Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Performance Art/Theater 2015

Mallory Catlett

Portrait of Mallory Catlett hunched over toward the camera with side swept short hair and a dark top. Behind them is a blurred background of a tree.
  • 2015 Grants to Artists
  • Performance Art/Theater
  • Director, Dramaturg
  • Born Lemore, CA, 1969
  • Lives in New York, NY
  • Additional Information

Money from the FCA has been valuable seed money to get all this work started as I have been writing grants and getting development commissions to create [M/F FUTURE], which is on track for a 2017 premiere. I have used the funds to pay performers and rent rehearsal space primarily. I am also reserving a portion of the money for a remount of This Was The End at the new Mabou Mines space in the PS 122 Building, where the work was originally developed and from which we took a wall of their studio for the set. Bringing that piece of architecture back into the new building is a particularly exciting prospect and funds from the FCA will make it possible. I hope this allocation of funds illustrates what the FCA has contributed to the past year, but also to my future. Many things have become possible in the last year... I am forever grateful to the Foundation. It has been such special and particular honor.

- Mallory Catlett, December 7, 2015

Artist Statement

My interest is time and how we live in it. I am puzzled by our insistence on linearity and causality. I think this sets us at odds with the natural world, causes anxiety, and makes us do destructive things. In the theater, I can reconfigure time. I can create performances where the relationship between time and the destructive impulse is the subject of the work. I am not a storyteller. I prefer to take things apart, to mix mediums, to separate the narrative from the need to talk, to tell—live bodies in communication. I want the audience to focus on the need, to feel a lack of linearity, to be aware of the gaps, and the role they play in filling them, and to consider how the story they make reveals who they are. The precariousness of this pursuit keeps me going.

- December 2014


Mallory Catlett is a director, dramaturg, and creator of performance across disciplines. She works with audiences, ensemble theater companies, performers, composers, musicians, choreographers, visual artists, technicians, designers, and writers both living and dead, in theaters and out of them. These practices reflect an interest in expanding what the theater can contain. On each project, the people, the subject matter, the objects in the room, and the words spoken, determine the look and feel of the work and its terms of engagement with the audience. Her work often involves the adaptation of works by––William Burroughs, Janet Frame, Doris Lessing, Marcel Proust, Arthur Rimbaud, Margaret Sanger, William Shakespeare, and Andy Warhol––intense collaboration, and uses music in its presentation.

Selected works include City Council Meeting (2012-2013), a regional experiment in participatory democracy created with Aaron Landsman and Jim Findlay that the audience performs; Beowulf (2010); [Banana Bag & Bodice's musical bar room brawl]; Dread Scott's performance installation and Supreme Court recitation, Dread Scott: Decision; This Was The End (2012); and her remix of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya with Restless, the production company she started in 2004 designed to push the limits of the theatrical cannon and her own authorship.

Catlett's work has premiered in New York at HERE Arts Center, Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Performance Space 122, Abrons Art Center, The Chocolate Factory, Roulette, and Collapsable Hole. Her works have also been featured and performed at the Ice Factory, COIL Festival at Performance Space 122, Prelude Festival, Prototype Festival, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival. Her works have toured regionally and internationally to Canada, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia.

Prior to receiving her FCA support, Catlett received a 2011 National Theater Project Grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts for City Council Meeting (2012-2013); a 2014 Obie Award Special Citation for This Was The End (2014); a 2014 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie" Award for Visual Design for This Was The End (2014). Catlett has held residencies at the Performing Garage, Abrons Arts Center, HERE Arts Center, Mabou Mines, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Chashama, and Yaddo.

Catlett received her B.A. from Bard College and her M.F.A. from the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She is a Co-Artistic Director of Mabou Mines and is the artistic director of Restless Productions NYC.

Performer in front of a microphone holds a white LED light above their spectacled eyes. Their body and the back of a performer standing behind them are bathed in neon red and blue light which blends into a screen behind them projecting two abstract spectacle rims on each side of a molten yellow pyramid.
Performance still from FCA-supported Decoder 2017, at Gibney Dance Center, New York, 2015. Performer: Jim Findlay. Photo by Alex Escalante.
Close up of a performer in a black-lit room, their face projected with fleshy pink and varying green intestine-shaped imagery.
Performance still from FCA-supported Decoder 2017, at Gibney Dance Center, New York, 2015. Performer: Jim Findlay. Photo by Alex Escalante.
Performer stands holding a yellow broom in the center of bare trees, their mouth open and one eyebrow raised. Blurred green ferns line the front bottom and in the background, trees sprout green leaves.
Performance still from FCA-supported Dead Time of Plenty, at The MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire, 2015. Performer: Black-Eyed Susan. Photo by Mallory Catlett.
Performer looks uneasily at something in the distance as they lean against a wall decorated with sparse green tree wallpaper, in a dim yellow-lit unfurnished room. Rope and red extension cord are looped and tangled on the wooden floor.
Performance still from FCA-supported Dead Time of Plenty, at The MacDowell Colony, New Hampshire, 2015. Performer: Black-Eyed Susan.
Performance still from FCA-supported Decoder 2017, at Gibney Dance Center, New York, 2015. Performers: G. Lucas Crane and Jim Findlay.
Excerpt from This Was The End, at The Chocolate Factory, Long Island City, 2014.
Empty meeting room except for one person in far back and one person holding a whiteboard with #citycouncilmtg written on it. To their left, a television portrays a group of suited people with the headline #citycouncilmtg.
Performance still from City Council Meeting, 2012. Photo by David A. Brown.