New Paradise Laboratories (NPL) is an experimental performance ensemble that explores radical means to bend conventional ideas of theater, while valuing wild humor, a muscular visual sensibility, and a fascination with the utopian impulse. Led by Pew Fellow and Obie Award-winner Whit MacLaughlin, NPL uses a variety of creative strategies including company-devised techniques, cross-media design elements, and site-specific installations. Center-supported work has included Fatebook, featuring an audience experience that began online before becoming live, and Extremely Public Displays of Privacy, an ambitious three-part, multimedia work. In 2015, NPL received a Center Discovery grant to expand its devised theater techniques and lay the groundwork for a series of new pieces, through investigations of improvisational structures, games of chance, and audience interactivity. This research has informed the Center-supported presentation of Hello Blackout!, a new theater work integrating contingency into NPL's physical theater style, with live music by composer and Pew Fellow Bhob Rainey.
New Paradise Laboratories developed Batch: An American Bachelor/ette Party Spectacle in collaboration with playwright Alice Tuan and New Paradise Laboratories (NPL) artistic director and Pew Fellow Whit MacLaughlin. Part play, part sporting event, part anthropological study, Batch was the second play in NPL's series examining rites of passage. NPL company members joined forces with Actors Theatre of Louisville to create the script for this new production, with set design and video by Pew Fellows Matt Saunders and Jorge Cousineau, respectively. In preparation for the show's premiere in Philadelphia, an early version of Batch appeared as part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville. The script was published in a volume titled Humana Festival 2007: The Complete Plays.