Program History/Artist Alumni
Mabou Mines’ residency program was born in the late 1970s in a basement on St. Mark’s Place.  Re.Cher.Chez, as the program was then known, began as free weekly classes run by Ruth Maleczech, Lee Breuer and Bill Raymond.  It was a true theater laboratory, fully dedicated to experiments with new theatrical ideas.  “We taught a no-man’s land between experimental theater and performance art,” remembers Lee Breuer.  “We were open 24 hours.  We had an amp, a little playback deck, and a few lights.  Amazing people came through the doors: Anna Deveare Smith, Oskar Eustis, Dan Hurlin.”  Liza Lorwin, who later became an artistic collaborator on many Mabou Mines projects, joined as Executive Director during this time.

The program came to an end in the mid-80s, but was reborn in 1991 in Mabou Mines’ studio, at The 122 Community Center, ToRoNaDa. The name may be understood as Maleczech’s pidgin shorthand for “no bull”; its capitalized consonants acknowledge the significant contributions of administrator Tony Vasconcelos, actors Ron Vawter, David Warrilow and visual artist Nancy Graves. The residency program was renamed Mabou Mines/Suite, to capture the notion of one thing following another with purpose.

It is worth noting that the first artist appointed to Mabou Mines/Suite is now Director of the MFA program in Theatre Arts at Towson University in Baltimore. The second appointee, playwright Lynn Nottage, was recently granted both a MacArthur Award and the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.  Our alumnae also include the playwrights: Tanya Barfield, CJ Hopkins, Carsen Kreitzer and Adam Rapp; Renee Philippi, artistic director of the Concrete Temple Theater, and choreographer Dawn Saito.

“There’s certainly been no intention of handing down any kind of Mabou Mines aesthetic. We just look and critique,” insists Breuer. The company conscientiously matches mentor with artist(s) based on ideas and affinities evident in the work samples submitted. Says Sharon Fogarty, “It’s basically a red envelope with some respect in it.


Marni Rice is a chanteuse, theater artist and accordionist whose repertoire embraces vintage French chansons, European art songs from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, and her own original music.  Songs of an Immigrant: Tales from Paris is an autobiographical work based on her years in Paris and the so-called “Chansons Réalistes” of the 1930s associated with Piaf, Fréhel and Damia. It is a merger of tragic songs, comic stories and her New York style of performance. She will be at the Tokyo and Kyoto Fringe Festivals in spring 2009. She will premiere a French language adaptation at the Festival D'Avignon in summer 2009.

Anonymous Ensemble is a Brooklyn-based troupe of theatre artists, musicians, dancers and technicians. AnEn cultivates a rock show dynamic between performers and audience, using elements of rock and electronica, live video manipulation, web based media, dance, circus and drama. Focusing on the often violent over-sexualization of women in wartime, Troop Troupe is a satiric exploration of the dynamics of performance, military culture and gender and takes its form from USO shows.

Katt Lissard is a writer, playwright, teacher and the artistic director of the Winter/Summer Institute. A one-woman show performed by six actors, Outpost is presented as an interrupted letter home from Lesotho in southern Africa, one of the planet’s remaining “unique and distant” places, with appearances by the U.S. Ambassador, the Unabomber and the Venus Hottentot.

Mariana Carreño King is a freelance writer and playwright, actress, director and translator. Her play, Ofelia’s Lovers, takes place in Lisbon as Ofelia Queiroz courts the great 20th century Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa in the shadow of his many celebrated sub-personalities.