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Guest Artist Residency Program

October 07, 2016

Department of Theatre and The Center for Entrepreneurship Announce

2016-17 Guest Artist Residency Program

January 9th - 22nd, 2017


The Department of Theatre is proud to announce that we will be hosting theatre artists Kristina Wong and Emily Mendelsohn as Guest Artists for our 2016-17 Residency Program. This two-week program invites a Guest Artist with significant standing in our field to come to campus to work with students on a new work of theatre. The Residency is composed of two phases: a workshop phase where 10-15 students will work closely with an artist to develop new work, and a presentation phase which will include a workshop showing of the new work, panel discussions, and a Master Class offered to the wider Lewis & Clark Community.


A Brief Overview of the Workshop

Kristina Wong in collaboration with Emily Mendelsohn, will work on developing a new musical entitled, Ben and Jerry’s in China (BJ’s in China). This original musical will be researched, developed and written over the next three years in both Vermont and China and explores the intersection of culture in a small town in Vermont from the perspective of a third generation Chinese-American artist. The piece has already been developed through a residency at Dartmouth sponsored by New York Theatre Workshop and the artist has plans to travel to Guang Zhou, China, in the coming year. 


Kristina says of the piece, “I’m interested in the intersections between Vermont and China as they reveal ideas about nostalgia, homeland, and the notion of “carrying on of culture.”  As a third generation Chinese American, I often agonize about what “culture” I have left to pass on to my hypothetical children, how the unique markers of my cultural history have been absorbed and obliterated by American assimilation and corporate influence.  And I often wonder what non-white cultural markers, language and traditions will survive in America 200 years from now.”


Students will engage in writing and performance as well as supporting the development of this original musical with one of the most provocative and ground breaking artists of her generation.


About Kristina Wong

Kristina Wong was recently featured in the New York Times’ Off Color series “highlighting artists of color who use humor to make smart social statements about the sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious ways that race plays out in America today.” She is a performance artist, comedian and writer who has created five solo shows and one ensemble play that have toured throughout the United States and UK.  Her most notable touring show– “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” looked at the high rates of depression and suicide among Asian American women and toured to over 40 venues since 2006. It’s now a broadcast quality film distributed by documentary juggernaut, Cinema Libre Studios. (More at  She’s been a commentator for American Public Media’s Marketplace, PBS, Jezebel, xoJane, Playgirl Magazine, Huffington Post and a guest on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, FXX’s “Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell,” Al Jazeera’s “The Stream” and AM Tonight on Fusion TV.  Her work has been awarded with grants from Creative Capital, The Map Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation, the Durfee Foundation, National Performance Network, five Artist-in-Residence grants from the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, and a residency from the MacDowell Colony.  On television, she’s been on General Hospital, Nickelodeon’s “Nicky Ricky Dicky and Dawn,” and Myx TV’s “I’m Asian American and Want Reparations for Yellow Fever.” Her newest solo show “The Wong Street Journal” navigates privilege and economic disparity and premieres in June 2015.  She spent a month in Northern Uganda researching that show and recording “Mzungu Price” a rap album with local rappers. She has taught at Cal Arts in the MFA Creative Writing Program and twice given the commencement speech at UCLA, her alma mater.


About Emily Mendelsohn

Emily Mendelsohn is a director who uses performance and intentional community building practices to interrogate identity and faith in a transnational context. Emily directs an East African/US cultural exchange lab that has recently taken on the name Waypoints Ensemble. We are a collective of US/East African artists exploring joint aesthetic rooted in oral storytelling and contemporary ritual. In our dialogical processes and layered visual dramaturgies, Waypoints interrupts received notions of “Africa” and the “West” to imagine and rehearse models of global interdependence. Waypoints staged Deborah Asiimwe’s Cooking Oil through residencies in Kigali (Rwanda), Kampala (Uganda), and Los Angeles where we were co-produced by Los Angeles Performance Practice and Center for New Performance. We staged Erik Ehn’s Maria Kizito through a reading at Uganda’s National Theatre, an in-process performance at La MaMa NYC (as part of Ehn’s 17 play cycle Soulographie: Our Genocides), and a full production in New Orleans, partnering with ArtSpot Productions. Waypoints’ work has been supported by Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs, US Embassy in Uganda, Brown University, NACL’S Deep Space Residency, Durfee, Goethe Institute Uganda, Puffin Foundation, Alternate Roots, and Project Troubador. We are: Kagasuru Allen, Tebandeke Esther, Loren Fenton, Emily Mendelsohn, and Muwangala Tonny. Emily’s other directing credits include the American premiere of Kristina Wong’s Wong Street Journal (Flynn Center, Z Space Below/Circuit Network, REDCAT, Miami Light), Virginia Grise’s Your Healing is Killing Me (MECA), Katori Hall’s Children of Killers (Castillo Theater), and Elizabeth Spackman’s sky like sky (National Arts Festival, South Africa). She has directed workshops and readings at Boom Arts, New Dramatists, St Louis Repertory Theatre, NYTW Dartmouth Residency, Playwrights Center (MN), Cornell University, Arts Printing House (Lithuania), and others. She was a five year participant in Erik Ehn’s More Life exchange in Rwanda and Uganda, and was an associate producer of international festival Centre x Centre in Kigali, Rwanda 2010. With Adolfo Madera and Sage Lewis, she currently co-curates Border Labs/Laboratorios Fronterizos, a microfestival fostering connections between artists in Tijuana and Los Angeles. Emily was recipient of a TCG Global Connections In the Lab program, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Uganda. She holds an MFA in directing from CalArts.