Mission to (dit)Mars Welcomes New 2014-15 Propulsion Lab Members

Mission to (dit)Mars, a theatre arts collective serving Queens artists, is excited to announce the selection of nine new members to The Propulsion Lab, a Queens' writers group serving emerging playwrights from the borough.

The nine new members are Jonathan Alexandratos (Astoria), Scott Casper (Astoria), John Caswell (Astoria), Mrinalini Kamath (Astoria), Elizabeth Seldin (Astoria), Mac Rogers (Astoria), Enrique Urueta (Astoria), Amy Witting (Sunnyside), and Tori Keenan-Zelt (Forest Hills) with returning members Lisa Huberman (Woodside), Kristine M. Reyes (Astoria) and Tyler Rivenbark (Sunnyside). Rounding out the group are inaugural members August Schulenburg (Forest Hills) and Mariah MacCarthy (Astoria), who will serve as "Writers in Residence."

Each playwright will focus on writing a new full-length play over the course of the year. The new members were selected by Mission to (dit)Mars co-founders Kari Bentley-Quinn, Don Nguyen, Meredith Packer and Laura Pestronk. The writers group meets bi-weekly at the Secret Theatre in Queens.

On what excites her about the new members, Kari Bentley-Quinn explains "they are as diverse as they are accomplished...in style, ethnicity, and approach - much like the residents of our beloved borough." Laura Pestronk adds "The new members excite me because of their amazingly different voices. Such a diverse group of stories are going to be told this season!"

Commenting on the surprisingly rapid growth of the lab, Meredith Packer suggests "the amount of submissions we had this year and the amount of talent we were given the opportunity to read meant that after three years this lab is what we have been preaching all along- that Queens has a vast amount of talented artists that are looking for a community in their own back yard. And that we are doing our job at Mission to (dit)Mars to bring them together." Don Nguyen adds "the meteoric rise in members of the Propulsion Lab is a direct reflection of the immense growth of artists living and working in the borough and, in general, the increasing desire of making Queens a profound place to make theatre. We're excited to help foster both."

On its ongoing relationship with The Secret Theatre, Don Nguyen adds "Richard Mazda (Artistic Director) has been extremely supportive of new work in Queens and particularly of our group, where his generosity has been overwhelming on all fronts. Our relationship with has proven to be a rich one and we look forward to continuing and deepening our alliance with Richard and The Secret Theatre this year."

The Propulsion Lab was created to meet the needs of like-minded theater artists who wanted to have a way of developing new work locally in Queens on an on-going basis. In addition to bi-weekly meetings, the year will include industry meet and greets with Artistic Directors and Literary Managers, three Launch Pad readings of full length plays, and All Systems Go! 3, an evening of excerpts from the new Propulsion Lab plays.

The Secret Theatre is located at 4402 23rd St in Long Island City.

For more information on The Secret Theatre, please visit http://www.secrettheatre.com/

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