The Orchard Project Announces 2021 Labs, Projects, and Participants

The Orchard Project to support 49 theater, audio, and TV projects, largest group in its history.

By: Jul. 01, 2021

The Orchard Project Announces 2021 Labs, Projects, and Participants

The Orchard Project today announced its 2021 programs as well as the names of participating artists and companies.

The OP selected 49 projects (made up of over 70 artists, companies, and collaborators) from a competitive group of 1,322 applicants to participate in this year's program. This is the largest number of supported projects and the largest number of applicants in the organization's fourteen year history.

This year includes the official launch of the Orchard Project Audio Storytelling Lab - supporting innovative scripted podcast, radio, and immersive audio projects - after a pilot program in 2020. As previously announced, the 2021 labs will continue to be virtual, which allows the Orchard Project to accelerate the work of innovative playwrights, screenwriters, and theater companies while keeping staff and artists safe during the current global health emergency.

"Last year, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Orchard Project was proud to increase programs and push forward rather than pull back," said Ari Edelson, Artistic Director of the Orchard Project. "We learned that virtual space, while not the same as live gathering, can create new resources of opportunity, community, and accountability for world class storytellers. We are leaning into that learning to create new and greater capacity in 2021, continuing to support work in a myriad of forms by exciting voices from across the country."


Each year, the Orchard Project provides a launching pad for new works, providing opportunities for innovative artists, companies, and storytellers to accelerate and refine their ideas at all stages of development. Summer 2021 has four major programs for professionals running in July and August: a Performance Lab, providing support for IRL and virtual performance work; the OP Greenhouse, providing year-round collaborative support to emerging theatermakers; an Episodic Lab, providing support, mentorship, and guidance to promising episodic/TV projects; and, after a successful early 2021 pilot, a new Audio Storytelling Lab, providing support, mentorship, and guidance to promising podcast, radio, and immersive audio projects.

The four labs will include a multi-week course of support for artists, teams, and companies. Each group of artists will participate in a series of facilitated labs to provide structure for development, peer engagement and feedback, customized resources such as play readings, and dramaturgical support. The labs' facilitators include directors, dramaturgs and producers, including Jennifer Chambers, Maija Gustin, Ramona Rose King, Jack Phillips Moore, Jerry Ruiz, Lisa Timmel, and Xiaoyue Zhang.

The artists selected to participate in the various 2021 Orchard Project programs include:


  • Pascale Armand will be developing $#!thole Country Clapback, directed by Kimille Howard, navigating through her journey of what it means to be Haitian American.
  • Abre Camino Collective will be developing 1000 Miles, spearheading an interactive, allegorical theatrical experience using gaming methodology, promenade theatre, projection mapping, and virtual reality tools.
  • SEVAN will be working on a new digital theatre piece about Arab women in war and under occupation based on the myth of the Gorgon sisters.
  • Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj will be working on his soul-stirring new play I Don't Have A Gun, Stop Shooting! An American Tragedy.
  • Susan Lambert Hatem will be working with singer-songwriters Amy Ray and Michelle Malone along with producer Anne Lambert of Charlotte's Off-Broadway to develop the new musical comedy, The Flirt Bar.
  • Nelson Diaz-Marcano will be working with director Rebecca Aparicio on his new play, a coming of age Reggaeton play called Once Upon A Tra' In Puerto Rico.
  • Marissa Joyce Stamps will be directing rajiv awasthi and Emre Ezer in Blue Fire Burns the Hottest, a new devised movement play about spirituality and igniting and extinguishing our own fires and the ones around us.
  • Ariel Estrada will be developing Ariel's solo work Full Contact, with director Gaven Trinidad, projection designer and film editor Cary Patrick Martin, animator Scott Lilly, and more.
  • Mai Choi will keep working on Bad Activist with director Cynthia Croot and composer Nicole Mitchell and musicians from the University of Pittsburgh.
  • Julia Blauvelt will be working with director Graham Schmidt, choreographer Ian Wen, and movement specialist Jessica Ranville to develop her play "Hoo Ha Jedi Mindfuck," a coming-of-age story about growing up with OCD.
  • Randall David Cook and Cheryl L. Davis, with director Gwynn MacDonald, will be bringing their draft of The Monument about Sen. Strom Thurmond's daughter Essie Mae Washington Williams - and her relationship with her history making father - to completion.
  • Kurt Phelan will be developing Spiderman//Hamlet, a piece that finds itself smack bang in the middle of the question "What do we do with our own power?"
  • Alex Bechtal will be working with director Eva Steinmetz and playwright Brenson Thomas to adapt his pandemic concept album Penelope into a full-length experimental musical for the stage.
  • Josh Luxenberg and Jonathan Levin will be developing Cassandra, An Agony In Four Fits, inspired by the Greek legend of Cassandra, the woman gifted with prophecy and cursed never to be believed. The piece asks: How do we talk about the future? How do we think about the future? How do we act?


