Meet Our Current Fellows
The Performance Project Fellowship is a year-long creative career mentorship program. It is specifically designed for local, early emerging artists/cultural organizers (between the ages of 18-26) who want the intensive support needed to build a sustainable career in the creative sector.
Our 2018-2019 Fellows
"I believe that art has the actual capacity to literally, immediately, and tangibly help people. I have to. And I believe that it is our job to refine and amplify this practical usefulness. The Performance Project Fellowship, and the surrounding community, is an ideal setting to continue to hone and discover ways to bring this work into existence."
Philip Santos Schaffer is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist and 1/4 of WalkUpArts - currently producing SMALL PLAYS FOR GIANTS, a five play series of highly interactive solo performances for intimate audiences. Artistic Associate / Associate Archivist: The Living Theatre. MFA in Dramaturgy from Columbia University expected in May 2018.
"Everything happens for a reason. Thank you for this opportunity to express who and what I am as an artist!"
Mijori Goodwin is an upcoming singer/songwriter and artist looking to share her ongoing life story. She has always dreamt of expressing who she is to those having trouble finding their inner strength to do the impossible and become their truest and best selves. She's been singing all her life, and one day hopes to connect with the world.
"I am honored to be a Performance Project Fellow and to have been given my first fellowship experience! I can't wait to work among such company, and utilize this gift of time, space, and mentorship to further build my artistry and cultivate community."
Ry Szelong is a playwright/director/performer originally from the San Francisco Bay area. He received his BFA from NYU Tisch: Playwrights Horizons Theater School where he is a TA and mentor. He is also Artistic Associate of The Parsnip Ship, which turns plays into live podcast recordings.
"I so look forward to creating meaningful, community-oriented performative work through this amazing fellowship opportunity! It will no doubt be a rewarding journey in creative process."
Alisa is a multi-medium creator and occasional performance artist. An advocate of bridging the old and new, her artistic vision involves a merging of unlikely mediums via performative and technological experimentation. Ultimately, she strives to narrate the stories of underrepresented folks who don't see themselves reflected honestly in most media.
"I'm excited and grateful to be a part of the Performance Project 2018-2019 cohort! Since graduating from college, I've been craving meaningful ways to connect with young makers and performers. Specifically, I'm looking forward to engaging in discussions throughout the fellowship about how to cultivate artistic and professional practices that are honest to the values our community strives to uphold."
Ella Dawn is a dancer and choreographer. Her early training was focused on competitive gymnastics, musical theatre, and acting - influences that surface in her work when they're least expected. Later, at Eugene Lang College at the New School she became immersed in the realm of post-modern and experimental dance. She makes work that addresses various philosophical and personal conundrums through the lens of physicality and movement based structures.
"Having worked with the Lower East Side's incredible network of settlement houses through my advocacy work with Arts for Art and the Lowline over the past four years, I am thrilled to be working with University Settlement in a new capacity as a Fellow of The Performance Project.
At 26, I'll likely be the oldest in this youth empowering program, and I couldn't be more excited to be a part of an initiative that prioritizes young people. I know that I have a lot to teach through my experiences. I am also confident that I have far more to learn. I look forward to growing and experimenting with this inspiring group of artists and activists."
Courtney Surmanek is a multidisciplinary artist and organizer. She creates installation art, performance-poetry, and community-based initiatives that explore law, trauma, public space, and gender/sexuality. She is currently learning and growing as a Fellow of the Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics and The Performance Project:
"As I begin this year-long fellowship with The Performance Project, I'll also be participating in the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics' EMERGENYC Fellowship at Abrons Arts Center just around the corner. As a New Yorker, the impact that gentrification has had on the people I love across New York City and on the Lower East Side is heartbreaking. Living in a rent-stabilized apartment, I realize the relative safety I have, while also understanding many of my friends and neighbors aren't as fortunate. Much of my advocacy and activism has focused on anti-gentrification and displacement efforts, and I'm excited to see how this history of work plays a role in my performance practice and my participation in these fellowships."
"I'm excited to learn from fellow fellows, Performance Project mentors, and being supported to create work for communities."
Toney Brown is a performing artist in Astoria, Queens. Recent Directorial Credits: A Crack Up at the Race Riots by Harmony Korine (TNC Dream Up), It's a Life! (Dixon Place), and the award-winning Defenders of a Tender Gender Bender by Rich Orloff (Raucous Caucus). He has also worked with Dennis Yueh Yeh Li on his production L.ear (Dixon Place) and The Blind by Maurice Maeterlinck (TNC w/ The Living Theater).
"I'm honored and surprised to have been chosen as a fellow. This is my first fellowship and I'm looking forward to what the experience has in store for me!
I'm happy that you're reading this now - whoever you are! I hope you get a good and honest fortune cookie soon. I hope you get whatever you want from life."
Alexander Paris (Paris for short) is a playwright and multidisciplinary artist who grew up in the small town of Bisbee, Arizona. He is often seen downtown attending shows, being a part of them, or creating his own. He appreciates art that creates spectacle and subversion in any given situation.
Sukanya is a painter and singer/songwriter from Brooklyn, NY. She uses her artistic talents and abilities as a vehicle through the artistic world as well as to meet other artists and connect with them. She is a member of The Intergenerational Community Arts Council: A group of artists that are using the beautiful language of art to unite the community of Downtown Brooklyn as well as raising awareness of societal issues in the community.
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