The Mitten Lab Announces 2018 Residency Program Artists

By: Aug. 23, 2018

The Mitten Lab Announces 2018 Residency Program Artists The MITTEN Lab (A Michigan Incubator for Theatre Talent Emerging Now), led by co-founders Katherine M. Carter and Rachel Sussman, is proud to announce this year's artists for its third annual residency program in Northern Michigan, taking place September 9th through 16th.

The 2018 MITTEN Lab artists, selected through the Lab's first ever submission process, will be Michigan and Chicago-based playwright Eric Grant, New York-based playwright Liz Morgan, and the New York-based musical theatre writing team of Kit Yan and Melissa Li.

The MITTEN Lab will continue their partnerships with Parallel 45 Theatre and Interlochen Center for the Arts, hosting a public presentation of works-in-progress by the 2018 artists. This presentation will take place on Saturday, September 15th at 7:30 PM at Interlochen's Harvey Theatre (4000 Hwy M-137, Interlochen, MI), and feature Interlochen Arts Academy students and faculty along with Parallel 45 company members. Visit for more details.

"We were blown away to receive over 50 artist applications in our very first year of open submissions," said co-founders Carter and Sussman in a statement. "We reviewed each submission alongside our reading committee, and are delighted to be supporting four such exciting talents as Eric, Liz, Melissa, and Kit for our third annual residency. We are also honored to continue growing our partnership with the renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts, reinforcing our mission to provide early career theatre artists with a platform to share their work free from critical gaze, provide students with the opportunity to participate in the generative process, and allow the local community to encounter exciting, up-and-coming talent."

The MITTEN Lab is an artist residency program located in Northern Michigan that provides early career theatre artists with the time, space, and support to develop new theatrical works and engage with the local landscape. Artists pay nothing to participate - housing, travel, studio space, and meals are provided as well as a $200 stipend.

Focusing on the advancement of works in the performing arts, The MITTEN Lab seeks to cultivate early-career playwrights, musical theatre composers, lyricists, librettists, choreographers, and performance artists, in an effort to strengthen the development of new theatrical work in Michigan. The MITTEN Lab began by working with three artists in 2016, and will expand to include more artists and longer residencies in in the future. At least one Michigan artist is selected each year. 2018 saw the first year of open submissions. The 2018 Reading Committee included: : Kevin Dodd (Activate: Midwest Play Festival), William Church (Interlochen Center for the Arts), Gulshirin Dubash (Interlochen Center for the Arts), alumna playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger (recipient of the Yale-Horn Drama Prize for Emerging Playwright), alumna playwright Monet Hurst-Mendoza, Amanda Kik (Cross Hatch), Kit McKay (Parallel 45 Theatre), alumnus playwright Emilio Rodriguez (Black & Brown Theatre), Erin Whiting (Parallel 45 Theatre), and alumnus composer/lyricist Zack Zadek.

The inaugural MITTEN Lab in 2016 featured New York-based playwright Monet Hurst-Mendoza, Detroit-based playwright Emilio Rodriguez, and New York-based composer/lyricist Zoe Sarnak. The 2017 MITTEN Lab featured Detroit-based playwright Morgan Breon, Philadelphia-based playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger, and New York-based composer/lyricist Zack Zadek.

Born and raised in Michigan, Eric Grant has been writing stories for stage and screen since he was eight years old. He is a two-time recipient of the coveted Hopwood Award for Drama from the University of Michigan, where his play, Paris at Dawn, was given a full production by the famed Basement Arts student group. After graduating, Grant interned at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., where his latest play, Bleecker Street, received its first professional staged reading. This past August, that same play received a workshop production at The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice in New York. Eric recently moved to Chicago where he co-wrote Shalom!, a sketch comedy show that garnered a sold-out run at The Second City's De Maat Theatre. You can read more of Eric's work in The Best Men's Stage Monologues 2016 (Smith & Kraus) and Five-Minute Plays (Applause Books).

Melissa Li is a composer, performer and writer. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award and a Queer|Art|Mentorship fellow. Musicals include Surviving The Nian (The Theater Offensive, IRNE Award for Best New Play 2007), 99% Stone (The Theater Offensive), and Interstate (New York Musical Festival). Her works have received support from the National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, Dixon Place, terraNOVA Collective, The Village Theater, and Musical Theater Factory, among others. Upcoming: First Draft: Raise Your Voice Story Summit at 5th Avenue Theatre and a forthcoming commission for Keen Company.

Liz 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. She has previously developed projects with Fresh Ground Pepper, SPACE on Ryder Farm, The Fire This Time Festival, The Lark, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, Judson Arts, Liberation Theatre Company, Amios, Rising Circle Theatre Collective, JACK, NY Madness, POTPOURRI! World Women Works Series, Rites and Reason Theatre, Manhattan Rep and National Black Theatre where she was named a finalist for the I AM SOUL Playwrights' Residency. Other honors include the Torchbearer for Black Theatre Award, Playwrights Realm Writing Fellowship (Semi-Finalist) and the New Works Lab at Stratford (Semi-Finalist). Her acting credits range from Hollywood film to new stage work. Liz holds both a B.A. in Theatre Arts and M.F.A. in Acting from Brown University where she was the recipient of the Davis Wickham Prize for Excellence in Playwriting as well as a graduate teaching fellow.

Kit Yan (Playwright/Poet/Performer/Lyricist) is an award-winning Yellow American New York based artist, born in Enping, China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kit's work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, Musical Theater Factory, the New York Musical Festival, and Dixon Place, with forthcoming residencies at the Mitten Lab and 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle fall 2018. They have been a Civilians resident, WP/Public Theater translab fellow, and Village Theater resident. Kit's award-winning musical Interstate written with Melissa Li recently had a sold out and extended run at the 2018 New York Musical Festival (NYMF).


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