The In-House Artists are a group of unique, multi-disciplinary, FGP alumni artists selected to collaborate on and devise a brand-new project from the ground up. Their scrappy, bold, and joyful new project will debut for an exclusive four-night workshop run in the FGP Festival

 FRI APR 13 /  SUN APR 15 / TUES APR 17 / FRI APR 20


Written and Performed by Jaclyn Backhaus, Nikki Calonge, nicHi douglas, Matthew Marsh, Andrew Neisler, Andrew Scoville, Jenny Beth Snyder, Elinor T Vanderburg, Ryann Weir

Welcome to Champaign, Illinois, a global leader in the cutting edge integration of the robot workforce. We're looking forward to having you on our team at iHue, where we are proudly committed to the discovery and name designation of new, never-before-seen colors. iHue's unique brand of efficiency is made possible by our growing ranks of artificial intelligence, which outnumber our human employees 25-1. We're thrilled to welcome you to the next generation, Karen. Right this way.


Charlie Tolan, Brittany Allen, Peter Mills Weiss


Costume design by

Elinor Famutimi


Video design by

Stivo Arnoczy


Set design by

Aaron Gonzalez


Lighting design by

Joe Cantalupo


Sound design by

Valentine Monfeuga

Jaclyn Backhaus is a playwright of Punjabi, German, and desert botanical descent. Select plays: MEN ON BOATS (NYT Critics’ Pick, Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights Horizons, Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Playwriting Award Finalist, published by Dramatists Play Service), INDIA PALE ALE (Manhattan Theatre Club, Fall 2018), FOLK WANDERING (Pipeline Theatre Company), YOU ACROSS FROM ME (Humana Festival of New Plays), PEOPLE DOING MATH LIVE! (Under The Radar Festival), and YOU ON THE MOORS NOW (Theater Reconstruction Ensemble, The Hypocrites in Chicago). She is under commission with Playwrights Horizons, MTC, EST and Ars Nova and was the 2016 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Clubbed Thumb. She is currently a playwright-in-residence at Lincoln Center. BFA: NYU, where she now teaches. She is co-founder of Fresh Ground Pepper, a New York-based arts incubator. She lives in Queens with her husband, theater director Andrew Scoville, and their son Ernie.


Nikki Calonge is a founding member of ANIMALS, a member of Witness Relocation, and has performed with artists and theater companies such as Jim Findlay, Nellie Tinder, Hoi Polloi, Half Straddle, Katherine Brook/TELE-VIOLET, Eliza Bent + Dave Malloy, Spellbound Theater, William Burke, and The National Asian American Theater Company. With ANIMALS she is the recipient of the 2012 Tom Murrin Award and has been presented at Fresh Ground Pepper, CATCH, Prelude, as part of Target Margin Theater’s Gertrude Stein Lab, and Under the Radar’s Incoming Series. Calonge has received training from People’s Improv Theater; The Patravadi Theatre and Theater Mitu in Thailand; Traditional Dance and Wayang Kulit in Bali, Indonesia. She earned her BFA from NYU/Tisch. +


nicHi douglas is a Brooklyn-based actor, dancer, choreographer, director, playwright and activist.  She has performed all over New York and the country as an actor/dancer in the freelance capacity, in addition to performing nationally with The Dance Cartel and literacy-focused children’s theatre company The Story Pirates. She currently teaches Movement & Choreography and Performance Symposium in the NYU: Tisch Drama Department – Playwright’s Horizon Theatre School studio. She is currently in residence in Fresh Ground Pepper's inaugural In-House Artists program and is an Ars Nova’s Maker’s Lab artist-in-residence for 2018.  Recent stage credits: Primer for a Failed Superpower (Roulette, Choreographer), PharmaBro: An American Douchical (The Players Theatre, Choreographer), Runaways (NY City Center, Associate Choreographer), The Dance Cartel: ONTHEFLOOR (A.R.T./Oberon, Principal Dancer), NOW EVERYONE GO AROUND THE TABLE AND SAY WHAT THEY'RE THANKFUL FOR (NYU/Experimental Theater Wing, Director), decolonizing my vagina (Exponential Festival at JACK, Choreographer) and Black Girl Magic Show! (Ars Nova ANT Fest and JACK, Director/Choreographer/Playwright). Upcoming stage credits: A Time Like This (Carnegie Hall, Stage Director) and Runaways (Public Theater Gala, Associate Director and Choreographer)


Andrew Neisler  is a New York-based, Georgia-raised theatre director and producer. Select directing credits: critically acclaimed ensemble musical FOLK WANDERING by Jaclyn Backhaus, the world premiere of Cesar Alvarez's THE ELEMENTARY SPACETIME SHOW, Andrew Farmer’s THE GRAY MAN, NY Times’ Critics Pick CLOWN BAR, and Drama Desk nominated CHARLATAN. In development: recent Ars Nova commission BULL’S HOLLOW, with playwright Jaclyn Backhaus and composer Mike Brun; the new musical NOISE with Cesar Alvarez; and GREAT AWAKENING with Sammy Miller and the Congregation. He has worked with Pipeline Theatre Company, Ars Nova, Naked Angels, Primary Stages, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, NYTW, HERE Arts, The Lark, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, NYU, University of the Arts, and more. He is a Co-Founder/Director of the arts incubation company Fresh Ground Pepper (, a member of Pipeline Theatre Company’s ensemble, and a Teaching Artist at Playwrights Horizons Theatre School/NYU. Alumnus of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab and the Civilians' R&D Group. He was the 2014 Director-in-Residence at Ars Nova. BFA: NYU/Tisch.


