Vermont Performance Lab Announces The Hatchery Project

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New multi-site residency partnership benefits Vermont communities

Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) -- in conjunction with The Live Arts Brewery | Philadelphia Live Arts Festival (Philadelphia, PA), Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University (Tallahassee, FL), and The Chocolate Factory Theater (Long Island City, NY) -- is thrilled to announce The Hatchery Project, a multi-year collaborative residency partnership to support dance and performance artists.

With lead support by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional funding by the National Endowment For The Arts and the four partner organizations, The Hatchery Project will devote approximately $600,000 over the course of three years to specially designed multi-site creative residencies for four artists: Luciana Achugar, Beth Gill, Annie-B Parson and Paul Lazar (Big Dance Theater) and Reggie Wilson.


The Hatchery Project artists and residency site partners. Left to right: front row: Beth Gill/choreographer; Annie-B Parson of Big Dance Theater/choreographer; Sheila Lewandowski/The Chocolate Factory and Sara Coffey/Vermont Performance Lab; back row: Craig Peterson/Live Arts Brewery|Philadelphia Live Arts Festival; Brian Rogers/The Chocolate Factory; Jennifer Caliennes/The Maggie Allesee National Choreography Center at Florida State University; Luciana Achugar/choreographer; Reggie Wilson/choreographer. Photo: Lauren Slone

Each of these artists will receive substantial financial and administrative support to conduct residencies at the four partner sites; and will tailor these residencies to their particular artistic practices and goals. The Hatchery Project's support of these artists is intended to emphasize the artist's creative needs and goals outside the cycle of grant applications and premiere dates.

"We're excited to link our work and our small rural communities with a national effort that will enable us to connect with such exemplary performing arts organizations and bring these exceptional artists to Vermont," says VPL Director Sara Coffey.

In the first year of The Hatchery Project, choreographer Reggie Wilson and members of his First Heel Performance Group will be in residency with VPL in March 2013 to record vocal tracks for the sound montage for his newest work, (project) Moseses Project. Wilson, known for his research into vocal and religious traditions in the African diaspora, will share his work with Vermont audiences through a "Community Shout" event at the Broad Brook Grange as part of his residency.  During an intensive week-long residency in August 2013 the crew of Big Dance Theater will come to VPL to work with young singers to experiment and develop the sound score for their new dance-theater piece, Adam Smithee, at the studios at Guilford Sound. Both residencies are designed to engage the local community in the artists' creative process.

The Hatchery Project is the response to a demonstrated need for more comprehensive support for dance and performance artists in areas related to research and development; and a desire to engage audiences and peers from a diverse set of communities in the processes of art-making.


Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) is the only national center for choreography in the world located in a major research institution, and operates from one of the premiere dance facilities in the United States. The Center is embedded within The Florida State University School of Dance, offering unparalleled opportunities for contemporary choreographers to hone their artistic practice and develop new work inside a creative community. MANCC encourages resident artists to bring dancers, designers, dramaturges, composers, and other appropriate collaborators that would enhance their creative inquiry through physical, conceptual, experiential, or scientific means. Artists have 24/7 access to a black box studio and/or open light studio, as well as a variety of additional shared facilities (media lab, cameras, audio lab, recording studio, costume shop). MANCC staff is skilled at working closely with artists to craft engaging and intimate moments of reflection with targeted community members to simultaneously create work and build new audiences for dance. MANCC helps make connections to collaborators and audiences by drawing from the large body of academics at FSU, the Tallahassee community, and the National field at large.

The Chocolate Factory Theater is an artist-founded, artist-run presenting organization with its own multi-use facility in Long Island City, Queens. Now in its 7th year, The Chocolate Factory has become an important hub for the New York performance community, providing commissioning and residency support for dance, theater, music, and multimedia artists. The Chocolate Factory's Artistic Director creates and presents his own work at the venue; his artistic sensibility, and his sensitivity to the needs and challenges of creating new performance, inform all of the organization's dealings with visiting artists (including the artists participating in The Hatchery Project). The Chocolate Factory's facility and equipment are designed for flexible use; and can accommodate highly technical production residencies at all phases of a project's development. Since opening its doors in 2005, The Chocolate Factory has cultivated a thriving community of artists and audience members whose interests are very much aligned with The Hatchery Project's focus on research and creative development.

Philadelphia Live Arts Festival (founded 1996) began the LAB program (2009) in an effort to address the developmental needs of artists in Philadelphia and to create an artistic destination for artists to engage with the robust artistic community within the city. LAB offers a rehearsal studio and fully-equipped black box theater exclusively for research, experimentation, and full production residencies in combination with a variety of presenting efforts that focus entirely on the developmental process. Educated and engaged audience interaction plays a central role in the development and research of material throughout all of LAB's process-oriented programming including its Fellowship program, a year-long artist-in-residence series that deeply engages artists in a curriculum of activity focused on artistic process, and its production residency program, LAB Test, which merges creative process and audience engagement.

Vermont Performance Lab (VPL) is a laboratory for creative research and community engagement. Over the last six years, VPL has brought artists of regional, national and international stature to the grange halls, studios and classrooms of rural Vermont through its innovative artist residency program. Last year VPL's community and education programs served more than 1,500 students, families and seniors in Windham County through workshops, informal performances and art-making experiences. VPL often partners with local organizations to host such residencies and create meaningful connections between artists and communities.