2020 Residencies

Announcing the 2020 HB Residency Recipients

The HB Artistic Council is pleased to announce its selection of the following six projects for an 2020 HB Rehearsal Space Residency. All public showings take place at 8:00 PM in HB Studio’s First Floor Studio, 120 Bank St, New York, NY.


UNTITLED WHALE PROJECT by Gwen Kingston, directed by Ashley Teague

Is it more like french toast, or more like a bowling ball? Is it more like Moby Dick, or more like a slumber party? For nearly two centuries Melville’s behemoth novel has held a touchstone place in American literature. It has been called “the supreme American novel” and hailed as “classic,” “universal,” and containing deep insights into “the human condition.” UNTITLED WHALE ADAPTATION invites a diverse group of female artists to try on the trappings and costumes of this American male classic and ask themselves, and the audience: “Does this feel universal?”

We embark on adventure: a boat full of seamen, all played by women, in pursuit of a giant sperm whale. Battling thunderstorms, whirlpools, boredom, toxic masculinity, and the occasional whale, our heroes Ishmael and Queequeg make their way around the world.

Public showings: May 30 & 31, 2020 @ 8PM 


AVERNO: WILD THINGS by Morgan Smith, directed by Daniella Caggiano

In this town, the things in the woods aren’t the ones you need to fear. Averno, VA was founded in 1695. In 1702, it was razed to the ground. In 1703, it was refounded — better. “Purer.” Shadows lurk in the woods, ready and waiting. The eyes are always watching. Children disappear. Storefronts never change. There are always whispers. Welcome to Averno.

Averno is a new multimedia universe that defies genre and encompasses a play, a musical, two novels, a TV Show, a podcast, a collection of short stories, and more. Set over the course of 300 years, the various projects follow the secrets, lies, histories and mysteries that enshroud the town of Averno.

Conspiracies and cults, sinners and saviors, Averno has it all. A love letter to southern gothic, the occult, and the seedy underbellies of seemingly peaceful towns everywhere, Averno is a sprawling map of the secrets that intertwine humanity, the horrors we inflict on each other, and the mysteries we can never unravel.

Public showings: July 18 & 19, 2020 @8pm


INT’L GIRLS ENSEMBLE directed by Jacqueline Raymond and Amanda McDowall

International Girls Ensemble (IEG) aims to empower girls and women in the US and abroad through educational theater and the performing arts promoting leadership skills, advocacy, and continued learning. IGE works with girls in a wide range of communities, focusing on self advocacy, leadership and critical thinking skills and tackling topics including girls access to education, reproductive rights, and ownership over life choices.

During this residency, High School students will work with professional actors and teaching artists to create a devised piece of theater. The group will look at social justice topics particularly pertaining to girls and women in the US and in Southeast Asia, where IEG has partnerships with refugee communities.

Public showings: August 22 & 23, 2020 @8pm


THERE IS A PORTAL by Kayhan Irani, directed by Rania Lee Khalil

A multimedia, one-woman performance that uses storytelling and participatory theater to create a space for dialogue among theater goers. The work chronicles Irani’s experience of immigration from Tehran to Queens as a young girl, mixed with tales of her family’s migration from Iran to India in the tenth century (as Zoroastrians). Set against the backdrop of 9/11 in her early adulthood, this performance is designed to create a space for conversation and healing among immigrant communities affected not only by Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism (including those neither Arab nor Muslim, like Kayhan) but for our country’s youth and adults who’s experience of citizenship, safety and belonging is compromised by the rampant anti-immigrant policies of our current administration, from ICE to the Travel Ban.

THERE IS A PORTAL is designed to reach a new generation of youth, growing in the shadow of these governmental policies upon our lives. It is designed to offer inspiration for resisting, and building bridges with other communities, and will be presented at local high schools, colleges, and universities. It will bring diverse audiences into conversation to imagine alternatives and advance an inclusive American narrative, while creating new definitions of ‘belonging’ in America.”

Public showings: October 3 & 4, 2020 @8pm


MFA written and directed by Hyojin Park

A devised-documentary theater piece that takes an unflinching yet humorous look at the actual harrowing stories and experiences of overt discrimination, micro-aggression, othering and silencing of young artists of color in historically white universities, specifically in Theatre MFA programs. MFA explores the deeply personal stories of an array of recent graduates from varying institutions across the country, who all come from widely different backgrounds of race, gender, sexual orientation and nationality but who share heartbreaking yet often humorous experiences of marginalization as they each pursue higher learning in the arts.

The piece draws heavily on a combination of verbatim transcripts of interviews, emails, text messages, voice message recordings, published texts, other found text and generated text via improvisation.

Public showings: November 7 & 8, 2020 @8pm


PRINT(DIALOGUE) by Blair Simmons, directed Tara Elliott

PRINT(DIALOGUE), named after a line of code, is a play by Blair Simmons about the very human elements of artificial intelligence: when it fails us and when it makes us laugh. Generated through Artificial Intelligence that has been coded by Blair, PRINT(DIALOGUE) poses the question: because AI technologies are developed by humans, do they inherently have human bias? And is that a positive or a negative?

As both a playwright and a computer programmer, Blair works to shine a uniquely intimate light on both the humor and dangers of artificial intelligence. To this effect, she has created a computer program that pairs her hand-authored sentence structures with content, to varying degrees of success, producing a conversation that loops, repeats, and undermines itself. This is a cutting edge performance that allows us to examine the capabilities – and problematic bias – of AI, as well as our human relationship to technology.

Public showings: December 12 & 13, 2020 @8pm


In partnership with the City Council - HB Studio

New York State of Opportunity - HB Studio

This program is supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and many generous supporters.