DATE: July 7, 2017
PR CONTACT: Michael Glicksman,
PR CONTACT PHONE: 978-654-7555
BOX OFFICE: 978-654-4678


Top artists from across the nation working with Lowell area youth July 10 – August 4

Lowell, MA – Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) announces a world-class lineup of teaching artists for 2017-18 Young Company, the one-of-a-kind youth program that has kids tell their own stories through theatre and stay connected with MRT all year long.

All of the participating teaching artists’ own work will be seen in the 2017-18 Season, and the artists will continue working directly with students in workshops throughout the season.

The artists include Vichet Chum, the New York-based Cambodian-American writer/actor/director who will be performing his own stage memoir “KNYUM” in January 2018; actors Veronika Duerr and John Gregorio, who both performed in MRT’s 2016 hits “Home of the Brave” and “Going to See the Kid”; Cambridge-based and nationally produced playwright Lila Rose Kaplan, who penned shows for MRT’s 2015-16 and 2017-18 Seasons and received MRT’s Artistic Achievement Award this past spring; Nathan Keepers, co-Artistic Director of Minneapolis’s The Moving Company, who has taught at prestigious institutions nationwide and will be directing 2018’s “Lost Laughs: The Slapstick Tragedy of Fatty Arbuckle”; and KJ Sanchez, director of next season’s “KNYUM” as well as CEO of American Records, the theatre company dedicated to making theatre that chronicles our time.
The teaching artists will work directly with students during each 2-week summer session in areas from physical comedy to documentary playmaking. Director of Education Amy Menkin will guide the students in the creation of their own original theatre pieces, incorporating the work done in each of the workshops.

“We’re over to moon to have such a talented bunch of artists—who are equally talented as teachers—working in our youth program” says MRT’s Artistic Director Sean Daniels. “It’s essential that as we bring the best artists to Lowell, we extend their impact to the kids and teens who live here.”

More About The Artists

Vichet Chum is an actor, writer, director & theater maker in NYC. Regionally, he's worked at Trinity Repertory Company, Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Guthrie Theater, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, the Huntington Theatre Company, and New Harmony Theatre. In NYC, he's worked at the Cherry Lane Theater, Pan Asian Repertory Theatre, the Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row, Project Y Theatre, Woodshed Collective, Slant Theatre Project and the Incubator Arts Project. He's also a co-founder and resident member of the arts company The Group Lab ( He is a proud graduate of the University of Evansville (BFA) and the Brown University/Trinity Repertory Company (MFA). In January 2018, his show KNYUM will have its world premiere at Merrimack Repertory Theatre... and he couldn't be more thrilled!

Veronika Duerr MRT: “Going to See the Kid” (Ellis), “45 Plays for 45 Presidents,” “Home of the Brave” (Marianne), “It’s A Wonderful Life” (Lana Sherwood). Regional: “Tall Girls” (World Premiere), “Spoon Lake Blues” (World Premiere), Alliance Theatre; “Bob: A Life in Five Acts,” Geva Theatre; “Romeo and Juliet” (Juliet), “As You Like It” (Rosalind), “Twelfth Night” (Viola), Atlanta Shakespeare Company. Education: BFA, Savannah College of Art and Design. Other: 2015 Alliance Theatre Artistic Fellow; Co-founder of The Weird Sisters Theatre Project, a collective of female artists in Atlanta.

John Gregorio MRT: “Going to See the Kid” (David), “Home of the Brave” (Adrian). Off-Broadway: “Around the World in 80 Days” (Passepartout), The New Theatre @ 45th St; “Silent Laughter” (Lionel Drippinwithit), The Lamb’s Theatre; “The Nuclear Family” (founder/performer), The Belt Theatre; “Clinton the Musical” (Dick Morris), NY Music Theatre Festival. Regional: “The Royale” (Max), Milwaukee Repertory; Mary Zimmerman’s “Treasure Island” (Ben Gunn), Berkeley Rep; “Little Shop of Horrors” (Orin the Dentist), “The 39 Steps” (Richard Hannay), Geva Theatre Center; “A Christmas Carol” (Fred/Fezziwig), Actors Theatre of Louisville; “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” (Hysterium), North Shore Music Theatre; “The Legend of Pecos Bill” (Ace High), Alliance Theatre; “The Mystery of Irma Vep” (Edgar/Jane/Irma), Dad’s Garage Theatre Company. Television: “The Extended Family,” Sundance Channel; “Good Eats,” Food Network; “Smoking Gun T.V.,” Court TV. Other: John is a founding member of Dad’s Garage Theatre Company (Atlanta) and the Nuclear Family (New York) with whom he teaches and performs improvisation around the country. 

