New Paradise Laboratories

About New Paradise Laboratories

New Paradise Laboratories is an experimental performance ensemble that explores radical means of expression to bend and reshape conventional ideas of theatre. We imagine theatre as visionary experience. We use a variety of creative strategies including company-devising techniques, cross-media design elements, and site-specific installation. Our pieces value sudden inspiration, paradigm shifts, and shocks to the system. The collaborative environment of our working process influences the content of our pieces. We support an artist-as-entrepreneur model in our organizational structure.

The artists we work with over time tend to be multidisciplinary in their interests: designers, writers, and producers, as well as actors. These ideas are central to our outreach and educational initiatives. 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, Kate Czajkowski 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 nearly every year since its founding. Recent and past works include O Monsters (2016), The Adults (2014), 27 (2012), Extremely Public Displays of Privacy (2011), 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, remounted in 2006 and premiered in Philadelphia in 2008. FREEDOM CLUB (2010) was created through a merging of NPL with The Riot Group (with playwright Adriano Shaplin). 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 the Artistic Director and Managing Director KC Chun-Manning, a part time office assistant, part time Production Manager, and a number of consultants and contractors. The board of directors meets 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 are also advancing with guerilla marketing techniques including electronic graffiti, contests, 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 (, 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.

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Philadelphia, PA 19122

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