Announcing the 2024 Documentation and Storytelling Fund Awards

June 24, 2024  •  12 minute read

Annie Hollowell and Bill Hollowell sitting under the main pavilion at Foxfire Ranch (2023). Photo Credit by Jai Williams.

The National Performance Network (NPN) is awarding over $63,000 to 21 Documentation & Storytelling projects. NPN’s Documentation & Storytelling Fund aims to create pathways for artists’ career advancement and to support their ability to document, promote, and share their work, ideas, and selves.

Celebrating the richness of shared human experience, these works serve as powerful vessels that bridge gaps and challenge preconceptions. From a collection of work that spans decades of curation to live performances fusing art and expression with modern technology, this year’s fund recipients are creating captivating and inspiring works that showcase the vibrant diversity of our community.   

“With the support of the NPN Documentation & Storytelling Fund, my collaborators and I were able to place the archival process as a central part of the work of radical embodiment, rather than an afterthought, for it places equal value on generative process (not just performance), and ensures that the dialogues, experiences, lessons, and tools of the work live beyond its insular setting,” says Marina Magalhães, NPN 2022 Documentation & Storytelling Fund recipient.

2024’s selected projects will take place in cities across the country, as well as internationally, with artists telling their stories in Chicago, Austin, and NPN’s local New Orleans community.

The Documentation & Storytelling Fund is made possible with support from the Doris Duke Foundation.

2024 Documentation and Storytelling Fund Recipients

AB Contemporary Dance

Raleigh, NC

Quare Dance & Other Stories

Quare Dance & Other Stories is an intimate exploration of Black queer identity and belonging that offers audiences a powerful reimagining of classical ballet. This evening-length work combines movement, video, text, and adornment to explore the intersections of race, gender, and sexuality. Showcasing the transcendent power of unapologetic embodiment and self-acceptance, Quare Dance enacts a new paradigm rooted in radical joy and possibility. Documentation & Storytelling Funds will be used to capture video of the creation process, high-quality photos for promotional purposes, and build out as a digital archive for process footage, oral histories, artist profiles, and marketing and promotional collateral.

Two brown-skinned dancers are pictured against a black backdrop. The dancer on the far left background stands looking down, dressed in a close-fitting brown tank top, brown biker shorts, and flesh-tone ballet shoes. The dancer on the right in the foreground sits on the floor supported by their left arm, looking down, face covered by short hair, bare-chested, wearing brown pants and flesh-tone ballet slippers.
AB Contemporary Dance at Queering Dance Festival in Berkeley, CA. Kiara Felder in the background, William B. Fowler, Jr, in the foreground (2023). Photo by Robbie Sweeny.

Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson

San Antonio, TX

The Seasoned Woman

The Seasoned Woman is a collaboration between poet and vocalist Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson and Syrian opera singer Lubana Al Quntar that celebrates the beauty, strength, resiliency, and wisdom of womanhood across time and cultures. This collaboration marries poetry, music, and soaring vocals of reimagined Jazz standards through the cultural and musical influences of the artists, including R&B, Hip-Hop, and Middle Eastern music. Support will enable documentation of live rehearsals and the live show depicting the dramatic and emotional landscape of The Seasoned Woman.

Two women sit on a modern-style gray velvet sofa in a lounge. Windows illuminates them from the left. There is green foliage on either side of the frame. On the left, Lubana has light skin and medium blonde shoulder-length wavy hair, wearing a sparkly black dress that is sleeveless and off the shoulder on the left side. On the right, Andrea has medium-dark skin and long black hair in twists with gold highlights, wearing a sparkly royal purple jumpsuit. Both women are slightly smirking at the camera and have a calm demeanor with their hands resting on their legs.
Lubana Al Quntar and Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson of The Seasoned Woman in Ybor City, Tampa, FL (2023). Photo by Gabrielle Vigueira.

Anna Martine Whitehead

Chicago, IL

Archiving FORCE! an opera in three acts

FORCE! an opera in three acts follows a group of Black women and femmes as they wait to enter a prison and escape a memory-erasing mold. The work shares the story of their interior lives and shared fantasies blooming in the shadows of the prison. This archiving project will begin to collect writing (including the libretto, critical essays, and interviews), audio, video, collages, maps, and ephemera into a volume that can give context and further expansion to the work beyond the live performance.

