia show The Brobot Johnson Experience is a Ben Brantley New York Times Critic’s Pick.
Monet Hurst-Mendoza Headshot (1)MONET HURST-MENDOZA is an NYC-based playwright and theatre artist from Los Angeles, CA. She is an alum of the Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, the R&D Group at The Civilians, WP Playwrights Lab, and the Van Lier Fellowship at New Dramatists, and has held residencies with SPACE on Ryder Farm and The MITTEN Lab. Monet is a proud affiliate of Rising Circle Theater Collective, where she helped develop INKtank/PlayRISE—a developmental writers lab and new works festival for emerging playwrights of color. She’s continuing her advocacy for equal representation for woman, trans, and non-binary writers in the American Theatre as a member of The Kilroys. You can read her work on the New Play Exchange.
Matthew MiniccinoMATT MINNICINO is a Virginia-born, Manhattan-based playwright, adaptor, actor, director, and teacher. He is an alumnus of SPACE on Ryder Farm, the Great Plains Theatre Conference, The Joust’s Writers Round Table, Barn Arts Collective, Everyday Inferno’s Writer/Director Lab, and Pipeline Theatre’s PlayLab; a current member of The Flea’s Writers’ Room and the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group; and has been playwright-in-residence for Exquisite Corpse, Artilliers, Sugarglass Theatre (at Trinity College-Dublin), and others. He is an O’Neill Semifinalist, Jeffry Melnick New Playwright Award Nominee, and winner of the Arts & Letters Prize. His essays on theatre have been published by The Dramatist, HowlRound, Gathering of the Tribes, and others. MFA: Columbia.
AnkitaANKITA RATURI | अंकिता रतूड़ी is an NYC-based playwright, poet, deviser, and teaching artist. She grew up in India, America, and Indonesia. She devises with her “artner” and roommate, Charlotte Murray. You can see a workshop of their devised piece, Our House is Haunted (originally at Corkscrew Theater Festival), at Dixon Place in April. Ankita’s plays include Another Passage to India (Natyabharati, NYU), akshara (New York Shakespeare Exchange), Sahi Vaqt Pe or The One with the Biological Clock (Hypokrit Theatre Company), and The Elephant is Very Like (Pete’s Candy Store). Her first poetry collection is called अनुवाद | Anuvaad | Translation
In collaboration with…
Charlie MurrayCHARLOTTE MURRAY is a New York director, deviser, and theater maker. She devises with her “artner” and roommate, Ankita Raturi. You can see a workshop of their devised piece, Our House is Haunted (originally at Corkscrew Theater Festival), at Dixon Place in April. Solo credits include: Fat Faggot (Dixon Place), Sahi Vaqt Pe or The One with the Biological Clock ( Hypokrit Theater), and Mary V (Theater for the New City). She has worked with creators Elena Heyman, Jaki Bradley, Sam Pinkleton, Annie Tippe, Jennifer Morris, and Tea Alagić. NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Playwrights Horizons Theater School.
Annie WangANNIE JIN WANG is a Chinese-American dramaturg, writer, and photographer whose creative practice focuses on interdisciplinary investigations of race, gender, and citizenship. Born in Beijing and currently based in New York, she also calls Chicago and San Francisco home. Recent dramaturgical credits include Medea (dir. Miriam Grill), Two Mile Hollow (dir. Lily Tung Crystal), and Richard III (dir. Nana Dakin). Company member of Ferocious Lotus Theatre Company; BA: Wellesley College; MFA Candidate: Columbia University.
Reverend Yolanda Headshot (1)REV. YOLANDA is a singer/songwriter/trans-femme genderqueer performance artist and interfaith minister, originally from Muscle Shoals Alabama- The Hit Recording Capital Of The World. Rev. Yolanda’s ministry and body of musical work has been captured on film by Ike Allen of Avaiya Media with the movie “Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour” and has been honored with induction into the The GLBT Hall Of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame, and two MAC Awards.
In collaboration with…
Justin Taylor Headshot (1)JUSTIN TAYLOR’s plays and libretti have been seen at BRIC Arts Media, Prospect Theater, Stratford New Works Lab, Dixon Place, Playwrights Horizons, the Musical Theater Factory, Norfolk Music Festival and the Théâtre de Ménilmontant, Paris, among others. Justin was a Dakin Fellow at the Sewanee Conference and grant recipient from the JM Kaplan Fund and the Dramatist Guild. His work has been semi-finalist for the O’Neill NNPC and NNMTC and finalist for the Playwright’s Realm Fellowship, Jerome NYC Fellowship, Play Penn, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, New Harmony Project, among others. MA in opera dramaturgy from the Sorbonne and MFA in playwriting from the Yale School of Drama.
