PRESS RELEASE: MRT Announces Patriot Program for Theatre Artists

DATE: JULY 30, 2015
CONTACT: Kate Brandt,
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7595
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678



Patriot Program Offers New Ways to Collaborate

Lowell, MA – The number of theatre artists who can now call Lowell their creative home has grown by more than 50 thanks to a new program launched by Merrimack Repertory Theatre. The Patriot Program is MRT’s unique approach to establishing a network of artists associated with the theatre. The program is designed to benefit playwrights, directors, actors, designers, and others from across the theatre field, as well as enhance MRT’s network of collaborators.

The Patriot Program is revolutionary in its approach to the artistic associate programs that are typical at many theatre companies. It differs in scope – MRT’s program is larger than most both in the number of participants and the diversity of roles represented. The variety of ways that Patriots may interact with MRT is also quite varied. They can make use of MRT’s physical resources, including the rehearsal hall, theatre, and artist housing. In addition to space, the Patriots will also have access to a community of fellow theatre-makers, both those on staff at MRT and the other members of the program.

Sean Daniels, who is beginning his first season as MRT’s Artistic Director, developed the program as he thought about ways to incorporate his large national network into the work he’s doing at MRT and his future goals for the company. Daniels aims to put Merrimack Repertory Theatre and Lowell on the national radar by originating work here that goes onto to have future life in the American Theatre. Part of that means attracting artists to MRT so that it is one of the first places they think of when they have a new project.  According to Daniels, “We’re building a national theatre for our town and a local home for these national artists.”

Daniels further states, "We’re trying to reinvent how we as a growing theatre work with associate artists. How do we create a home where artists can not only work, but can be in contact with each other? How do we grow an artistic family that’s not just about serving our interests, but gives them more tools to create their own creative networks? These artists can be in residence with us at any point throughout the year, working on their own material, meeting with our community – or just functioning as an artistic advisory group.

“As we talked to these artists - we kept hearing ‘I’d love to just have a place to come write’, or ‘I’d love to be writing when other writers are there so we gather for dinner for each night and compare notes’ or ‘I’d love to just start with some designers and dream up a project’. This program aims to provide those generative opportunities.  As we grow, and have more to offer, these will be the artists we reach out to first.”

The inaugural list of Patriots includes nationally-recognized award-winners like Jon Jory, who won the Special Tony Award for Regional Achievement and founded the Humana Festival of New American Plays at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. It also features several directors, playwrights, and designers whose work will be featured in the 2015-16 Season, including playwright Lauren Gunderson, whose play “I and You” earned her the Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association Award for the best new play produced outside of New York. Richly diverse in age, race, geography, experience, and skill sets, the Patriot  Program brings a wealth of talent to MRT’s network.

Playwright Christopher Oscar Peña eagerly accepted the invitation to participate, “Truly, I am so grateful to be invited and I’m so excited at the possibilities. What we all look for is a home – a building and a people - so to know that I have that now is incredible. I can’t wait to find time to come up, even if it’s just to start seeing shows and starting to meet the community of your staff and the audience. I think it makes such a huge difference psychologically to have the opportunity to sit in the lobby of a theater, and get to know the marketing people or the box office and drink coffee and write and say, this is my home."

The complete list of the MRT Patriots

James Albrecht, Creative Director, St. James Theatre (London)
May Adrales, Director
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Playwright/Writer  (“Spiderman” “American Psycho”, “Glee”, “Big Love”, Marvel Comics) Chief Creative Officer for Archie Comics
Jill A. Anderson, General Manager O’Neill Theatre Center
Dan Bakkedahl, Actor (“Veep”, “The Daily Show”, “Legit”)
Ilana Brownstein, Dramaturg, Director of New Work at Company One
Monica Byrne, Novelist, Playwright
Jen Caprio, Costume Designer
Aysan Celik, Actor, Educator, NYU Abu Dhabi, Founding Member Theatre Mitu
Jeremy Cohen, Artistic Director, Playwrights Center
Jennifer Cody, Actor
Mark Cuddy, Artistic Director, Geva Theatre & Cape Playhouse
Celina Dean, Actor
Kristoffer Diaz, Playwright, Pulitzer Prize Finalist
Julie Dubiner, Dramaturg
Veronika Duerr, Actor, Director, Producer
Reginald Edmund, Playwright
Nick Gandiello, Playwright 
Wendy Goldberg, Artistic Director, O’Neill Playwright’s Conference
Idris Goodwin, Playwright
John Gregorio, Actor
Lauren Gunderson, Playwright, Steinberg/ATCA Award winner
Leah Hamos, Agent, Gersh Agency
Jon Jory, Artistic Founding Director of Long Warf Theatre, Former Artistic Director of Actors Theatre of Louisville, Creator of the Humana Festival of New American Plays, Winner of the Special Tony Award for Regional Achievement
Lila Rose Kaplan, Playwright
Tom Kirdahy, Five-time Tony Award-nominated Producer
Greg Kotis, Two-time Tony Award-winning Playwright (“Urinetown”)
Victor Lesniewski, Playwright
Brian J Lilienthal, Lighting Designer
Karen MacDonald, Actor
Wendy MacLeod, Playwright
Kristin Marting, Artistic Director, HERE Art Center
Lisa McNulty, Producing Artistic Director, Women's Project Theater
Kristen Mengelkoch, Actor
Kelly Miller, Dramaturg/Producer
Aaron Munoz, Actor
Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, Playwright
A. Rey Pamatmat, Playwright
Topher Payne, Playwright
Christopher Oscar Peña, Playwright
Heather Provost, Tony Award-nominated Producer
David Remedios, Sound Designer
Tlaloc Rivas, Director, Educator
Mike Sablone, Dramaturg
KJ Sanchez, Director
Megan Sandberg-Zakian, Director
Benjamin Scheuer, Writer/Composer– Drama Desk and New Theatre World Award Winner
Wendy Seyb, Choreographer
Mat Smart, Playwright
Niegel Smith, Artistic Director, The Flea Theatre
Molly Smith Metzler, Playwright
Sam Willmott, Composer, Kleban Award Winner
Jessie Wortham, Actor
Lucky Yates, Actor (“Archer”), Puppeteer
Karen Zacarias, Playwright

Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) has been Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre company since 1979, and is an integral part of Lowell’s identity as the cultural heart of the region. The company is known for its high production standards and for creating compelling new plays and regional premieres that reflect the lives and emotions of its audiences. MRT is one of just three theatres in Massachusetts that is a member of the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), which has 72 members nationwide.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Performance Space: The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre
(In Liberty Hall, adjacent to Lowell Memorial Auditorium)
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
Box Office: 978-654-4678