A light-skinned curly-haired haired femme in denim fringe is hoisted up onto the shoulders of another Black femme by two other Black femme performers -- one in a du-rag, one with her hair out in a soft afro. A row of pink lights shine on their faces, and they are backlit in an otherwise dark scene.
Anna Martine Whitehead, Jenn Freeman, Zachary Nicol, and Rahila Coats in FORCE! an opera in three acts at the MCA Chicago (2024). Photo by Shelby Ragsdale.

Boni B. Alvarez

Los Angeles, CA

MIX-MIX: The Filipino Adventurers of a German Jewish Boy

MIX-MIX: The Filipino Adventures of a German Jewish Boy is an epic WWII play inspired by the true-life experiences of Ralph J. Preiss. MIX-MIX tells the coming-of-age of 13-year-old Rudy Preissman, who escapes Nazi Germany at the age of nine with his family, finding safety in the Philippines. Their tropical refuge is upended when Japan invades the islands. MIX-MIX takes place when the Priessmans and their Filipino friends hide in the heights and depths of sacred Mount Banahao. Funds will support the building of a website and social media presence to create future collaborations and opportunities.

A trio of actors with scripts in hand perform in a reading of MIX-MIX - a white man with glasses, a medium light-skinned Filipino man with glasses, and a petite medium-skinned Filipino woman stare up to the sky, with wide joyful smiles on their faces. They wear pants and shirts of whites, tans, and light browns.
Mark Jacobson, Alexis Camins, and Angelita Esperanza performing in a reading of MIX-MIX at Skirball Cultural Center (Los Angeles, 2022). Photo by Kelly Stuart.

BRKFST Dance Company

Saint Paul, MN


STORMCLUTTER is an exploration of relationships and ongoing efforts to resolve opposing states of interpersonal tension. Misunderstanding, compassion, resentment, egoism, love, loss, betrayal – moving through or attempting to compartmentalize complex dynamics between family and friends and the emotional baggage we collect over time becomes an overwhelming task that piles up. While maturation requires us to accept that which we cannot change, BRKFST members illustrate the efforts individuals may take when working to resolve the inner chaos that triggers feelings of dissociation, paralysis, and isolation. Funds will support the creation of documentation, promotional material and a press kit.

A black-and-white photo of five individuals in an indoor space with large windows. The person in the center, a woman with tattoos and short dark hair, stands still with one arm raised, looking directly at the camera. The other four individuals, two on each side, are in motion, creating a blurred effect. One person wears a hat, another has long hair, and the others appear to be moving their arms or bodies rapidly. The overall composition captures a dynamic and artistic moment with a mix of stillness and motion.
BRKFST Dance Company: Azaria Evans-Parham, Travis Johnson, Lisa Berman, Marie Thayer, Joseph Tran in “STORMCLUTTER,” Photo by Shane Wynn.

CARPA San Diego

San Diego, CA

La Carpa De La Frontera/ Las Voces

La Carpa De La Frontera/Las Voces is a mobile people’s theater, a modern vaudeville show that travels to any community that wants to experience the group’s comedy, drama, political satire, circus, music, grassroots ‘edutainment’. These cultural productions allow audiences to experience the ‘Rascuache’ (People’s Theater) formula that focuses on political and social artistic expression. The group works following the tradition of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s Chicano Mexicano revolutionary TEATRO movement and is rooted in the campesino and obrero (worker) tent shows (carpas) throughout Mexico in the early and mid-part of the 20th century. Support will continue the building of an archive, capturing the history of the Carpa movement.

A theatrical performance featuring six actors on stage. Five of the actors are seated in a row, each with unique props and costumes. One actor wears a paper bag labeled "CENNET" over their head, another is in a mobility scooter, and another has a black plastic bag on their head. They are all holding a thick yellow rope. A standing actor, wearing a red hat, blue shirt, patterned tie, and red trousers, appears to be leading or addressing the group. A female flight attendant is standing behind the seated actors wearing sunglasses, gloves, and a cap with patches. The backdrop includes musical instruments, suggesting a lively and dynamic scene.
Samuel Valdez, Vanessa Lopez (back), Olivia Ramos, Paul Araujo, Daniel Jacquez, and Memo Mendez. La Carpa De La Frontera/Las Voces at Su Teatro, Denver (2022).

