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Music-Theatre Documentary Work AMERICAN MILL NO. 2 Set for A.R.T./NY

Pioneers Go East Collective will present the World Premiere of American Mill No. 2, a new music-theatre and documentary work written and directed by Gian Marco Lo Forte, with music by Kamala Sankaram, and choreography by Maura Nguyen Donohue.

The production, which is devised, performed and written by the Pioneers Go East Collective will begin on March 30, 2017, and run through April 9, 2017 at A.R.T./NY Theatres (502 West 53rd Street at 10th Avenue) as a limited engagement.

American Mill No. 2 is an original docudrama with new music by Kamala Sankaram based on existing ballads and protest songs about Ella May Wiggins - a textile mill worker, union organizer and folk singer who found herself at the forefront of the protest movement during the strike at the Loray mill in Gastonia, NC in 1929. American Mill No. 2 features a multi-talented cast of actors and musicians, with Kamala Sankaram (Composer, Ella May Wiggings, Accordion), Catrin Llyod-Bollard (Guitar), Brittane Rowe, Anthony Napoletano (Harmonica), and Jason Stanley (Mandolin).

Writer/ director, Gian Marco Lo Forte indicates, "The collective has been deeply affected by the current social-political environment, and the protest movement that's now surfacing, including the women's march. The collective for this new work includes feminist artists and queer artists who have worked creatively together over the last year and a half to examine facts from the 1920's workers movement - with special attention to women's role during the strike as agent of peace and reason. Women used to strike by singing beautiful songs, and galvanize the crowds with their words of wisdom. By centering American Mill No. 2 on the life, speeches, and beautiful ballads composed by Ella May Wiggins - we hope to share and engage with our community as we reflect and connect past and present activism and shared values."

American Mill No. 2 explores the junction of culture, music and social conditions of factory workers in the South, which includes both a live video component inspired by historical photography to re-create the experience of the mill workers and their families, and a live performance with folk music (protest songs), and primary source material including news articles clips, speeches during the protest movement and interviews inspired by original audio recordings about factory workers and their lives working in the textile industry. American Mill No. 2 features lighting design and environment design by Marie Yokoyama and video design by Hao Bai.

American Mill No. 2 will perform as follows:

Thursday March 30 - 7:30 pm

Wednesday April 5 - 7:30 pm

Friday March 31 - 7:30 pm (Opening reception)

Thursday April 6 - 7:30 pm

Saturday April 1 - 7:30 pm (talkback)

Friday April 7 - 7:30 pm

Sunday April 2 - 2:30 pm

Saturday April 8 - 7:30 pm (talkback and closing party)

Tuesday April 4 - 7:30 pm

Sunday April 9 - 2:30 pm

For tickets and information, visit or call 212-352-3101.

Watch a preview below!


Gian Marco Lo Forte (Writer/ Director) is a queer writer and director in residence at La MaMa since 2001. Gian Marco founded Pioneers Go East Collective (PGEC) in 2010, a company in residence at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club which has developed projects with video technology for social awareness. In addition to PGEC, Gian Marco is Curator of Sound Departures - a music series at La MaMa presenting cross-disciplinary artists who explore known music idioms and new genres, and co-curator at The Exponential Festival, a Brooklyn based performance festival for emerging arts. His directing and design work presented in NYC at La MaMa, Dixon Place, Galapagos, Incubator Arts Project, HERE, WET, Abingdon, New York Theatre Workshop, Art on Air/ Clock Tower Gallery; and he has designed for Pan Asian Rep, Magis Co, Watson Arts, Operating Theatre, Slant, May Adrales, Ernest Abuba, Alvin Eng, Kevin Augustine, Edward Einhorn, Kim Ima Ellen Stewart. Gian Marco is in residence with Great Jones Rep and has designed at Biennale di Venezia and toured in Europe.

Kamala Sankaram (Musician and storyteller/ Composer): Praised as "strikingly original" (NY Times), Kamala Sankaram has received commissions from Beth Morrison Projects, HERE Arts Center, Opera on Tap, and Anthony Braxton's Tri-Centric Orchestra, among others. She is the recipient of a Jonathan Larson Award from the American Theater Wing, and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, Opera America, Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Meet the Composer, the Augustine Foundation, the Anna Sosenko Trust and the Asian Women's Giving Circle. Residencies and fellowships include the MacDowell Colony, the Watermill Center, the Citizens, HERE Arts Center, CAP21, Con Edison/Exploring the Metropolis, the Hermitage, and American Lyric Theater. As a resident artist at HERE Arts Center, Kamala created MIRANDA, a steampunk murder mystery, which was the winner of the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical. THUMBPRINT, her second opera (written in collaboration with playwright Susan Yankowitz), premiered in the 2014 PROTOTYPE Festival, and was featured on NPR's Weekend Edition, Agence French Presse, and over 25 media outlets around the world. THUMBPRINT will next be produced as part of the 2016/17 season at LA Opera. As a performer, Kamala has been hailed as "an impassioned soprano with blazing high notes" (Wall Street Journal). She has performed with and premiered pieces by Anthony Braxton, Beth Morrison Projects, the Philip Glass Ensemble, the Wooster Group, Anti-Social Music, and Petr Kotik, among others. She is the frontwoman for the band, Bombay Rickey, whose debut album was nominated for a 2015 Independent Music Award. See more at

Maura Nguyen Donohue (Choreographer) has been making dance-based performance works in NYC since 1995. Her solo and Inmixedcompany group works have been produced and presented in NYC at Dance Theater Workshop (now NY Live Arts), PS 122, Danspace Project, La Mama Moves, The Asia Society and Mulberry St. Theater and has toured across the US and to Canada, Europe and Asia. She has been a member of The Great Jones Repertory Company for over 15 years. . Maura has collaborated with Gian Marco Lo Forte and Adam Cuthbert on Pioneers Go East Collective projects since 2012. She has also written for the MR Performance Journal, Dance Insider, Dance Magazine, American Theater Journal, Culturebot, HK Dance Journal and the NY State Danceforce. Her essay "Ambivalent Selves: the Asian Female Body in Contemporary American Dance" was published in "Contemporary Directions in Asian American Dance" by the Society of Dance History Scholars/U. Wisconsin Press. She has served on the boards of Dance Theater Workshop (2002-2011) and Congress on Research in Dance (2009-2013), and currently serves on the Board of Movement Research and the New York Dance and Performance (Bessies) Awards Committee.

