photo by Maria Baranova

Residency Dates: May 16, 2021 - June 05, 2021
Application Deadline: December 08, 2020

Due to COVID-19 and the immense stress it has put on artists, ACA will be offering FULL scholarships to all accepted artists for Residency #181! The Board of Trustees and staff feel protecting our core mission is paramount, and are grateful to the Pabst Steinmetz Foundation for allowing us to make this commitment to funding exceptional artists during these times. 

Sibyl Kempson began making her own performances at Little Theater and Dixon Place in NYC at the turn of the millennium. Her plays have been presented in the United States and New York Theatre Workshop, the Walker Art Center, New York Live Arts, the Chocolate Factory Theater, Red Eye Theater, and the Fusebox Festival, in Germany at Theater Bonn and in Norway at the Ibsen Awards and Conference. She launched the 7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co. in 2015 at the Martin E. Segal Center at the City University of New York. The company’s inaugural production, Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag, premiered at Abrons Arts Center in NYC the same year.

12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens, a 3-year cycle of rituals for the Whitney Museum of American Art began on the Vernal Equinox in March 2016 and recurred on every Solstice and Equinox through December 2018. Other recent projects include true pearl, a new opera with David Lang for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and Sasquatch Rituals at The Kitchen in NYC, hailed by critic Helen Shaw as her “favorite show of the decade” in Vulture. Both premiered in 2018.

Kempson is the recipient of a 2018 PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for an American Playwright at Mid-Career, for writers working indisputably at the highest level of achievement. She is a 2014 USA Artists Rockefeller Fellow, a MacDowell Colony Fellow and an alumnus of New Dramatists. She has been commissioned to write performance texts for Big Dance Theater, Elevator Repair Service, David Neumann/Advanced Beginner Group, the Rude Mechs and Salvage Vanguard Theater. As a performer Kempson toured internationally with Nature Theater of Oklahoma, New York City Players and Elevator Repair Service from 2000 – 2011.

She holds an MFA in Playwriting from CUNY Brooklyn College, where she studied under the instigation of Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney, and a BA in Theater from Bennington College. Other areas of concentrated study include; tracking and wilderness living skills, along with Earth-honoring philosophy and healing methods, both at the Tracker School in the Pine Barrens of her home state of New Jersey, and with her mentor Donna Brickwood. She also studies practical animism, ritual, and ancestral healing with psychotherapist Daniel Foor, and natural leadership with the Eight Shields organization.

Her plays are published by 53rd State Press, PLAY: Journal of Plays, and Performance & Art Journal (PAJ).

She teaches experimental performance writing at Sarah Lawrence College, and at the Victoria College of the Arts at the University of Melbourne.

For additional information, please visit

Residency Statement:

I am looking to work with other writers of performance text who are exploring – or who deeply want to explore – intuitive working modes that uncover new narrative structures, through an emphasis on detail, texture, pattern, process, imagery, spatial awareness, and alternate ways of knowing. If your practice of live-performance-making is characterized by a marked disregard for the ‘right’ way of writing or making, then I would encourage you to please apply for this residency! We will be questioning the rules and our obedience to them. We will be multiplying the possibilities of meaning and our ways of making it. If you are given to combining text-writing with other procedures of expression – including visual/audio modalities, movement forms, ritual technologies, or activism, whether you are ‘good at’ them or not – even better! We will convene each day at tea-time (4pm), and by 4:30 we will enter into a group creative space that can include instruction, individual presentation, feedback, discussion, brainstorming, meditation, and definitely problem-making, until dinner hour.

Application Requirements:

(Your materials may be submitted in any of the following file formats; .docx, .pdf, .jpg. and no more than 5mb per file please.)

In your Letter of Intent, please tell me about your influences and interests. If you have a chip on your shoulder when it comes to any aspect of your practice or the landscape in which your practice lives, tell me about that also. Please include a twenty-page performance writing sample and a sample from one other aspect of your practice, at which you do not need to be skilled necessarily. If you have any video samples of live performances of your work, I would like to take a brief (5-10 minutes total) look at them.

Residency Fee: Waived for this Residency (includes daily meals and housing; does not include artist materials or transportation.)

For details, please visit the master artist details page.

Application fee: $25 

Click here to Apply!

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