Eiko Otake

New York, NY

I Invited Myself

Eiko Otake’s exhibition I Invited Myself features choreography of place, movements of both performer and viewers, and video and film works that Eiko has created since the 1980s. Working closely with Patrizia, Eiko will contextualize and share her media works with diverse audiences now and in the future. Weaving selected film/video works with footage of exhibition, dialogues, and on-site performances, this film shares Eiko’s artistic process and challenges while contemplating why and how she came to invite herself.

A light-skinned woman dancing towards a screen displaying a projected video of the woman’s live performance recorded earlier. She has both of her arms in the air and is carrying black cloth in both hands. She is wearing all white and is standing solo on the stage. The project's video displays her dancing similarly at Battery Park City.
Eiko Otake performing Remembering Slow Turn at Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia (2023).

jaamil olawale kosoko

New York, NY

The (chrysalis) Archives

The (chrysalis) Archives is a hybrid live performance installation, living archive, and virtual theatrical experience that uses original and found footage, expanded cinema techniques, and queer feminist archival strategies to create participatory traces of a Black past. It investigates the ghostly way in which Blackness travels through digital mediums and how it digitally haunts the material world as a means to examine concepts of metamorphosis, intergenerational knowledge, blood memory, and the complexities of living and dying while Black in America.

jaamil olawale kosoko's profile is in silhouette is set against a vibrant background of swirling, multicolored lights. An arm extends gracefully, creating a sense of movement and fluidity. The light, wispy patterns in the background blend shades of blue, purple, and orange, adding a dramatic and ethereal atmosphere to the scene.
Video still of “Syllabus for Black Love” (2022). Photo by jaamil olawale kosoko.

LEIMAY (Ximena Garnica & Shige Moriya)

New York, NY

A MEAL: Documentation and Preservation of A MEAL for the LEIMAY Archive

Funds will support LEIMAY to video document, photograph, and archive the development process and the upcoming premiere of their multi-year project, A MEAL. With extensive digital material accumulated over the project’s development, LEIMAY aims to enrich its archive. Assistance from a Dance USA Archive Fellow in Summer 2024 will aid this effort. Additionally, funds will help LEIMAY’s team document and edit footage from the September 2024 premiere at HERE in NYC.

An image of two people facing away from each other is seen from the torso up. Ximena Garnica (Right) is Latine, has long dark brown straight hair, wears a blue dress, and has medium-dark skin. Shige Moriya (Left) is Asian, has medium-length long black wavy hair, wears a gray yukata (Japanese summer cotton kimono), and has medium-dark skin. Each of them holds in their hands half of a papaya at chest level as an offering. They stand in front of a field of tall white wildflowers with trees and a blue sky.
Shige Moriya and Ximena Garnica performing in A Meal Dream Portraits (2023). Photo by Shige Moriya.

Linda Parris-Bailey

Knoxville, TN

Yankee Bajan, Full Circle

Full Circle is the story/documentation of the origins, of what began as an exploration of a political moment and became a family quest for belonging and safety in the Caribbean. What is behind and what lies ahead for Yankee Bajan, a play with music that challenges the limitations imposed by racism in America and the agenda of “The Right” and proposes the expat experience as the solution. The origins of Yankee Bajan are both political and personal.

Three members of the Yankee Bajan ensemble, Black actors of Barbadian descent, dance beneath a green projected landscape of sugar cane fields in Barbados WI. Three actors, one kneeling on an elevated box, move beneath the large pie-shaped moon, as packing boxes and a cardboard floor are seen downstage of the image. An A-Frame projection screen is flown overhead and reflects the images as well.
Yankee Bajan premiere in Barbados WI. Photo by Russell Watson.

Lisa B. Thompson

Austin, TX

The Black Feminist Guide to the Human Body Documentation Project

The Black Feminist Guide to the Human Body is part spiritual mixed tape, roadmap, “us” help book, and collective diary of nursery rhymes, sacred stories, praise dances, and love songs, this urges us to honor all our pieces, even the broken ones. The Black Feminist Guide to the Human Body Documentation Project will support archiving, documenting, and writing an essay about the rolling world premiere that includes interviews with key collaborators who worked on the play at The Vortex in Austin, the Pyramid Theatre in Des Moines, and the Lorraine Hansberry Theater in San Francisco.

