The BCA Playwright Residency fills the dire need for a residency that holistically supports playwrights’ entire creative process from inception to reading.


Important Dates:

Application due by: September 11, 2022

Notification on or by: September 23, 2022


BOSTON, MA — Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) is thrilled to announce the new BCA Playwright Residency. This year-long residency has been designed to support three rising Boston-based playwrights in the creation of new work, while protecting the creative control and ownership of their innovative work. The BCA Playwright Residency will provide access to office, rehearsal, and performance space, marketing support, professional mentorship, community partnerships, and workshops.


The BCA Playwright residency helps further the playwrights’ creative process by catering support and direction to each artists’ needs. It is a process-based residency where the playwright can focus on a new work–defined at BCA as something that does not exist or is an idea that needs cultivating. 

Specifically, playwrights will  have their own station in a shared office space with their fellow playwright residents. Each resident will have access to five days in the Black Box Theatre or Martin Hall in the Calderwood Pavilion, for a mid-year workshop of the play. Playwrights will have a budget to cast actors and dramaturgs; and the option to seek industry feedback. To conclude the residency, there will be a final staged reading in the Plaza Theatre.

Like other residency programs at BCA, the BCA Playwright Residency aims to gather a diverse and inclusive community of artists for the purpose of supporting innovative work across disciplines, connecting artists with peers and resources, and providing a vibrant platform for new art in Boston. Each application will be evaluated based on the artist's demonstration of experimentation, responsiveness, balance, community engagement, and potential impact.

Fernadina Chan and Jessi Stegall, Latest Boston Dancemakers Residents, Creating New Dance Pieces Exploring Concepts Of Legacy And Race

New works build on Michael Alfano’s sculpture “Cubed” and theremin virtuosa Clara Rockmore’s music

MA (August 4, 2022) – We are delighted to announce that Fernadina Chan and Jessi Stegall are the new 2022-2023 Boston Dancemakers Residents at Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) and the Boston Dance Alliance (BDA).

Jessi Stegall and Fernadina Chan will both develop work during their year-long residencies at BCA inspired by, and in deep conversation with, other two artists who inspire each of them.

Left: Fernadina Chan (photo: Phyllis Bretholtz) / Right: Jessi Stegall (photo: Lo Kuehmeier)

In Jessi Stegall’s case the theremin virtuosa Clara Rockmore is the inspiration behind

Stegall’s upcoming piece “The Theremin Vignettes.” Stegall notes that her own work is,

“rooted deeply in odes — responding to, building, and furthering the legacy of worlds

crafted by others,” which in this case is the extraordinary but under-appreciated work of

Rockmore. For Fernadina Chan, Michael Alfano’s interactive sculpture “Cubed” is the

starting point for Continuum Dance Project’s new work that will develop into an

exploration of race and gender from a female perspective, contrasting and harmonizing

with Alfano’s sculptural intention.

About Fernadina Chan and project:

Accomplished educator and choreographer Fernadina Chan is the founding artistic dean

and former chair of Boston Arts Academy (BAA). Fernadina Chan founded Continuum

Dance Project (CDP) — together with her collaborator and co-director Adriane Brayton

— as a means to create site-specific, cross-disciplinary collaborative work that reflects

the backgrounds of their collaborating artists.

In a new evening-length work CDP will explore the multi-layered connection with

Michael Alfano’s interactive sculpture “Cubed.” Built like a jigsaw puzzle, “Cubed”

consists of nine moveable pieces. Each piece is pigmented with a different skin tone,

representing individual diversity within a united community. Fitted together they form a

four-foot by four-foot face, depicting a male image on one side and an inverted female

on the other.

This new cross-disciplinary dance will challenge audiences to consider the nuances of

race and the label of gender; while empowering them to interact with, touch, and take

ownership of the work. This project will feature four diverse female dancers, with family

backgrounds from The Dominican Republic, Haiti, South Korea, The U.S. Virgin Islands,

and United States. Along with female choreographers Adriane Brayton and Fernadina

Chan, this creative team will explore race and gender from a female perspective,

contrasting and harmonizing with the sculptor’s intention.

About Jessi Stegall and project:

Jessi Stegall is a dance-theatre artist, applied ethicist, and arts educator based in Boston.

Jessi currently approaches performance as an act of ode: expressing curiosity and

homage toward worlds built by others. She has been an artist-in-residence at the

Harvard ArtLab, National Parks Service, Windhover Performing Arts Center, and Jacob’s

Pillow Dance Festival, and was recently featured as one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to

Watch” (2022) alongside her close collaborator, Ilya Vidrin.

Jessi Stegall’s upcoming work “The Theremin Vignettes” is an evening-length dance

production made up of a series of choreographic vignettes within the musical world of

thereminist Clara Rockmore. Despite being credited as the best theremin player to have

ever lived, Rockmore remains under-recognized and overlooked for her immense

contributions initiating the relationship between electronic interface and classical music.