Lila Rose Kaplan writes heartfelt comedies, bittersweet dramas, and musicals for young people. Her plays include “Home of the Brave,” “Jesus Girls,” “The Magicians Daughter,” “1 2 3 – a play about abandonment and ballroom dancing,” “We All Fall Down,” “Wildflower,” “Bureau of Missing Persons,” and “Biography of a Constellation.” Her musicals for young people include: “The Light Princess,” “The Pirate Princess,” and “The Magic Fish.” Productions include: A.R.T., South Coast Rep, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, New Victory Theatre, Second Stage, San Francisco Playhouse, Neighborhood Productions, Know Theatre, and Perishable Theatre. Development includes: Huntington Theatre, Arena Stage, Kennedy Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Theatreworks, PlayPenn, and The Lark. Awards: National Science Award in Playwriting and The International Women’s Playwriting Award. Fellowships include: Huntington Playwriting Fellowship, Playwrights’ Realm Writing Fellow, Old Vic/New Voices Exchange, and the Shank Fellowship. Residencies include: New Rep Next Voices, Harvard Business School, and the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics. BA with Honors: Brown University. MFA in Playwriting: UC San Diego. Lila Rose currently lives in Cambridge with her marine biologist and her curious daughter.

Lila Rose Kaplan is the recipient of MRT’s 2017 Artistic Achievement Award.

Nathan Keepers is Co-Artistic Director of The Moving Company in Minneapolis. Since 2009 MoCo has been creating original creations or adaptations including: “Come Hell and High Water,” “Out of the Pan Into the Fire,” “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” “Liberty Falls 54321,” “Every Sentence Is For The Birds,” and most recently “Refugia” in association with The Guthrie Theater. Nathan spent 11 seasons with Theatre de la Jeune Lune. In the Twin Cities Nathan has performed at The Jungle Theater, Ten Thousand Things, Sod House Theatre and CTC. Nationally, Nathan works regularly, as an actor and director, with Actors Theatre of Louisville and has traveled to Berkeley Rep, American Repertory Theatre, The Alley Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, The Shakespeare Theatre (DC), The Folger Theatre. Nathan studied at The Burlesk Center with Pierre Byland in Switzerland, and Ecole Philippe Gaulier. As a teacher he has taught extensive workshops through The Moving Company and Theatre de la Jeune Lune. In addition, he has taught master classes and been a teaching artist both in Minneapolis and around the country at various institutions including The University of Texas, Austin, The University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College, Augsburg College, NYU, UCSD/La Jolla Playhouse, Actors Theatre of Louisville, and Epic Theatre Ensemble (nyc).

KJ Sanchez is the founder and CEO of American Records, dedicated to making theater that chronicles our time, theater that serves as a bridge between people and is also the Head of Directing in the MFA program at UT, Austin.  Directing credits: (select list) “ReEntry” at Urban Stages and “Unity 1918” by Kevin Kerr at the Gene Frankel Theater (Off-Broadway), The world premiere of Kristoffer Diaz’s “The Upstairs Concierge” at The Goodman, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” at Actors Theatre of Louisville, “Venus in Fur,” Laura Eason’s “Sex With Strangers” and Martin Zimmerman’s “Seven Spots on the Sun” (LCT Award, Best Direction) at Cincinnati Playhouse, “Harvey,” “Noises Off” and “The Diary of Anne Frank” at Milwaukee Rep, and two plays by Quiara Hudes: “Water by the Spoonful” at Studio Theatre (DC) and “26 Miles” at Round House Theatre. “ReEntry,” which Sanchez co-wrote, directed and produced has toured extensively throughout the US and internationally and has also been produced at over 50 military bases and hospitals. As playwright, KJ’s been produced at (select list) Berkeley Rep, Playmakers Rep, Asolo Rep, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Two River Theater Company, Baltimore’s Center Stage, Frontera Rep, Round House, Cornerstone Theater Company and Off-Broadway at Urban Stages and Here Arts. Her plays are published by Playscripts. As an actor KJ performed across the country including the Brooklyn Academy of Music and internationally including the Toga-Mura Festival in Japan and the IberoAmericano Festival in Bogota, Columbia. As an educator she has taught at The University of Washington, The University of British Columbia, Bard College and Juniata College (select list). KJ is a Fox Fellow, Douglass Wallop Fellow, and a recipient of the 2014 Rella Lossy Playwright Award. She is an Associate Artist with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and The Civilians as well as a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. KJ is a 9/11 World Trade Center First Responder (American Red Cross).

When and Where
MRT’s Young Company’s two summer sessions will take place July 10 – 21 (for middle school students entering grades 6-8) and July 24 – August 4 (for high school students entering grades 9-12).
Showcases of the students’ work on the MRT stage will be July 21 (middle school) and August 4 (high school), each at 2:00 pm.

More information is available at