A dark-skinned woman wearing twists is singing and dancing. An older dark-skinned woman with braids sings while parting the hair of another dark-skinned woman who is sitting in a chair and laughing. The stage has a wooden desk with a typewriter on it and bookshelves.
Sade Jones (Cee Cee), Nadine Mozon (Dr. Bea Free), and Hayley Armstrong (Dee) performing The Black Feminist Guide for the Human Body at The Vortex in Austin, TX in (2024). Photo by Errich Petersen.

LubDub Theatre Co

New York, NY


THE MAGIC BULLET follows an ensemble of seven contemporary artists telling the story of a French colonial magic show that took place at Algiers’ Bab-Azoun Theatre in 1856. The project is inspired by historical accounts of the marabouts—Sufi leaders who animated Algeria’s revolt against French colonial rule—and French stage magician Robert-Houdin, who crossed the Mediterranean to prove the “superiority” of European conjuring. Drawing contemporary parallels and weaving archival sources, ritual, original writing, stage magic, and documentary filmmaking, THE MAGIC BULLET offers an uncanny confrontation between the power of illusion and the illusions of power. Funds will support the documentation of the development process and a work-in-progress presentation of THE MAGIC BULLET.

A close-up image of four artists standing in a line, performing at music stands. Furthest in the distance is a light-skinned man, who dances at his music stand, his left arm raised. To his left, a light-skinned woman with dark hair smiles, grinning down at her script. Next, an olive-skinned woman with long brown curly hair, wearing a black and white keffiyeh, smiles widely. Finally, an olive-skinned man with a beard gestures expressly in the foreground.
Left to right: Geoffrey Kanick, Caitlin Nasema Cassidy, Noelle Ghoussaini, and Ismail Khalidi performing a work-in-progress sharing of THE MAGIC BULLET at The Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, MI (2023). Photo by Houssam Maichamech.

Nejla Yatkin

Chicago, IL

Ouroboros: The Creation, Background, and Behind the Scenes

Ouroboros is an interactive, evening-length theatrical solo dance presented in the round that resurrects and centers the ancient healing symbol of Ouroboros. The piece communicates through personal storytelling, contemporary and Middle Eastern dance, cabaret-style song, live finger cymbal/zill play through English, German, Turkish, and ASL, and audience participation. The Documentation and Storytelling Fund will support capturing the origins of Ouroboros’ creation, interviewing collaborators, and producing a short five to ten-minute film featuring rehearsal and performance footage along with the interviews.

A medium-skinned woman with a blue headpiece and a white silk headband around her head kneeling in a bed of rose petals and reaching sideways towards the viewer.
Nejla Yatkin performing Ouroboros by Nejla Yatkin at Links Hall (2024). Photo by Enki Andrews.

re:FRAME Collective

New Orleans, LA


The re:FRAME initiative’s primary goal was to support the development of 5 artists’ solo works. In its final stage, the project weaves these pieces into a collective terrain, creating both a physical archive and a metaphysical ritual. This will encompass their journey of individual performance creations, community organizing, residency and grant applications, pandemic reorientation, displacement from the South due to resource scarcity, and collective healing. The documentation aims to advance their artistic voices and contribute to the well-being of dance communities in the South and beyond.

Five dance-makers of various complexions and ethnicities engaged in a collective process. They wear loose clothes and socks. The dance studio has one mirrored wall, half-covered by a red curtain. Huge pieces of paper are scattered on the floor. Two artists are mid-stride. Another stands with two pages aloft like wings. Another has flipped a page overhead like a cape. In the foreground, the fifth artist kneels in front of a page marked with writing in multiple colors and orientations – eyes downcast, hands poised as though about to conduct an orchestra – wearing a piece of paper like a hat.
The re:FRAME collective – from left to right, Ann Glaviano, Shannon Stewart, Jeremy Guyton, Ryuta Iwashita, and Meryl Murman – in process at MANCC, December 2023. Photo by Chris Cameron.