and also with…
Shaun Peknic HeadshotSHAUN PEKNIC is a theater director, dramaturg, and arts administrator with a love for new plays and musicals. His directing work often focuses on queer identity, family trauma, and the subconscious. Select credits include Nasha America (CCM); I’m A Lot Like You (Salty Brine’s Living Record Collection); Fool for Love (Warsaw, Poland); The Demise (NYMF); Manifest Pussy (Joe’s Pub/A.R.T.); Pulp Vérité (Lee Strasberg Directing Fellow); A Snowfall in Berlin (Nylon Fusion); BFA: NYU. He has served as the Associate/Resident Director for Once (Broadway, West End, etc.), Producing Artistic Director for Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, and Artistic Associate at Musical Theatre Factory
Ada WestfallADA WESTFALL is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, performer, and trans-rights activist. She is an Associate Artist with Theater Mitu and The Civilians and has composed/arranged music for NAATCO, Built For Collapse, NYU, NYU Abu Dhabi, and University of the Arts. Composer/Arranger: A Play On War (Connelly Theater; Drama Desk nomination), Juárez: A Documentary Mythology (Rattlestick), Rimbaud in New York (BAM). Onstage musician: Joan of Arc: Into the Fire (Public), The Last Goodbye (Old Globe), Death of a Salesman (BAM). Actor: Rimbaud in New York (BAM), Songbird (59E59), Remnant (Mitu580). BFA: NYU Tisch. Insta:@adawestfall
In collaboration with…
Alex Thrailkill, photog Sam OrtizALEX THRAILKILL is a musician, composer and performer. Music director credits include: Guys + Dolls (UArts, new arrangements by Ada Westfall), Cowboy Bob (New York Stage And Film, Polyphone Festival, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Ars Nova); Secret Supper: The Musical (secret venue); Mermaiden: Or, The Monagamy (secret venue); re-arranging Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel, Weezer, Puccini, and more for Salty Brine’s Record Collection cabaret. As a performer: Andrew Farmer & Andrew Butler’s Finn the Fearless (Ars Nova, Theatre Aspen); Camp Over There (immersive performance at Bonnaroo 2015). Co-founder of Little Bandits, a music program for kids. BFA: NYU Tisch. / @_tkill_
and also with…
Sunny HittSUNNY HITT is a NYC-based choreographer, performer, and teaching artist. Performing credits: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Ensemble, Movement Captain), Actors Theatre of Louisville; The Tempest (Ensemble), The Public Theater. Choreography credits: Movement Director for Florida Studio Theater’s 2019 production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Associate Choreographer for Soft Power, a new play with a musical by David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori, directed by Leigh Silverman and choreographed by Sam Pinkleton; Movement Director for the 2017 production of Real AD Show, NYU Abu Dhabi. Sunny has taught movement at Playwrights Horizons Theater School (NYU) and at Abrons Arts Center. Her choreography has also been presented in NYC at The Tank and Mark Morris Dance Center. Sunny performs regularly with The Dance Cartel.
and also with…
Jeanna PhillipsJEANNA PHILLIPS makes and performs new theatre. She has developed new work with Toshi Reagon, The Foundry Theatre, Tectonic Theatre Project, Clubbed Thumb, New Saloon, Karen O and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cynthia Hopkins, Dave Malloy, and Elizabeth Swados, among others. Most recent performance: Toshi Reagon’s Parable of the Sower (The Public). Composition for theatre: COWBOY BOB, with Molly Beach Murphy and Annie Tippe (Ars Nova, NYTW Adelphi Residency, Polyphone Festival); what’s this called, this spirit? with Alex Thrailkill (Ars Nova, Dixon Place); Secret Supper: The Musical with Alex Thrailkill and T Adamson (the Africa Center). Cooking to me is Poetry with New Saloon (Galapagos Art Space); POE (The Morgan Library); Bacchanalia (Williamstown Theatre Festival Workshop). Her clown-cabaret alter ego Andréa Lloyd Webber has wreaked havoc at Ars Nova, La MaMa, Dixon Place, Littlefield, and with The Dance Cartel at the ACE Hotel. Alumna: The Civilians R&D Group, Yale Institute of Music Theatre. Former Williams College Summer Theatre Lab Artist in Residence, current member of Fresh Ground Pepper’s Playground Play group. BFA NYU Experimental Theatre Wing.

Come see what they make this year at the Fresh Ground Pepper Festival in April 2020.

Applications for the 2020-2021 PlayGround PlayGroup will open in Spring 2020.

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

PlayGround PlayGroup 2017-2018
Lena Hudson and Jess Chayes
Eric Farber
Ben Holbrook and Nate Weida
Krista Knight
Liz Morgan
Wi-Moto Nyoka
Jacob Marx Rice
WIl Petre