Berkeley Rep Announces Ground Floor Summer Residencies

Today, The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep's Center for the Creation and Development of New Work announced the 21 projects selected for its 2018 Summer Residency Lab. Chosen from a new record of 690 submissions, the eclectic and ambitious slate of projects are the most ever housed by the Lab in its seven-year history.

In June, some of the world's most groundbreaking and skillful writers, directors, performers, and composers will unite at the Theatre's vibrant Harrison Street campus to generate new theatrical projects. Over an intense four-week period, they will roam our halls, exchanging ideas, breaking bread, and inspiring us all and each other as they craft their works-in-progress. Dozens more local and out-of-town actors and directors will join the Summer Residency Lab as part of these projects, bringing the number of participating artists close to 100.

2018 residencies are awarded to Avi Amon and Julia Gytri, Christina Anderson, Eliza Bent, Andy Bragen, Marisa Carr, Carla Ching, Alexandra Collier, Mia Rovegno, Heather Christian, Erin Courtney, Shelley Doty, Ryan J. Haddad, Naomi Iizuka and Paul Hodge, Candrice Jones, Min Kahng, Kimber Lee, Leonard Madrid, Baruch Porras-Hernandez, Sarah Ruhl, Tina Satter, Zarina Shea, Joe Waechter, and Arisa White.

"We are so happy that this program has continued to grow and that it encompasses such a wide range of work," says Madeleine Oldham, director of The Ground Floor. "We look forward to welcoming to Berkeley these terrific artists from so many different places and with so many different approaches to artmaking."

The Ground Floor is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts/ArtWorks, Time Warner Foundation Inc., the Tournesol Project, Bank of America, Michael & Sue Steinberg, and individual supporters of Berkeley Rep's Create Campaign.

A complete list of the artists and projects selected for the seventh annual Summer Residency Lab:

· Avi Amon and Julia Gytri experiment with traditional Ladino folklore, Ottoman shadow puppetry, and musical fusions of Middle Eastern and electronica sounds in Salonika.

· Christina Anderson's Berkeley Rep commission, the ripple, the wave that carried me home, examines a Black family's relationship to swimming and lifelong determination to integrate the public pools in their city.

· Eliza Bent tells the story of a group of misfits as they debate art in the basement office of an undergraduate art and literature magazine during the 2001 - 2002 school year in her play Indeed, Friend! Together they examine poetry, aesthetics, and Islamophobia.

· Andy Bragen collaborates with Ana Graham and Antonio Vega of the New York City- and Mexico City-based company Por Piedad Teatro to create Summit, in which a Mexican couple and a North American couple work together to "save the world."

· Marisa Carr's Punk Rock Mix Tape Play is a loosely autobiographical work about coming of age in the punk scene as a teenage girl in a brown body during the post-9/11 Bush administration.

· Carla Ching's Revenge Porn examines a very public investigation of a very private pain. And vice versa.

· Alexandra Collier, Heather Christian, and Mia Rovegno's Together is a glimpse into a New York apartment building where connections are made despite addictions to devices.

· Erin Courtney's Ann, Fran, and Mary Ann examines surviving trauma, neuroscience, God, and patterns.

· Shelley Doty's We 3 uses music, movement, and soliloquy to trace the common threads linking three women of color living disparate lives.

· Ryan J. Haddad's Good Time Charlie is a campy, heartfelt portrait of gay mentorship and a family's evolution over 30 years.

· Naomi Iizuka and Paul Hodge's Okuni is a new musical about a 16th-century Shinto priestess who rose from obscurity to become a legendary erotic performer celebrated for playing the roles of both men and women.

· Candrice Jones' Flex, constructed in the form of a four-quarter basketball game, looks at the two female basketball players who want to go pro in rural Arkansas.

· Based loosely on the 16th-century story by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo, Min Kahng's Calafia: A Reimagining explores themes of tribalism and the tension between evolution and preservation.

· In Kimber Lee's untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon project, a woman trapped in a cycle that bleeds through time and space looks for a way out.

· Leonard Madrid's Las Arañas is a play about monsters. It explores the local legend of Las Arañas, Spider-women who haunt a small New Mexican town.

· Baruch Porras-Hernandez's solo show Love in the Time of Piñatas wrestles with immigrant guilt, makes out with it a little, then transforms it into a hilarious show that asks: what's at the end of the Mexican immigrant road? Baruch hopes it's donuts.

· Sarah Ruhl will write the second act of her Berkeley Rep commission, currently titled Lock her up! (Becky Nurse).

· Tina Satter's Untitled Reality Winner Project: Verbatim Transcription stages the (almost) verbatim official transcription of the June 2017 FBI interrogation leading to the arrest of Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old woman from Texas accused of leaking top-secret U.S. intelligence.

· Zarina Shea's Just up the Road, Slightly is the portrait of a marriage depicted through the lens of personal tragedy and national narrative in South Africa's Western Cape.

· In Joe Waechter's Berkeley Rep commission Breakaway, the lines between ice rink and living room collide in a dark and hilarious study of masculinity, sexuality, and fantasy in the world of sports.

· Arisa White's opera Post Pardon is inspired by poet Reetika Vazirani who killed her 2-year-old son and then took her own life in the summer of 2003.


As the umbrella for all new play activity at Berkeley Rep, The Ground Floor is a bold initiative designed to raise the bar on the Tony Award-winning nonprofit's already successful record of artistic innovation. Think of it as an incubator for theatrical startups or a top-notch R&D facility for artists. For more information on each project, and for future announcements or opportunities to interact, visit


The Ground Floor's Summer Residency Lab aims to create a truly safe space for artists that is not influenced by the pressure of imminent public exposure, so - unlike many other development opportunities - it does not require recipients to present a reading or performance at the end of their residencies. Nonetheless, many projects will reach a stage where the creators request an invited audience or even engage community members as collaborators. For more information on each project, and for future announcements of opportunities to interact, visit:


Berkeley Repertory Theatre has grown from a storefront stage to an international leader in innovative theatre. Known for its core values of imagination and excellence, as well as its educated and adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a welcoming home for emerging and established artists since 1968. In four decades, four million people have enjoyed more than 400 shows at Berkeley Rep. These shows have gone on to win five Tony Awards, seven Obie Awards, nine Drama Desk Awards, one Grammy Award, and many other honors. In recognition of its place on the national stage, Berkeley Rep received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1997. Its bustling facilities - the 600-seat Roda Theatre, the 400-seat Peet's Theatre, the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, and a spacious campus in West Berkeley - are helping revitalize a renowned city.


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