SPACE on Ryder Farm Unveils Its 2020 Season, Truncated Due to the COVID-19 Crisis | Playbill

Industry News SPACE on Ryder Farm Unveils Its 2020 Season, Truncated Due to the COVID-19 Crisis
Composer Heather Christian is one of this year's five Working Farm residents who will create work on the farm in September.
Heather Christian
Heather Christian Marc Bovino and Joe Curnutte

SPACE on Ryder Farm will welcome a new cohort of resident artists to its organic farm and centuries-old family homestead in Putnam County beginning in August. The 2020 season will look differently from SPACE's past nine years due to the upheaval of COVID-19, with the number of residency weeks reduced from 22 to 10, and the number of residents on the farm at one time cut in half.

Among this year's residents are returning artists Nissy Aya, Nadia Bowers, Daniel K. Isaac, Obehi Janice, and Michael Thurber. Composer and songwriter Thurber was also named the second recipient of the Bryan Gallace/Posthumous Prodigy Productions Fellowship, which comes with a gift of $30,000 and will help support the making of an album and live concert film.

Shayan Lotfi
Shayan Lotfi

SPACE's 2020 Working Farm, the organization's resident writers' group for playwrights, lyricists, and composers, is made up of Heather Christian (Oratorio for Living Things), Isaac Gomez (the way she spoke), Shayan Lotfi (Park-e Laleh), Caroline McGraw (Ultimate Beauty Bible), and Zarina Shea (Just up the road, slightly). Typically a non-consecutive five-week residency, this year's Working Farm cohort will spend five consecutive weeks on the farm in September.


The final pieces of SPACE’s reconfigured 2020 residency programming are Institutional Residencies. This year, the organization specifically sought to support institutions with whom SPACE had long-standing relationships and who were particularly hard hit by the pandemic. These companies are New Georges, Playwrights Horizons, Roundabout Theatre Company, and Soho Rep.

“We know what you may be thinking,” shares Co-Founder and Executive Director Emily Simoness. “How can SPACE move forward in the face of such uncertainty and with so many unknowns? What we know to be true is how hard the artist community has been hit by this pandemic and how deeply we all need to be uplifted. SPACE similarly has the privilege to operate on a small, localized level, and to pivot our programming to meet the needs of the current moment. So, with this in mind, and with the possibility of future changes to come, we are responsibly forging ahead, as we can, to celebrate, support and provide time and space to ten incredible artists and four vital institutions during this unprecedented time.”

To honor the work of the over 200 applicants who were named as finalists in 2020 from a pool of over 1,300 applications, SPACE has made the decision to offer a number of those finalists a deferred residency in 2021. These residents will be announced and celebrated next year.

For a full list of the 2020 residents and finalists, visit

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