Performance Lab


The Orchard Project Performance Lab is a self directed lab for theatre-makers, writers, composers, teams, companies, and ensembles looking for support on one or more projects in development.

Our oldest program, the Performance Lab has historically been a form-fitting residency in which companies and artists join the Orchard Project for overlapping residencies, during which they are provided with free rehearsal space, room and board, and support from fellow artists. The collaborative component of this lab makes it unique from our other lab offerings insofar as it provides a communal space in which participants can check in with one another on projects, and facilitated space is created for those working on projects at any stage of their development. Throughout the residencies, open rehearsals invite peers and industry members from around the country to play an active role in the development of new works.

In normal years, lab participants are invited to Saratoga Springs, NY for overlapping residencies, during which they are provided with free rehearsal space, room and board, and support from fellow artists. Throughout the residencies, open rehearsals invite peers and industry members from around the country to play an active role in the development of new works.

Apply to the OP's 2024 Labs

Submissions for all 2024 Labs are now open and are due by Jan 16, 2024.


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. 

During this time, some work has thrived in hybrid environments, but for a lot of performance work, there is no replacement for in-person development on time-based performance projects. We thus have developed various threads of our Performance Lab, ranging from a more virtual based “Draft Lab” to iterative lab work based out of NYC to full in-person residencies in Saratoga Springs. During our application process, we will seek to communicate with artists to understand which of these threads might be an ideal match.  

Learn more about our 2023 artists

Who The Lab is For

The Orchard Project Performance Lab is an accelerator for any project in the live performance space. Selected participants can by individuals, teams, and companies who are excited and committed to the development of their work with an appetite for feedback in a group of diverse and similarly passionate peers. They are curious about understanding and developing their own work and world building with the goal of innovative creativity. 


The selected participants are chosen through a rigorous outreach and selection process, open to the public. As with all the Orchard Project labs, participants will join with varying degrees of professional experience, but will likely have some history of manifesting their creative work in public before joining the Orchard Project community. Anyone can apply, there is no age requirement, and applicants can be either represented by an agent or not. To honor the history of the Orchard Project and the constituency it serves, the program will aim to include at least some with a live performance interest or background.

Dates, Schedule, and Location

The 2024 Performance Lab occur in late June and early July. Lab sessions are generally set with common start and end dates for a cohort (e.g. an 9 day session that begins on a Friday and goes to the following Sunday). Exact dates to be confirmed at a later time.


The Orchard Project is honored to be partnering again with Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs for its Performance Lab.


All Orchard Project Lab participants begin their labs with a group orientation in Orchard Project Creative Vocabulary, outlining both the process and facilitation vocabulary that serves as a foundation for artists and work during their Orchard Project experience. 

Lab participants will also be able to sign up for individual office hours with OP staff and facilitators as desired.

Fees and Obligations
  • The Orchard Project Performance Lab is free for invited artists to participate in. There is also no fee to submit.
  • The Orchard Project’s Performance Lab requires each artist to agree to both the Orchard Project’s general participation policies (LINK), and an agreement that, while not providing any royalty or compensation to the Orchard Project, allows projects developed through the program to credit their participation in it. 
  • The focus of our labs is on the creation of self directed progress, peer and industry community. The Orchard Project, however, does have particular resources that it allocates to work after labs through our new OP Forward Program. We know that these resources/options are not an ideal match for all participants, but in certain circumstances, the Orchard Project and artist may continue to work together on the development and advocacy of their work after the program, in which case other arrangements will be made on a case by case basis.
Community Learning

All artists and participants in OP Labs will be invited to participate in annual Community Learning events, a series of weekly panels and conversations with leading artists, practitioners, and industry working in all the various forms. From discussions about television writing rooms, case studies in digital performance, best practices for collaboration (both in the room and in a contract), to pitching workshops, these events will provide all OP artists – across all our labs – to join in a community wide conversation about where storytelling will be heading in the future.

Submission (and Submission Requirements)

To submit your work to the Orchard Project Performance Lab, CLICK HERE. Submission windows are generally open from mid November to early January each year.

Full information about how the submission process for The Orchard Project works, click here.

In addition to project description and biographical information asked for in our new common application, we are asking those submitting to the Performance Lab to provide:
    A writing sample or other work


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The Orchard Project (OP) is a preeminent artistic development laboratory and accelerator for creators of performance and dramatic stories.

Where to find us

PO Box 237091

New York, NY 10023

646 760 6767 x 101