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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York’s theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we’re passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
Written by Kali DiPippo, Assistant Director of Artistic Programming

"Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." — Winston Churchill

 

LabWorks
Photo: Alexis Buatti-Ramos
I can't help but think of these words when a season of New Victory LabWorks comes to a close. It is a time to debrief and reflect, but also ask: what next? Each year, The New Victory has the pleasure of supporting a handful of New York City-based artists creating work for young audiences as part of our LabWorks program. Taking place primarily at the New 42nd Street Studios, these artists hunker down over the course of a year—some with just the seed of an idea, others with a script, and many somewhere in between—to write, plan and experiment. These eclectic artists test out ideas, keep some, scrap others, and by the end, make great strides toward creating work for young audiences and families.

Over the past year, I've watched these artists develop these works (some from just the glimmer of an idea) into presentations for a live audience. The residencies are a vital and inspiring stop on each company's path to a full production. In fact, one of the reasons we started LabWorks was to increase the presence of work for young audiences by American artists. The idea that we could (and indeed are beginning to) see pieces developed by LabWorks Artists at national and international festivals, showcases and venues is thrilling. To come back to Churchill's words, LabWorks is only the beginning.

But before we leave this particular beginning, let's take a look back at some reflections from a few of the 2015-16 LabWorks Artists, in their own words:

    

LabWorks
The Village of Vale in the midst of an open rehearsal. Photo: Alexis Buatti-Ramos
"There is an unfortunate irony that the theater we make for adults (or anyone, really) is called a 'play,' and yet play is often the very thing that it is lacking. Allowing myself the freedom to work in a world that was more fun, that was high-spirited, but that also had to retain a sense of structure and a kind of rationality resonated deeply with me and is something I will not soon forget."
— Jason Gray Platt, Bird Brain

    

"The chance to be part of LabWorks really made us think of ourselves as an 'us'—as a company that has its own aesthetic and process and, we hope, trajectory—and I'm grateful for that."
— Jonathan Karpinos, The Village of Vale

"Within the program there are a range of opportunities to build and expand your network, learn and grow business skills to ensure sustainability, and receive artistic mentorship and feedback from some of the most respected people involved with theater for young audiences."
— Rachel Sullivan & Liz Parker, Layer the Walls

"The open rehearsals were incredibly helpful to us, especially at the place we found ourselves in developmentally at the end of our residency. We needed to get these ideas up and in front of eyes and ears and we have had such valuable feedback from those showings that it's reinvigorated our writing and given us such useful intel that will help guide our process going forward."
— Joseph Varca, The Village of Vale

"Artistically, we learned where the audiences are connecting to our stories and characters, where more information is needed, what is confusing, what is working with form and content, what is lacking and what people are craving. We've never opened up a show to share with an audience at this phase of development, and that in itself was a learning experience. While it was vulnerable to open the doors at this point in the process, it was ultimately rewarding and will allow us to create a stronger piece."
— Rachel Sullivan & Liz Parker, Layer the Walls

 

LabWorks
Layer the Walls in their open rehearsal. Photo: Alexis Buatti-Ramos
"My first instinct would be to keep [LabWorks] a secret so that no one else would find out about it and I'd be able to be part of it again and again ad infinitum. :) But, if pressed, I'd describe it as a fantastic opportunity to develop a show for young audiences, learn more about making theater for young audiences and become part of a community of people who make theater for young audiences."
— Jonathan Karpinos, The Village of Vale

"I had a blast. I felt fully supported by the theater and the staff throughout the process. Considering the program is only a few years into its life it already feels very smoothly run and well-organized. I'll miss you guys!"
— Jason Gray Platt, Bird Brain
 
 
Kali DiPippo ‚ÄčKali DiPippo, Assistant Director of Artistic Programming, oversees New Victory LabWorks, a program designed to foster the creation of new works for family audiences and provide New York City-based artists with professional development opportunities. Formerly a stage manager, Kali turned her sights to family audiences after a serendipitous stint in Education at Hampstead Theatre in London and has worked in varying capacities with Roundabout Theatre Company, MCC Theater Youth Company, Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre and the Kitchen Theatre Company. Kali received her BA in Drama from Ithaca College and her MA in Educational Theater from NYU. 

 
Posted by Beth Henderson