Dave Malloy, John Leguizamo & More Receive Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor Residencies

Today, The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep's Center for the Creation and Development of New Work announces that it has selected 18 projects from more than 30 innovative artists for its third Summer Residency Lab. This June, as part of an extraordinary laboratory for collaboration, some of the nation's most prominent and promising writers, directors, and composers will unite at the Theatre's campus in West Berkeley for an intense four-week period to live, dine, and create new plays together. Dozens more local and out-of-town actors and directors will join The Ground Floor process, bringing the number of artists involved close to 100.

From 400 applications, residencies have been awarded to Annie Baker (Circle Mirror Transformation); Kara Lee Corthron (Etched in Skin on a Sunlit Night); Colman Domingo (Wild With Happy); Anna Deavere Smith (Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992); Joan Holden (Seeing Double); Aditi Brennan Kapil (Love Person), Manu Narayan (The Love Guru), and Radovan Jovi?evi? of musical collaboration Darunam; John Leguizamo (Ghetto Klown); Dave Malloy (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812); Gregory S. Moss (punkplay); Julie Marie Myatt (The Happy Ones); Dominic Orlando (Fissures lost & found)) and Brian Carpenter (leader of the band Beat Circus); Jiehae Park (Hannah and the Dread Gazebo) and set designer Tristan Jeffers; Katie Pearl and Lisa D'Amour of PearlDamour (How to Build a Forest); Abigail Rezneck and Barbara Babcock (making their theatrical debut as writers); KJ Sanchez (ReEntry) and actress Jenny Mercein; Deborah Stein and Suli Holum of Stein | Holum Projects (Chimera) and sound designer James Sugg; Hadi Tabbal (After); and Oakland-based band The Kilbanes.

"Berkeley Rep has a voracious appetite for new work, and The Ground Floor's Summer Residency Lab feeds us in so many ways," says Madeleine Oldham, director of The Ground Floor. "Having all of these fantastic and wildly talented artists under our roof energizes us so much and really pushes us to think deeply about how we make theatre. We try to challenge ourselves with as eclectic an array of projects as we can imagine, and this year's slate of artists promises to rise to that occasion. Established artists like Anna Deavere Smith and John Leguizamo will write alongside first-time playwrights Abigail Rezneck and Barbara Babcock. We'll have a community-focused experimental performance piece next to a roomful of monks next to the music of Oum Kalthoum. Arson will meet hip hop and cartography will meet the internet. June can't come soon enough!"

The Ground Floor promotes cross-pollination among artists and champions the spirit of innovation inherent to Berkeley and the Bay Area. Two shows developed through the program have already appeared on Berkeley Rep's mainstage: Dan LeFranc's Troublemaker, or the Freakin Kick-A Adventures of Bradley Boatright had its world premiere in January 2013, and Marcus Gardley's The House that will not Stand debuted in February 2014 and is currently on stage in an extended run through March 23, 2014.

The Ground Floor is a bold new initiative designed to raise the bar on the Tony Award-winning nonprofit's already successful record of artistic innovation. Think of it as an incubator for theatrical start-ups or a top-notch R&D facility for artists. The Ground Floor became possible when Berkeley Rep united all its preproduction activities - its costume shop, prop shop, scene shop, and offices - at a spacious campus in West Berkeley. The Theatre is transforming a vacant warehouse on that site into a vibrant new creative center that will ultimately include rehearsal halls, intimate studios, and even housing for visiting artists. The result will be a dynamic home for play creation - an organic and energetic environment for artists where they can live, develop work in a flexible setting, challenge each other to expand the boundaries of theatre, and intersect with the public to create community. The leaders of this effort are Madeleine Oldham, Berkeley Rep's resident dramaturg and director of The Ground Floor, and Karena Fiorenza Ingersoll, Berkeley Rep's associate managing director and manager of The Ground Floor. The Ground Floor is made possible by a $1 million grant from the James Irvine Foundation's Artistic Innovation Fund with additional support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Tournesol Project and the Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

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