“The Theremin Vignettes” is, first and foremost, an ode to Clara: a Jewish woman,

virtuosa and pioneer of electronic music, strong-willed and charismatic yet barely 5 feet


More broadly, this piece will pay homage to what is simultaneously so human in spirit,

yet not human in form: the musical theremin. The only instrument to be played without

physical contact, the theremin produces a warbly and eerie tone made from thin air,

often associated with science fiction films. Rockmore’s theremin arrangements of

classical works elevated the instrument above novelty status, bringing precision and

composition to an otherwise seemingly random and crude instrument. It has been said

that Clara aimed to “bestow the non-human [theremin] a soul.” In an age where the

relationship between humans and machines is becoming increasingly more intimate, her

goal has more meaning now than ever. By choreographically illuminating Rockmore’s

unique use of the theremin, “The Theremin Vignettes” aims to choreographically

highlight the music’s soulful charm through idiosyncratic narratives of departure, grief,

and remembrance.

More Artists’ Quotes:

Fernadina Chan, Continuum Dance Project (CDP):

“We are so excited to have Boston Center for the Arts be our “home” for inspiration and

creation in 2023. Through our Dancemakers Residency, we look forward to continuing

the development of ideas generated during our initial exploration of Michael Alfano’s

“Cubed” at our AiR Residency in 2022. The accessibility of the sculpture throughout our

creation period will be vital to the creative team. During the residency we will focus on

experimentation; ideation; and shaping the full-length work as an interdisciplinary team.

We will initially share the work through informal showings with invited audiences to test

the interactive and participatory elements we will be crafting.”

Jessi Stegall:

“I am extremely excited to spend this year deepening my practice of ode-making with an

interdisciplinary team. With the support of the Dancemakers Residency, I am looking

forward to experimenting, prototyping, and reflecting — not only in building

choreography, but all the moving parts of developing a performance production.”

Andrea Blesso, Director of Dance & Interdisciplinary Arts, Boston Center for the Arts:

“Boston Center for the Arts and Boston Dance Alliance are delighted to welcome two

extraordinary dancemaker talents in Fernadina Chan and Jessi Stegall as this year’s

Boston Dancemakers Residents. Together with their equally talented collaborators, they

will each create what promises to be thought-provoking and ground-breaking pieces

that will move us all. I am eager to deepen our partnership with these visionaries as they

both return to BCA in their new roles as our Dancemaker Residents.”

Debra Cash, Executive Director of Boston Dance Alliance:

“Boston Dance Alliance’s partnership with BCA to create the most comprehensive dance

residency in Boston continues again this year with two extraordinary dancemakers

pushing the boundaries of their discipline. We are thrilled by the wonderful selection of

Fernadina Chan and Jessi Stegall and can’t wait to see the work that emerges!”

About The Boston Dancemakers Residency:

The Boston Dancemakers Residency supports Boston-area dance artists who are striving

to develop, adapt or reinvent their creative process. Produced through a partnership

between Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) and Boston Dance Alliance (BDA), the

residency serves as a laboratory for ideas that are in the exploratory phase and need

dedicated time and space to be fully realized.

Designed to promote artistic growth and the development of original ensemble work,

dancemakers will be offered support for research, development, rehearsal, financial,

and production phases of their project. Resources include a regional three-day retreat,

six weeks of intensive studio time, discounted rehearsal space, dancemaker and

collaborator stipends, and rehearsal pay for up to six dancers.

The residency must be used to develop new work and the majority of rehearsal time

should be dedicated to the proposed project. BCA and BDA encourage dancemakers to

take risks, invest time and focus in working with their dancers, build the skills to develop

and advance original ensemble work, and dive deeply into their creative process.

The Boston Dancemakers Residency is made possible with support in part from the Aliad

Fund at The Boston Foundation.

About Boston Center for the Arts:

Boston Center for the Arts (BCA) is the nexus of the arts in Boston, fostering the

development of contemporary visual and performing arts and convening artists and

audiences to create, explore and celebrate all creative disciplines. An integral part of the

cultural fabric of the City of Boston, Boston Center for the Arts utilizes its historic

campus in the vibrant South End to present world-class exhibitions and performances,

provide affordable work space, engage cultural consumers throughout the region, and

nurture artists with the resources to take risks and develop new art works.

About Boston Dance Alliance:

Boston Dance Alliance (BDA) builds capacity for dance by identifying and creating shared

resources, information, and productive partnerships to help dance flourish across the

Boston metropolitan area and New England region. BDA is an independent service

organization representing dancers, choreographers, teachers, presenters, allied arts and

cultural professionals, arts journalists and scholars, wellness and health providers, and

dance enthusiasts brought together across dance genres and geographies. BDA strives

to increase cultural equity and access to dance for diverse communities, build dance

audiences, and promote quality and sustainability.

Photography and more information:

● Boston Dancemakers Residency on the BCA website

● Fernadina Chan’s Dancemakers Residency page on the BCA website

● Jessi Stegall’s Dancemakers Residency page on the BCA website

● The BCA website

● The BDA website