Rogue Artists Ensemble

Sun Valley, CA

HAPPY FALL: A Queer Stunt Spectacular

HAPPY FALL: A Queer Stunt Spectacular is an original highly interactive theatrical experience about a queer closeted stuntman’s journey to discover himself in a world of faux masculinity, unmasking the importance and danger of being true to oneself. HAPPY FALL is based on true-life stories and direct testimonies and illuminates issues of racial and cultural identity in Hollywood. The full production, set for a premiere in 2024, will come to life as an interactive stunt show, with life-size puppets, special effects, and death-defying physical acts. Funds will support documentation of HAPPY FALL, including photos, video and audience reactions.

An image of four artists working with two cameras on tripods to create live camera feeds for a workshop of Happy Fall: A Queer Stunt Spectacular. On the left side of the photo, a medium-skinned gender-fluid artist holds the camera while a female light-skinned artist helps with the tripod. A second group of artists includes a medium-skinned male artist wearing overalls manning a tripod filming a male medium-skinned artist who is standing wearing a long blond female wig.
Justin Cabanting, Kelsey Kato, Helen Day and Kurt Kanazawa. Photo by Aaron Doolittle.

San Cha

Alhambra, CA

Sharing the World of Inebria me (formerly Asunción)

Sharing the World of Inebria me will build visually rich materials supporting documentation, promotion, and circulation of LA-based multidisciplinary artist San Cha’s NPN Creation Fund performance, Inebria me. A queer, experimental opera inspired by telenovelas, Inebria me uses San Cha’s personal story, powerful stage presence, and signature musical sound drawing from a range of styles and subcultures and the specificity of her East LA queer, brown communities. The full project will include a professionally designed deck as well as video documentation of San Cha’s creative process to help pitch, market, and fundraise for the full life of this performance.

A Medium-skinned Latine woman stands in front of ornate cathedral doors and archway with hands at her sides looking outward. She is in a white gown with sky blue sleeves and gown bottom with a ruffle head piece that looks like a full body length halo.
San Cha, performing La Luz de la Esperanza for PICA’s TBA Virtual Festival (2020). Photo by Josef Jasso.

Sol Ruiz

Hollywood, FL

Positive Vibration Nation Virtual Presentation

Positive Vibration Nation is a Rock Guaguanco Opera written and created by Sol Ruiz. Blending live performance with integrated technology, the new work fuses sound, visual art, costume, dance, and music with Caribbean influences to investigate contemporary issues, explore Miami’s cultural singularity, and convey a positive message to audiences. Greth Castillo filmed the performance which will be crafted into an electronic press kit, serving as a virtual promotional tool. They aim to showcase Miami’s vibrant essence and export their unique culture to audiences worldwide. This film will help them secure future venues and transport the piece to different cities, spreading “the positive vibrations and Miami-licious swag” to the rest of the world.

The poster from Positive Vibration National The Opera depicts Sol Ruiz with colorful braided hair and elaborate makeup gazing contemplatively at a green-tinged full moon. Her futuristic outfit features intricate patterns and bright colors, including sequins and metallic elements. The background depicts a cosmic scene with a starry night sky, a large moon, and a landscape resembling a desert with silhouettes of trees. Glowing orbs and rings encircle the woman, adding to the ethereal, sci-fi ambiance of the image.
Photo by Dev Knight, Art by Alfredo Buenano.

Sugar Vendil

New York, NY

Antonym: the opposite of nostalgia

Antonym: the opposite of nostalgia is a memoir of a Filipinx American childhood that interweaves music and movement, taking an imaginative approach to interdisciplinary performance and music composition. Excavating insignificant yet indelible experiences, Antonym envisions the future as an escape from pain and ponders how we can possess painful memories without being beholden to them. The Documentation and Storytelling fund will support the project and will be a 100-page book of essays, photos, and sketches documenting the NPN-supported performance of the same name. The book will also be viewable for free online as a PDF.

