The 2024 Orchard Project Performance Lab

The 2024 Orchard Project Performance Lab


June 24, 2024 — The Orchard Project today announced the artists and companies selected to participate in its 2024 Summer Performance Lab program. The 16 projects and artistic teams come from a competitive group of more than 1,000 that applied to participate in this year’s program. Participating projects include the new musical SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED, with music and lyrics by Ryan Miller (of the band Guster) and a book by Nick Blaemire and the new play THE HAUNTING OF SHIRLEY JACKSON by Kate Walat. Orchard Project 2024 residents will include Lortel Award-winner nicHi douglas, Suhayla El-Bushra and Ahmed Gallab from The Royal National Theatre (UK), and a multi-week residency with the award-winning ensemble Fiasco Theater. The Orchard Project Performance Lab program is taking place in June and July in Saratoga Springs, NY. The Orchard Project’s other Labs, including its TV, Audio, and NYC Greenhouse programs, will be announced shortly.

The Orchard Project also announced a lineup of  public events — which will allow OP artists to share their works-in-progress with the Saratoga Springs Community. This summer’s public events include Open Rehearsals and Industry Days, Classical Training Workshops led by Fiasco Theater (July 2, 3, and 8 – 11), the annual Orchard Project Summer Arts Festival Weekend (July 11 – 13), and Bloodstock to Broadway (July 24). More information about all public events is available online on The Orchard Project’s website at

“The Orchard Project’s unwavering support for artists makes a difference across the cultural landscape, whether you’re watching TV, listening to your favorite podcast, or going to a show. There is currently at least one Orchard Project alum involved in every single new play or musical on Broadway — and we can’t wait for this year’s Orchard Project artists to create with us and then share their stories with the world,” said Ari Edelson, the Orchard Project’s Founder and Artistic Director


This year’s Performance Lab highlights joyous new works and the diversity of approach and breadth of experimentation that characterize contemporary theatrical projects. Projects, companies, and artists selected to participate in the Orchard Project Performance Lab include:  

Nick Blaemire, Ryan Miller, Lee Sunday Evans: Safety Not Guaranteed: Three disaffected magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview an unusual guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel. Music and lyrics by Ryan Miller (of the band Guster) and book by Nick Blaemire. Based on the movie written by Derek Connolly.

Royal National Theatre, UK/Suhayla El-Bushra, Ahmed Gallab: Home Is Not A Country: Fresh from their collaboration on The Enormous Crocodile, Suhayla El-Bushra and Ahmed Gallab (AKA Sinkane) are exploring a musical stage adaptation of Safia Elhillo’s 2021 YA novel, Home Is Not A Country; a supernatural look at belonging, loss, and what it means to be part of the Sudanese diaspora.

TRIA Theatre/Seth Bockley, Jesse LaVercombe, Ahmed Moneka: Don Quixote on Highway 1: This theatre/film hybrid performance adapts Cervantes’ classic Don Quixote for the 21st century, mixing live video and film techniques with imaginative staging to tell an existentialist fable about two friends on a hilarious road trip to nowhere.

Ma-Yi Theatre/Ray Pamatmat, May Adrales: True / Story, based on a true story: Can you write a play about your estranged father dying during a global pandemic without it becoming trauma porn? Should you even try?

Miami New Playwrights: Miami-based playwrights Celeste Landeros, Juan Sanchez, Jessica Bashline, Ivan Lopez, will work with The Orchard Project alum Kenny Finkle for a week to develop new work in Saratoga, in partnership with the South Florida Theatre League.

Wenxuan Xue: mao mao: A solo performance that weaves in family oral histories, creation myths, folk songs, and Buddhist/Taoist rituals to rekindle ancestral spirits, queer lineage, and ecological entanglements.

Jonathan Reid Gealt, Dustin Sullivan, Kasey Merino, Madsie Flynn: Dust & Shadow: Based on the novel by Hugo-Award winning author Lyndsay Faye, DUST & SHADOW, is a Sherlock Holmes + Jack the Ripper thriller. This is a Sherlock for our time, still firmly rooted in its traditional, thrilling setting.

Kate Walat, GT Upchurch: The Haunting of Shirley Jackson: Legendary writer Shirley Jackson (“The Lottery”) is haunted by her past, present, and ever-disapproving mother Geraldine, as a mysterious Visitor appears in her Vermont garrett, beckoning her on a late-night drive, abandoning typewriter and all.

nicHi douglas, Josiah Davis: C’MON GOD, WHERE YOU AT?: Allegory meets Blaxploitation in this irreverently parodied adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s The Adventures of a Black Girl in Her Search for God.

Zeyn Joukhadar: The Thirty Names of Night: An Arab trans New Yorker in the process of choosing his name searches for a rare bird documented only by his late ornithologist mother and a mysteriously vanished Syrian bird artist, uncovering silences his community has kept in the name of survival and finding unexpected precedent for his own life.

Fiasco Theater: In 2024, The Orchard Project will be hosting its first Company in Residence, Fiasco Theater, for the majority of the season in Saratoga Springs. While in residence, Fiasco will develop a number of new productions, and lead classical training workshops, taught by esteemed members of their Conservatory faculty. Workshops are available to learners across experience levels and ages. Fiasco Theater’s residency in Saratoga Springs is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature. 