Marie Yokoyama (Lighting design) is a set and lighting designer based in NYC. She designed for Damon Chua's Film Chinois at Pan Asian Rep. Other credit's include: Redhouse: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Spelling Bee, A Man of No Importance, Gross Indecency, Oliver and 13, Public: Apple Family Series European Tour, Pacific Beats: TALA, Pan Asian Rep: Three Trees, Monk Parrots: Bum Phillips -All American Opera-. Regional: Yale Rep: Compulsion, Curtis: Faust, Opera Theater Pittsburgh: Fantasticks, Merry Widow, and Ariadne auf Naxos.

Hao Bai (Video design and Sound engineer) is a queer artist based in Brooklyn who works as a director, technician, and theatre maker. Hao is artist in residence with Pioneers Go East Collective since 2014. Selected credits as video designer and/or sound engineer: The Golden Toad and Burnished by Grief (by The Talking Band); pa to Prophetika: An Oratorio (dir. Charlotte Brathwaite); sound mixing for Bird In The House (by Dane Terry); set & lighting designer for The Workroom (One Art Space); Sound Designer for Paisieu (Target Margin); video designer for American Mill #2 (La MaMa); LD for "Medusa" and "Oddity" (TNC).

Pioneers Go East Collective is a community of writers, musicians and designers who create performance that merge storytelling, music and video documentary of real events. Inspired by Walt Whitman's powerfully evocative poem "Pioneers! O Pioneers!" that pays homage to fearless courage, we are a collective of 'pioneers' set out to find a brighter future and record memories of collective and individual vulnerability and resilience.

Pioneers Go East Collective develops and promotes docudrama works inspired by true stories that focus on issues of social awareness and justice. In residence at La MaMa since 2010, the collective explores stories that are not usually investigated and which reflect social-political vulnerabilities and otherness as a way towards provoking thought, casting impressionistic shadows. As 'pioneers' on a long journey, the collective finds and records memories of collective and individual courage to challenge audiences in emotionally charged yet accessible performances.

Gian Marco Lo Forte, Daniel Diaz, Maura Nguyen Donohue, Abby Felder, Julia Dobner-Pereira, Kamala Sankaram, Brittane Rowe and John Sully lead the collective in collaboration with a community of like-minded writers, performers, musicians, and visual artists. The collective has been widely presented in NYC at La MaMa, Triskelion Arts/ The Exponential Festival, St Ann's Warehouse, Governors Island, The Silent Barn, Astor Alive Festival, Incubator Arts Project, Dixon Place, Performance Mix/ HERE, Chashama Harlem Gallery, Goethe Institut Gallery. Visit for more.

According to Backstage, PGEC "...knocks down the walls between expressive genres and amalgamates music, video, and acting into an adrenalizing, dramatic experience." Past Pioneers Go East Collective works include the Time Out New York Critics' Pick HILDEGARD (VISION) about spiritual leader Hildegard Von Bingen's same-sex relationship with another nun and her ability to transcend gender confines through her creative process (St Ann's Warehouse; Governors Island/LMCC, 2013-14; La MaMa 2015); GEMINI STARS (work in progress presented at The Silent Barn in Bushwick and Triskelion Arts in January 2017 as part of The Exponential Festival); AMERICAN MILL No. 2 based on stories of women working in the Southern textile belt (A.R.T/New York '17); MJ WAS INNOCENT, the true story of Queer artist Michael Burke, exploring his journey from being a high school dropout prostitute to a performance artist (HOT Festival/ Dixon Place 2014/15; Performance Mix/ HERE '15); MARIA CELESTE (GALILEO) based on the epistolary correspondence between Maria Celeste and her father, scientist Galileo during his years in prison (Incubator Arts Project '14);7AM based on St Francis' poems about poverty and charity (Incubator Arts Project '13); S16 based on Pirandello's story about boys and young men working in sulfur mines and reflecting on same-sex relationships and coming of age in a harsh and unforgiving environment (La MaMa '12); The Birds and The Wolf live video installation reflecting on a woman's daydreaming after being abused by her partner (Chashama/Harlem Gallery, and Goethe Institut '11-'12). PGEC awards: Puffin Foundation 2013 and 2015; LMCC (2011-2015); Nancy Quinn Fund (2015); Opera America Award 2010. Go to

The A.R.T./New York Theatres are a project of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York), which provide state-of-the-art, accessible venues at subsidized rental rates, plus free access to top-line technical equipment, so that the city's small and emerging theatre companies can continue to experiment, grow, and produce new works. Founded in 1972, A.R.T./New York is the leading service and advocacy organization for New York City's 375+ nonprofit theatres, with a mission to assist member theatres in managing their companies effectively so that they may realize their rich artistic visions and serve their diverse audiences well. We accomplish this through a comprehensive roster of real estate, financial, educational, and community-building programs, as well as research, advocacy, and field-wide initiatives that seek to improve the long-term health and sustainability of the industry. Over the years, A.R.T./New York has received numerous honors, including an Obie Award, an Innovative Theatre Award, a New York City Mayor's Award for Arts & Culture, and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre. For more information, visit

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