New Paradise Laboratories (NPL) was founded in 1996 by Whit MacLaughlin and includes founding company members McKenna Kerrigan, Jeb Kreager, Mary McCool, Lee Etzold, Aaron Mumaw, Jorge Cousineau (Media Designer) and Associate Artistic Director Matt Saunders; as well as an ensemble of collaborators including Kevin Meehan, Julia Frey, Emilie Krause, Matteo Scammell, and Sam Tower. NPL has created at least one, wholly original performance piece each year since its founding. NPL’s work has been presented at the Ontological Theatre and PS 122 in NYC, at the Walker Art Center and Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, the Princeton Atelier, at the Humana Festival of New American Plays, as well as at residencies in a variety of colleges and universities across the country. NPL has produced work at the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival (now FringeArts) nearly every year since its founding. Past works include The Adults (2014), Cold Empty Terrible (created in residence at University of Washington 2014), 27 (originally produced in 2012, remounted in 2014), Extremely Public Displays of Privacy (2011), MORT (created in residence at University of the Arts 2010), FREEDOM CLUB (created through a merging of NPL with The Riot Group,with playwright Adriano Shaplin, 2010), FATEBOOK (2009), BATCH (originally commissioned by the Humana Festival of New American Plays, 2007), Planetary Enzyme Blues (2005), Don Juan in Nirvana (2004), Rrose Selavy Takes a Lover in Philadelphia (2003), This Mansion is a Hole (2001), the Obie Award-winning The Fab 4 Reach the Pearly Gates (2000), Stupor (1999), and Gold Russian Finger Love (1998). PROM, a work of fake anthropology for young adults, premiered at The Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis in 2004, was remounted in 2006, premiered in Philadelphia in 2008, and was remounted again in 2012 with University of North Carolina Wilmington. FATEBOOK and Extremely Public Displays of Privacy are two works in a series merging live and online performance.
NPL has a full time staff consisting of Artistic Director Whit MacLaughlin, Managing Director KC Chun-Manning, and Associate Producer Sam Tower, as well as a number of part-time and seasonal consultants and contractors. The board of directors meets four to six times per year and is made up of leaders from the Philadelphia business and academic community. NPL is an experimental research operation that is focused on innovation and risk-taking ventures. This is a part of the service offered to the public and to the theatre community at large. NPL has a core value of education and the sharing of the fruits of our experiments, and regularly conducts workshops and residencies to teach and train young artists and members of the public about our devised work techniques and to identify and groom future company members and creators. We reach out to our constituency with standard marketing tools: print features, radio spots, an interactive web site, a cultivated email list, and direct mail. We also engage in guerilla marketing techniques including absurd public appearances, electronic graffiti, online campaigns, and para-theatrical events.
NPL seeks to stimulate the creative and intellectual lives of its audience by deploying the tools and techniques of Internet connectivity in a profound new way. We are building an online performance platform, FRAME (http://newparadiselaboratories.org), which uses fiction to encourage creative interaction with audiences in a novel performance and exhibition space. This platform allows us to collaborate with audiences and artists, blending the two as participants in our work.