Playwrights Horizons (Tim Sanford, Artistic Director and Leslie Marcus, Managing Director) today announced SPACE on Ryder Farm as the third theater company to join its Resident Company Program. Playwrights is a writer’s theater dedicated to the support and development of contemporary American playwrights, composers and lyricists and to the production of their new work. This residency initiative – launched in 2014 – subsidizes office and rehearsal space for smaller theater companies who share an interest in American writers and who, like Playwrights, demonstrate a commitment to developing and producing new works. This initiative also creates synergy between the resident companies and the Playwrights Horizons Theater School, an affiliate program of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, allowing undergraduate students opportunities to workshop new plays alongside professional theater artists and take classes in producing, performance, playwriting and more with leaders from the resident companies.
Starting this January, SPACE on Ryder Farm (Emily Simoness, Co-Founder and Executive Director), a non-profit artist residency program located an hour north of New York City on the grounds of Ryder Farm in Brewster, New York, will become Playwrights’ third resident company. SPACE on Ryder Farm creates an environment singular in its ability to invigorate artists and innovators and their work, and contributes to the sustainability and resourceful preservation of one of the oldest organic family farms on the East Coast.
SPACE on Ryder Farm joins resident companies Clubbed Thumb (Maria Striar, Producing Artistic Director) and Musical Theatre Factory (Shakina Nayfack, Artistic Director), which provide like-minded theater companies the space and resources to create more art, and expand their capacity to provide artistic opportunities to writers. The hit Playwrights Horizons and Clubbed Thumb co-production of Men On Boats by Jacklyn Backhaus, directed by Will Davis, was the first public result of the Resident Company Program, which, after its acclaimed run at Clubbed Thumb’s Summerworks, was further developed with collaborative efforts from the Playwrights Horizons Theater School undergraduate students.
“From its inception, SPACE at Ryder Farm has been a distinctly artist-centric residency program for theater-makers, and I genuinely continue to marvel with each year at how rapidly it has become not just a hub for the theater community, but an integral, vital font for the national landscape of new plays,” said Playwrights Horizons Associate Artistic Director Adam Greenfield. “That SPACE has grown so quickly to become central to so many of our lives is a testament to how great the need is for its programs, as is the astonishing number of important recent works written on Ryder Farm soil. Shortly after its founding, Emily Simoness and I began a symbiotic partnership, providing one another with space and resources, in town and in country, to support new works. I’m delighted this has now led to a more permanent and official collaboration between our like-minded organizations.”
“SPACE is thrilled to be formalizing our partnership with Playwrights Horizons, and we are deeply grateful for this incredible opportunity,” said Emily Simoness, Founder and Executive Director of SPACE on Ryder Farm. “There’s clear artistic synchronicity between our two organizations. Since SPACE’s inception in 2011, we have provided time and space on the 222-year-old Ryder Farm in Brewster, NY, to a number of playwrights who are also a part of the Playwrights Horizons family. These writers include Jaclyn Backhaus, Adam Bock, Erin Courtney, The Debate Society, Madeleine George, Kirsten Greenidge, Lucas Hnath, Samuel D. Hunter, Hansol Jung, Dan LeFranc, Taylor Mac, Greg Moss and Anne Washburn. We are thrilled that during the 2017/2018 season Max Posner’s The Treasurerand Clare Barron’s Dance Nation, both of which were written in part through SPACE’s Working Farm Residency, are having their world premieres at Playwrights Horizons. Through this partnership with Playwrights Horizons, I hope SPACE will be able to expand our support of theatre artists of all stripes and, in turn, have an even deeper impact on the work produced by Playwrights Horizons and the American theatre at large.”
SPACE on Ryder Farm will be in residence for three years at Playwrights Downtown. That space currently houses the Playwrights Theater School (which is affiliated with NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts undergraduate Drama Program) and Playwrights Rehearsal Studios, the company’s space rental operation that provides hundreds of organizations with rehearsal, classroom and performance space. Resident Companies will work closely with the Theater School to engage its students in their work and their new play development processes.
The vision for the Resident Company Program arose from Playwrights Horizons’ desire to expand the reach of support for new playwrights and plays and encourage more developmental support, more productions and wider audiences for new work. Having grown out of the organization’s strategic planning process, the program also seeks to lessen the financial burdens of renting costly rehearsal and performance space in the New York market to smaller companies who share a deep interest in American writers.