Writers and Composers in Residence: The Orchard Project is honored to host its second cohort of Writers in Residence and Composers in Residence as part of the Performance Lab in Saratoga Springs. The 2024 Writers in Residence include KJ Sanchez, Sarah Burgess, Franky Gonzalez, Liza Birkenmeier, and Cricket Brown. Composers in Residence include Jesse J Sanchez, Julian Hornik, Zack Zadek, and Anna DeNoia. Additional Writers and Composers in Residence to be announced.


The Orchard Project will host public events throughout the summer Performance Lab, allowing OP artists to share their works in progress with the community. More information about all public events is available online on The Orchard Project’s website at Public events include: 

Summer Arts Festival: Thursday, July 11 – Saturday, July 13, 2024:

Thursday, July 11 at 6 PM:
The Future of Broadway: A Musical Showcase of Contemporary Composers
Feat. Ryan Miller (Guster), Nick Blaemire, Jesse J. Sanchez, Zack Zadek, Anna Denoia, + more!
Upbeat on the Roof @ The Tang; picnic starting at 5:30 PM

Friday, July 12 at 6 PM:
Work-in-progress sharing by Fiasco Theater Company
The Haunting of Shirley Jackson: a reading of a new play by Kate Walat
The Inn at Saratoga

Saturday, July 13 at 7 PM:
Safety Not Guaranteed: a special concert presentation of a new musical premiering in NYC this fall by Nick Blaemire and Ryan Miller of indie rock band Guster
Saratoga Winery

Training Workshops:

Monday, July 8 – Wednesday, July 10:
Workshops for College-Aged Students + Professionals: Rehearsing Shakespeare
Our Company-in-Residence, Fiasco Theater Company, is teaching this FREE intensive for college students and lifelong learners.
Email to register by Sunday, June 30th.
Saratoga Arts; Mon – Wed, 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM

Wednesday, July 24:

Bloodstock to Broadway
Join the Orchard Project for this exciting event, where world class culture and thoroughbred racing overlap. Learn about upcoming projects and investment trends in bloodstock and Broadway during Saratoga’s hottest season.
The Coat Room; 6:00 PM


The Orchard Project is a preeminent artistic development laboratory and accelerator for creators of performance and dramatic stories. Through programs in New York City, Saratoga Springs, and online, The Orchard Project inclusively supports and empowers dramatic storytellers from the United States and around the world. Through summer labs and other year-round programs that provide resources including community, accountability, and opportunity for artists at multiple stages of their careers, The Orchard Project pushes the dramatic form and lifts up a diversity of voices that inform, inspire, and provoke.

To date, OP has supported more than 1,500 resident artists, and maintained deep relationships with alumni, offering ongoing advice and resources for their work through OP Forward programs. Unlike other residency programs, The Orchard Project’s signature Labs embrace projects from a diversity of trajectories, forms, and aesthetics, and support both emerging and established artists. Theatrical works developed at The Orchard Project have gone on to production at a wide variety of theaters—from Broadway and the West End to independent theaters across the world. Recent and upcoming productions include We Are Your Robots (Rattlestick Theatre, TFANA, upcoming), Penelope (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and Signature Theatre DC), A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction (Baltimore Center Stage, Barbican Theatre, European Tour), Bhangin’ It/Bhangra Nation (La Jolla Playhouse, Birmingham Rep, UK), In the Green (LCT3), Manual Cinema’s Frankenstein (Public Theater, Court Theatre, National Tour), Amélie (Broadway), The Object Lesson (BAM Next Wave Festival, New York Theatre Workshop), and Savion Glover’s BaRoQUe’BLaK TaP CaFe (The Joyce). Audio stories formed at The Orchard Project have been presented on Audible, including the musical Row by Daniel Goldstein and Dawn Landes, and the upcoming series The Double[s] by Winnie Kemp. Television pilots like Amy Jephta’s The Park have been developed in OP’s Episodic Lab, with many other writers from the lab moving to writing positions and development opportunities across the industry. Various projects have gone on to live in multiple mediums, such as Laura Wade’s POSH and Robert Schenkkan’s All The Way, which had successful theatrical runs before becoming major motion pictures. Past Orchard Project residency companies include Tectonic Theater Project, The Royal Court, Elevator Repair Service, Public Theater, Pig Iron, The Rude Mechs, American Repertory Theater, Mabou Mines, and groundbreaking artists Jeremy O. Harris, Young Jean Lee, and Brandon Jacobs Jenkins, among others. Work developed at The Orchard Project has gone on to win awards including Obies, Drama Desks, Olivier Awards, and the 2014 Tony Award for Best Play for All The Way.

The core activities of The Orchard Project are a series of residency and artist support programs that occur in New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY. Programs include laboratories for theatrical plays and musicals, episodic content, and audio storytelling, as well as professional development labs focusing on diversity, inclusion, and leadership.

The Orchard Project’s 2024 Programming is made possible with the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, Upstate Theater Coalition for a Fair Game, The Richenthal Foundation, The Dake Family Foundation, TIAA-CREF Foundation, The Orchard Project Founders Club, and many individual donors.

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

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PO Box 237091

New York, NY 10023

646 760 6767 x 101