A Filipinx woman in a nude, spaghetti-strapped dress and tan cropped pants, mid-turn, brown hair with light brown streaks flying behind her. Facing her is a Chinese woman with dark, long hair, back turned to the camera at a three-quarter angle wearing a tan/nude long-sleeved top and pants, with her right knee at a 90-degree angle in front of her. A white woman to her right wearing black matches her stance. To the right of them a performer with blonde-tipped dark brown hair mid-run, left arm bent. Behind her is a performer mid-run with cropped hair wearing black.
Sugar Vendil/Isogram performing Antonym: the opposite of nostalgia at National Sawdust (2024) (left to right): Marie Lloyd Paspe, Cindy Lan, Annie Nikunen, Sugar Vendil, and Annie Wang. Photo by Raphael Galvis-Lan.

Sydnie L. Mosley Dances

New York, NY

SLMDances Performance and Education Documentation

​​Sydnie L. Mosley Dances (SLMDances) is a New York City-based dance-theater collective that works in communities to organize for gender and racial justice through experiential dance performance. Support from the Documentation and Storytelling fund will allow SLMDances to develop and activate a storytelling strategy to document their performance and education work, share it with their contacts in the field, and increase their opportunities. This includes digital marketing materials for PURPLE: A Ritual in Nine Spells and The Window Sex Project.

Six women sit in a horizontal line on the floor with their left palms firmly planted on the ground while looking directly at the camera over their left shoulders. The floor and the wall behind them are dark wood panelling. They are dressed in various pants and tops in hues of marigold, burgundy, royal blue, turquoise, and plum.
SLMDances Creative Partners: Candance Sumpter, Lorena Jaramillo, Joan Bradford, Rebecca Gual, Brittany Grier, Jessica Lee. Photo by Shocphoto.


Los Angeles, CA

The Great Soviet Bucket

The Great Soviet Bucket is a dark musical comedy that follows Timur, a dutiful Soviet citizen, and an unhinged puppet, Comrade Bucket. Like a true believer, Timur patiently tolerates the complexities of the USSR, knowing that a better future is almost here. His local commander, Comrade Bucket, encourages Timur to embrace the collective ways of living. As the Soviet Union empire crumbles, so does Timur’s Soviet identity. Kazakh-American opera singer Timur, backed by a cadre of brilliant musician-performers, uses the Soviet songs of his youth to ask pressing questions about the intertwined forces of identity, politics, and history. Funding supports the creation of a promotional trailer, using footage and images from the world premiere production.

A man in white face make-up with rouge eyeshadows, wearing a Soviet hat, exaggerated green jacket, holding an accordion, stares at an oversized, purple, child-like big-headed puppet Comrade Bucket that embodies a Soviet military person, who is grumpy, tired and strict, symbol and is holding a flag of USSR in their mouth. A woman matches has white make-up with rouge eyeshadow and wears a shade of red jacket and is holding a violin. Next to Comrade Bucket is Timur, who is wearing a black shirt with a red young pioneer tie around his neck. Timur looks scared and confused.
Timur, Yvette Cornelia Holzwarth, Matt Podd and Comrade Bucket face off in “The Great Soviet Bucket.” Photo by Sandra Bambarèn Powers.

We Are the Promised Land

Waterford, MS

We Are the Promised Land Virtual Altar and Public Engagement

We Are the Promised Land is an altar dedicated to Black land legacies in the Mississippi Hill Country, focusing on the Hollowells and Foxfire Ranch in Waterford, Mississippi. Amid stories of Black land loss, it highlights how the Hollowell family has preserved their land for over a century, exploring the sacrifices, risks, and cultural mechanisms involved. Through a podcast, poetry, photography, and video, the project presents diverse views of the region and sparks conversations about inheritance and the echoes of ancestral legacies. Funds will be used to create a visual alter, in the shape of an online platform, that encourages archiving and deepened engagement with the different components of the project.

A dark-skinned woman and man, husband and wife, sit on a rustic church pew in front of a wall painted a vibrant red on the top half, and covered with forest green corrugated tin at the bottom. Above them, a white, hand-painted sign with green and black letters reads, “Welcome to Foxfire Ranch.” Her legs are crossed and she wears a blue shirt and jeans, her elbow rests atop the pew, her hand behind her head. He wears a green baseball cap with Mississippi on it in white lettering and a heather gray t-shirt with the Foxfire Ranch logo.
Annie Hollowell and Bill Hollowell sitting under the main pavilion at Foxfire Ranch (2023). Photo Credit by Jai Williams.