Matthew Dean Marsh is a Brooklyn based composer, writer, and performer. His compositions have been heard at Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, the Michigan Opera House, BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), TriBeCa Film Festival, McKittrick Hotel (Sleep No More) and the White House in Washington, DC. Accompanying credits include Joseph Keckler (at Centre Pompidou in Paris), Ato Blankson-Wood, Todd Almond, Jo Lampert, Salty Brine, David Cale, Max Jenkins, Tom Hennes, Erin Markey, Shaina Taub, and Sherie Rene Scott. He has worked on projects with directors Steve Cosson, Preston Martin, Shaun Peknic, Leigh Silvermann, and Alex Timbers. He music directs the band for Shred for Your Life’s 2016 viral sensation champion, Mrs. Smith. His song and music video “Lost Boys” is a finalist at the Los Angeles 2016 Music Video Awards, a semi-finalist in the 2017 International MV Awards in Paris, and a contender in the 2017 Portland MV Festival. He first performed at an FGP event in 2009 and has been a collaborator ever since.


Andrew Scoville is a director and creator of original work.  He most recently directed The Brobot Johnson Experience (NY Times Critic Pick/Bushwick Starr), Memory Retrograde with harunalee theater company (Ars Nova, Public Theater Under the Radar Festival), and Piano Tales with James and Jerome (La Mama, Playwrights Horizons Downtown, Joe's Pub, Lincoln Center Education, Bouley Test Kitchen). He is the co-creator of the podcast People Doing Math in which non-math people talk and play with mathematical concepts (Ars Nova, The Public Theater's Under the Radar Festival, Strand Bookstore, and the National Museum of Math). He is Associate Director of Tooting Arts Club Production of Sweeney Todd at Barrow St Theater. He is Associate Director for Alex Timbers on David Byrne’s Here Lies Love for both NYC, Seattle and UK Productions. He has also worked with Timbers on Love’s Labour's Lost (Public Theater) and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Broadway). He is a co-Founder/co-Director of Fresh Ground Pepper, a not for profit dedicated to making it easier to create new work through a series of artistic challenges and developmental programs. Through FGP, he was Lead Director for “Camp Over There” a pop up performance series at Bonnaroo Music and Art Festival. Scoville graduated NYU in 2008 with a BFA in Theater Arts.  He teaches at Playwrights Horizons Theater School (NYU) and is a member of the 2011 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. He lives in Ridgewood, Queens with his wife, playwright Jaclyn Backhaus, and their son Ernie.


Jenny Snyder  is a New York based theater director/production manager & creative director of arts incubator Fresh Ground Pepper NYC. Recent: FOLK WANDERING (Pipeline Theatre Co, PM); TSELEM (Cherry Lane, Dir. reading); 12 Angry Men (Lee Strasberg Institute NYU, Dir); PORTO (WP Theater, PM); OH MY SWEET LAND (Play Co, PM), SUMMERWORKS 2017 (Clubbed Thumb, PM); MOTHER F*CKER WITH THE HAT (Lee Strasberg Institute, Dir.); YOU DO NOT LOOK, (Signature Theater, Dir.); BEARDO (Pipeline Theatre Co, PM); THE RED ROOM, (The Shelter, World Premiere, Dir.); NIGHT OF THE LIVING (Fringe Festival, Best Overall, Dir.); BREATHING IN THE RAIN (Columbia Stages, dir);  IT’S LATER THAN I THINK (United Solo Festival, dir); SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE (Fringe Festival, Encore Series, dir); MAN AND COCONUT (IRT, dir); TAKE ME HOME (Other Forces festival, AD);  IDEAL (59 E 59th, World Premiere, dir). She holds a BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Director’s Lab 2013.

Elinor T Vanderburg is a writer, performance artist, composer, ex-flight attendant, former wand salesman, and future forty-two-year-old from Washington, DC.  She has collaborated with Exit Art, Non Grata, Panoply Performance Lab, Title:Point, Wise Fish, and Fresh Ground Pepper, and recently performed at The Grace Exhibition Space, Scope Art Fair, and The Tropicana.  Her science fiction musical, The Human Incubator (co-created with Drew Vanderburg and developed with Fresh Ground Pepper's 2014 Playgroup), strives to present feminist reproductive ethics in a new light, and debuted with SheNYC Arts in Summer 2017.  You can hear her as Aisha the Water Fairy in Season 2 of the Netflix series, World of Winx, and she is a founding member of underlords, a real fake theater company.  Or is she?  Between 10 and 6 on weekdays, Elinor moonlights as an agent at Illustration Division, where she represents an international roster of commercial artists.  She earned her BFA from NYU/Tisch like a hundred years ago, and has lived in Brooklyn for almost as long. 

Ryann Weir is a Brooklyn-based actor and writer. Recent acting/writing credits include I Heard Sex Noises (Ars Nova Project Residency), DEBUTANTE. (Ars Nova ANT Fest), Golden Baby: Good Point! (Chicago Sketchfest), The First Ladies Project (NYTW E. 4th St. theater) and Camp Over There (Bonnaroo). Short plays include Dinosaur Play (HERE), The Sycophants (The Flea, Serials), A Doll's House Part Three (Youngblood A4T) and TSA (E.S.T. Youngblood Brunch) . Ryann is a writer and co-creator on the digital series Basic Witch (Amazon Prime) and is in development for the series based on a play she co-authored called I Heard Sex Noises. Ryann is a current member of the Youngblood writers group. BFA NYU. More at

Get Involved! 

FGP is powered by the community.

Want to volunteer or have an idea for the festival? Reach out! 

@2018 Fresh Ground Pepper

Site Design by Sean Byrum Leo