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HERE Announces 2020 Recipients of $125K HARP Residencies

HERE Announces 2020 Recipients of $125K HARP Residencies

HERE will welcome Bengali theater-maker Shayok Misha Chowdhury, playwright and director Normandy Sherwood, and instrumentalist gamin and sound & visual composer Sachiyo Takahashi as new members of the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP).

Created in 1999, HARP provides resident artists with commission funds, developmental support, career planning, and a full production, all within a collaborative environment of peers working across artistic disciplines, including theatre, dance, music, puppetry, visual art, and new media. With up to $50,000 in a cash grant and more than $75,000 in space, equipment and services over each two to three year residency, HARP offers significant long-term support that is deeply rooted in creating an artist-centric process that is tailored to the needs of each resident artist.

Founding Artistic Director Kristin Marting says,"How could we survive inside our homes in these times without the inspiration of what artists have given us - all that we read, watch and hear? If I imagine my life without art, all I see is a blank page, a blank wall, a blank screen. But I am filled with hope by imagining the work that our artists create in this moment and going forward. It is our mission at HERE to support artists and that mission is even more critical right now as many artists are imperiled by this crisis."

Shayok Misha Chowdhury will devote his residency to the creation of Rheology, a performance memoir in which he ponders the work of his physicist mother. She not only studies the rheology of granular materials: how the natural landscape flows in fits and bursts, but also sings the songs of Bengali poet-composer Tagore. Rheology attempts to transcend the boundaries of language, gender, discipline, and generation.

In the object focused theater piece Psychic Self Defense, Normandy Sherwood takes Dion Fortune's 1930 occult self-help text of the same name as point of departure. Fortune's book is about how we protect ourselves from paranormal psychic attacks from beings such as vampires and ghosts. This evening-length performance attempts to create new psychic self-defense strategies for an era where capitalism incentivizes and normalizes the hijacking of our attention via smartphones, apps, screens in all public spaces.

The masterly instrumentalist gamin and sound & visual composer Sachiyo Takahashi dive into the mystery of human emotions in their new experimental music theatre piece The Emotions. Performed live, with traditional tunes and an original score, The Emotions is designed to be a meditative journey for audiences to reconnect with their own emotions through careful listening. Live projection, object manipulation, dance sequences, and lighting are woven into the soundscape to further enhance the experience.

Through HARP, HERE has developed such highly acclaimed works as Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge, Young Jean Lee's Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven, Basil Twist's Symphonie Fantastique, Trey Lyford and Geoff Sobelle's all wear bowlers, and James Scruggs' Disposable Men, among others. Since HARP's founding, HERE has supported the work and career development of 165 lead artists and hundreds of their collaborators.

HARP nurtures the development of nine to eleven artists, through a cross-disciplinary exchange, monthly meetings, peer-driven workshops, and panel discussions. Created 20 years ago to address a compelling need in the field-the void of artistic, administrative, and financial support for artists with certain professional accomplishments, but without breakthrough recognition-HARP assists artists who are developing distinct voices and experimenting with new approaches that expand the parameters of performance. HARP is unique by offering a meeting ground where artists from varied disciplines can share diverse perspectives and by developing work with a hybrid performance aesthetic.

About the 2020 HARP Resident Artists

Shayok Misha Chowdhury is a queer Bengali director, writer, singer, and theater-maker. Recent/upcoming: MukhAgni (Under the Radar) with Kameron Neal; How the White Girl Got Her Spots and Other 90s Trivia (Joe's Pub) with Laura Grill Jaye; Antioch Mass (The Shed) with Troy Anthony; SPEECH (Philly Fringe) with Lightning Rod Special; and rasgos asiaticos (Soho Rep) with Virginia Grise. Misha is a member of The Public's Devised Theater Working Group, an alumnus of Ars Nova's Makers Lab, New York Theatre Workshop's 2050 Fellowship, and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, and a recipient of residencies at SPACE on Ryder Farm, BRIC, and The Drama League. A Fulbright and Kundiman fellow, he has been published in The Cincinnati Review, TriQuarterly, Asian American Literary Review, and elsewhere. He was a soloist on the Grammy-winning album Calling All Dawns and has been a visiting artist at Stanford, Brown, CalArts, Fordham, Syracuse, and Williams. MFA: Columbia. Visit for more information.

Normandy Sherwood makes theater. She's a playwright, costumer, director and performer. Her shows include Madame Lynch, Tiny Hornets, Permanent Caterpillar, and The Golden Veil among others, and they have been presented in NYC at The New Ohio Theatre, The Public Theater, The Kitchen, Dixon Place, The Brick and more. She and Craig Flanagin make no-wave music driven spectacles with their company, The Drunkard's Wife. She was a co-Artistic Director of the OBIE-award-winning National Theater of the United States of America (2000-2017, R.I.P.). She was a 2018 Fellow in the Target Margin Theater Institute and has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Millay Colony and more. As a costumer, she has designed for Rachel Chavkin, Young Jean Lee, Faye Driscoll (BESSIE Award, 2009) and many more; and her designs have been nominated for Henry Hewes Awards twice. Also, she plays in the band God Is My Co-Pilot and teaches Expository Writing at NYU. Visit for more information.