  • Liz Fields will be working on her original one-hour pilot, Savages, an unflinching young journalist is seduced by edgy new media company SAVAGE, and is quickly sucked into its outrageous and ethically dubious start-up culture while reporting on the story of a lifetime in Myanmar.
  • Desdemona Chiang will be developing the pilot script for her 30-min bilingual (English/Mandarin) dramedy series, Made In Usa.
  • Marie Cheng (Young Sheldon) and Tony DeSimone (Netflix Animation) will be workshopping their half-hour romantic sketch comedy Mix-matched, which uses magical realism to depict the highs and lows of being in a modern-day interracial relationship that challenges cultural and societal expectations.
  • Gabriel Stelian-Shanks and Nilan will develop their television series The Recipe, about a multiracial, multi-generational Brooklyn family wrestling with personal tragedy and unexpected opportunity.
  • Talya Mar and Tara Amber will be developing the pilot for Good Grief, a series that follows the members of a NYC pet bereavement support group as they cope with the loss of their animals and learn to navigate the more challenging (human) relationships in their lives.
  • Tyler Rivenbark will be working on The Suck, an anthology series that chronicles the effects and trauma of war on an interconnected group of people from the front lines to the home front, from America to Iraq, and from the living to the dead.
  • Shannon TL Kearns will be working on his pilot The Family Unit. When the systems that were supposed to protect them fail, a transgender couple take matters into their own hands by creating a family home for trans and nonbinary teens and patrolling their city at night. But as their family grows, they must adapt to new threats - both physical and ideological.
  • Candrice Jones will be drafting episodes for her 30 minute TV series, Trinkets. When Constance, a virgin and school teacher who longs for intimacy, finds out her mother's home, where her, her mother, sister, and nephew live, is placed on the foreclosure list, she decides to her account on intimate subscriber website,, for supplementary income.
  • Trish Harnetiaux will be adapting for TV her six-part narrative podcast The MS Phoenix Rising (Playwright's Horizon's Soundstage) about the relaunch of the cruise ship industry after a prolonged shutdown.
  • Kelsey Fox will be developing a final draft and pitch of Humanoid Resources, a half-hour space-comedy about getting along in a world where even humanism is divisive.
  • Seth Bockley will develop his pilot for Wilderness, a workplace drama that follows twenty-something field guides working in a Wilderness Therapy program in southern Utah as they care for troubled teens and come to understand themselves.
  • Aizzah Fatima will be working on a half hour dark comedy titled A.S.S. Crawler about the NYPD spying on American Muslims post 9/11.
  • Craig Siebels is writing a pilot episode with collaborators Ali Selim (co-creator) and Steven Klein (producer) of Youness. When an American teenager goes missing in the heart of America, Youness, a Muslim teen freshly arrived from Iraq, is the only one who cares enough to go looking for him.
  • Monty Cole will be developing his multi-cam web series M A R C H, a musical TV series that follows Brianna Moore at Forest Oak High School as she inspires her diverse suburb to live up to its well-meaning values through one uniting symbol: the marching band.


  • Rosie duPont: Rosie will be working on an original kids' fiction podcast about two tiny aliens named Pip & Moogie.
  • Winnie Kemp will be working with Wolf at the Door Studios (LA) to further develop the audio fiction thriller Twin Stranger, a darkly comedic, feminist twist on Dosteovsky's THE DOUBLE.
  • Katherine Craft will be developing the first season of her audio horror series, THE Orphanage, set in the '90s, about a teen girl who mysteriously disappears while playing a choose-your-own adventure touchtone phone game.
  • Crystal Skillman and Sarah Storm: Crystal Skillman is scripting her podcast series The Magician's Magician (TMM) in development with BOOM Integrated/ John Marshall Media with producer and co-director Sarah Storm.
  • RealTime Interventions: Playwright/composer Molly Rice and producer Rusty Thelin, with director Kate Bergstrom, dramaturg Zharia O'Neal, and podcast producer Kahmeela Adams, are creating a true-crime podcast in tandem with the true-crime concert musical ANGELMAKERS: Songs for Female Serial Killers.
  • T. Carlis Roberts will be developing STONO, an audio-ritual exploring the 1739 Stono slave rebellion.
  • Liza Birkenmeier and KATIE BROOK will be developing an audio version of Birkenmeier's stage play, "radio island."

The 2021 members of the ORCHARD PROJECT GREENHOUSE, providing year-round collaborative support for a top notch cohort of creators, include: Jeesun Choi, Die-Cast, Yvette Ganier, Ezequiel González Camaño, Johnny G. Lloyd, Adrienne Mackey, Winter Miller, Jessica Moss, Tanya Perez, Benjamin Viertel, and Mike von der Nahmer.

Information about all lab participants and projects will be posted shortly on

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