In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic upended The Orchard Project’s ability to participate in a familiar ecosystem of artistic development. In the wake of limitations on in-person gatherings, we found ourselves looking at truly unprecedented terrain in the entertainment industry. But, with obstacles came opportunities to recalibrate: to tune back in with our artists’ needs, and to channel The Orchard Project’s resources into intentional, thoughtful, and accessible virtual programming.
Looking back at the past two years of programming, we find ourselves extremely proud of the work our artists have accomplished across our virtual spaces. In the Episodic Labs, Audio Labs, and Performance Labs, Facilitators and artists worked together to expedite dozens of new projects through communal support. And now, with the addition of OP Forward Labs to our year-round programming, we’ve been able to unite cohorts selected from our pool of resident artists, as we pilot workshops dedicated to the advancement of their work in the industry at large.
The Orchard Project now finds itself in a moment of transition. As we welcome the return of in-person events, we also hope to honor the discoveries we made through engaging with virtual working methods. In 2022, we’re thrilled to offer virtual, hybrid, and in-person Labs, as well as the addition of an Adaptation Lab, thematically geared toward conceptually engaging this time of artistic renewal and institutional transformation.
PERFORMANCE (CLOSED APPLICATIONS, IN-PERSON):
For the first time in our organization’s history, The Orchard Project has made the difficult decision to close applications for our annual Performance Lab in 2022. We arrived at this decision in order to best carry out our mission’s promise for the artists who participated in our Performance Lab’s 2020/2021 virtual offshoots.
Before the summer of 2020, the OP’s Performance Lab manifested as a vivid series of overlapping in-person residencies, where performing artists took advantage of time, space, and the direct support of on-campus artistic staff to accelerate their projects. When this in-person model became unsustainable and treacherous due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we shifted our programming to online Labs that served as consistent virtual support as performing artists navigated their practices amidst a global health crisis.
While the virtual Performance labs were incredibly productive for certain kinds of projects, we learned together that there is no replacement for in-person development on time-based performance projects. We believe that many of our residents from the past two summers deserve an additional opportunity to catalyze their work with the OP, due to the creative constraints of workshopping performance material remotely.
As we return to in-person residencies in Summer 2022, we seek to honor the dedication of the artists who collaborated with us over the past two summers by offering them priority access to the return of our in-person resources. It is our belief that we must fulfill our mission’s promise of artistic acceleration to the best of our ability. In the case of Summer 2022, our work begins with re-supporting our wonderful resident artists who were only able to catalyze their work with us under less-than-ideal circumstances.
EPISODIC, AUDIO, AND ADAPTATION LABS (ONLINE WITH SUPPLEMENTARY IN-PERSON GATHERINGS):
Our Episodic, Audio, and new Adaptation Labs will hold open applications for hybrid Labs in Summer 2022. In these Labs, we will continue to build on the success of our virtual Lab settings — in particular, the virtual setting’s ability to unite an international and diverse cohort of high-caliber voices, while simultaneously providing each artist the autonomy to write freely from their own corner of the world.
New to 2022 in these Labs will be a hybrid component. While these Labs will be held mainly online, the OP will also hold some complementary in-person gatherings to strengthen the bonds and inspiration between our participants in their various locales.
GREENHOUSE (OPEN APPLICATIONS, ONLINE WITH AN EVENTUAL RETURN TO IN-PERSON):
Our Greenhouse Program, dedicated to unexpected cross-disciplinary collaboration in a sustained year-long setting, is back. We’ll begin with regular virtual meetings in 2022, with a sincere hope to transition back to in-person gatherings, within the year, as the global health situation evolves, and physical resources allow.