Theater and dance residents find a home at Vineyard Arts Project

The Vineyard Arts Project in Edgartown. —Courtesy Ashley Melone

Theater and dance aficionados take note: The Vineyard Arts Project (VAP) artist residency in Edgartown is hosting some very exciting New York–based playwrights, directors, actors, musicians, dancers, and choreographers this summer. Islanders will have a chance to catch a first glimpse at their new work through workshop productions at the VAP’s studio and performance space.

This Saturday, July 2, at the VAP’s annual Art 4 Art fundraiser, guests can check out the facility, find out more about upcoming projects, meet some of the artists in residence, and enjoy a couple of songs from a new musical created by indie rockers the Bengsons. Tickets start at $35 ($60 for VIP access), including snacks from Morning Glory Farm; drinks from liquor sponsors Don Julio, Stolen Rum, and Sam Adams; and the song stylings of New York City–based DJs AndrewAndrew. It’s the best fundraiser deal around.

Past works developed during VAP residencies include shows that have gone on to well-known venues in New York such as Lincoln Center and the Public Theater, and garnered awards including an Obie and an Independent Reviewers of New England award. This year, the lineup includes the Public Theater and Ars Nova, and choreography residencies with Cirio Collective and Mark Stuart Dance.

First in the series of performers will be Tony winner Sarah Jones. Ms. Jones is currently at the VAP working on a new show, which will be presented to the public on Wednesday, July 6. Her one-woman show, “Sell/Buy/Date,” was inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the sex industry, and features an array of interesting characters drawn from Ms. Jones’ interviews.

“Although the show deals with this heavy material, she brings a lightness to her performance,” VAP founder and director Ashley Melone said. “Sell/Buy/Date” will be going to the Manhattan Theatre Club this fall, but Vineyard audiences will have the opportunity to preview the show in its entirety at the VAP.

Other highlights of the residency’s summer performance series include a staged reading of Pulitzer and Tony awardwinner James Lapine’s latest musical, “Flying Over Sunset,” and a new musical by Indie rockers the Bengsons.

The Public Theater will continue its longstanding relationship with the VAP with a residency and performances in August.

Dance residencies include Cirio Collective, led by American Ballet Theatre soloist Jeffrey Cirio. Mark Stuart Dance will present a new work called “Standard Time,” which follows three separate, period-specific love stories set against the backdrops of the Great Depression, the civil rights movement, and today’s fast-evolving acceptance of gay rights.

“I’m excited about the season’s mix of dance and theater,” Ms. Melone said. “And I love the fact that this year we’re extending into September.”

The VAP campus features 24 bedrooms and four surround-sound-equipped studios, making it the ideal compound for creating and rehearsing new work. During the off-season, the facility is available as a rental. In the past, the VAP has hosted theater education programs, a yoga retreat, and corporate retreats. Located in downtown Edgartown, the beautiful modern compound is conveniently situated while remaining a tranquil little world of its own.

Come check it out this weekend at the Art 4 Art party, or purchase tickets for any of the upcoming performances at

Sixth annual Art 4 Art Party: Saturday, July 2, from 5 to 8 pm. Cocktail party with live music and online auction. VIP access $60, general admission $35.

“Sell/Buy/Date” by Sarah Jones: Wednesday, July 6, from 7 to 8 pm.