Sachiyo Takahashi is a composer, musician, and artist whose work centers around storytelling. Compositing sensory elements in a minimalist manner, she explores the border between narrative and abstraction to generate fables for the subconscious. Sachiyo founded Nekaa Lab in 2006 together with other "lab members" (stuffed toys and tiny figurines). She has been producing performances, installations and writings, while observing human nature from alternative perspectives. Sachiyo's Microscopic Live Cinema-Theatre - unique performances projected from a miniature stage - has been appraised as a quirky yet imaginative merging between theatrical and cinematic experiences. She has presented her works at international venues and festivals including Prague Quadrennial, St. Ann's Warehouse, and The Tank. Her recent work Everything Starts from a Dot was supported by The Jim Henson Foundation and premiered at La MaMa in 2018. Sachiyo is also an accredited master of Okamoto school Shinnai-bushi, a traditional sung-storytelling from Japan and performs as Miya Okamoto.

Gamin Kang, simply known as "gamin," a distinguished NYC soloist, tours the world performing both traditional Korean music and cross-disciplinary collaborations. Gamin plays piri (double reed Korean oboe), taepyeonso (double-reed horn), and saenghwang (mouth organ). She is a designated Yisuja, official holder of Important Intangible Cultural Asset No. 46 for Court and Royal Military music. Re-inventing new sonorities from ancient, somewhat restrictive, musical systems, gamin has received several cultural exchange program grants, including Artist-in-Residence (2014) at the Asian Cultural Council, and Ministry of Culture, Sports, Tourism of Republic of Korea (2012). Gamin has collaborated in cross-cultural improvisation in NYC with world-acclaimed musician Jane Ira Bloom, Elliot Sharp, Ned Rothenberg, presenting premieres at Roulette Theater, New School, and Metropolitan Museum. Gamin was featured artist at the Silkroad concert, Seoul, 2018, performing on-stage with Yo-Yo Ma. Gamin, as soloist, will perform her Carnegie Hall debut with the Nangye Gugak Orchestra in 2021.


Through HARP, HERE commissions and develops new hybrid works over multiple years. Throughout the year, resident artists show works-in-progress, develop workshop productions, and mount full-scale premieres. Projects currently in development in HARP include:

Composer/singer Gelsey Bell' s m?"ːnɪŋ (pronounced as "mourning" and "morning") is an opera that inhabits a world, beginning today, in which all humans have disappeared from Earth. Inspired by Alan Weisman's The World Without Us, the piece is whimsical, fantastical, and playful while being rooted in scientific ideas and the dire political and ethical contradictions that structure current human relations with nature and other animals.

Writer/director Gisela Cardenas' Hybrid Suite No. 2: The Carmen Variations, a devised theater opera inspired by Bizet's Carmen. Mixing opera, text, and movement, this project seeks to cross time and geographical borders to understand the potentially different faces Carmen might possess.

Choreographer Ximena Garnica and Video Artist Shige Moriya's A Meal, a choreographic ritual of preparing, serving and eating together experienced as part performance, part installation, part concert, and part dinner.

Choreographer Raja Feather Kelly's The McCarthy Era (Working Title), a dance-theatre production that addresses the status of the artist in the McCarthy era, showing the ways in which, through a brutally effective mechanism, artists were directed to disengage from issues facing the real world.

Puppetry artists Spencer Lott and Maiko Kikuchi's 9000 Paper Balloons, a new work of puppet theater about the mother and five children, who were killed by a bomb carried by a giant paper balloon launched from the Japanese coast in 1945, the only enemy inflicted casualty on the U.S. mainland during WWII.

Writer/director/hip-hop artist Baba Israel's Cannabis! (Working Title), a live multimedia performance telling the history of cannabis and tracing its impact on humanity by creating an "up on your feet" musical concert with spoken word, video, and immersive theatre.

In Minor Theater's Marie It's Time, the company wants to plunge headfirst into the misogyny at the heart of modern drama. Using a wild retranslation of Georg Büchner's Woyzeck as a point of entry, Minor Theater's Julia Jarcho and Ben Williams will collaborate on original music and sound composition to underscore this classic story of lust and murder-and to interrupt it.

Nia Witherspoon's Priestess of Twerk - inspired equally by the "bad bitches" of hip-hop, the reproductive justice movement, and the sacred sex workers that graced Egyptian temples - presents women and trans folks of color with opportunities to re-encounter their sexualities through the lens of the sacred, in the hopes of increasing bodily autonomy and dispelling toxic masculinity.

Taylor Mac has been HERE's resident playwright since 2016 and is currently working on The Apology, an adaptation of The Apology of Socrates and Satie's Socrate. This new play is part of Mac's continued quest in navigating the evil forces of the world with beauty and contemplation.

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