Troy herion, Mimi lien, and dan rothenberg

A Period of Animate Existence


Composer Troy Herion, designer Mimi Lien, and director Dan Rothenberg are the 2016-2017 PPEH Artists-in-Residence, who will use this residency to continue the development of A Period of Animate Existence (PAE), a music-theater hybrid for physical actors and two generations of choirs. PAE presents a series of meditations on planetary cycles and life cycles, set in a time of dire ecological predictions and rapid technological change. Children, elders, and machines look at the future in five movements that echo the character and pacing of a 19th century symphony. 



Mimi Lien (Designer) is the recipient of the 2015 MacArthur Genius Grant – the first set designer to be recognized with this award. Her bold, immersive designs shape and extend a dramatic text’s narrative and emotional dynamics.



Troy Herion (Composer) is a composer and filmmaker whose works unite contemporary music with visual arts through film, theater, dance, and concert music. Herion composes and directs visual-music films including Baroque Suite and New York: A City Symphony, and his work has been featured on MTV, in The New York Times, and performed with orchestra at Carnegie Hall. 




Dan Rothenberg (Director) is a Philadelphia-based director and creator of experimental performance. A founding member and co-artistic director of the Pig Iron Theatre Company, Dan has directed almost all of Pig Iron’s original performance works. Under his direction, Pig Iron has received numerous Barrymore Awards, including four for Twelfth Night.  

Our artists-in-residence will work with scholars on the Anthropocene as they develop the music and libretto for A Period of Animate Existence. They will also be a presence at PPEH symposia on the campus of University of Pennsylvania: Timescales in October, 2016, and An Ecotopian Toolkit in April, 2017. They will present never-before-seen excerpts from PAE during the symposia. This summer, its artistic team will further develop the piece at Space at Ryder Farm in Brewster, New York.  PAE is slated to premiere in the fall of 2017. 

Other collaborators for PAE include playwright Will Eno, lighting designer Tyler Miconeau, and conductor and director Donald Nally. PAE is recently received major funding from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. Other funding sources include the Wyncote Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. 


2015-2016: Mary Mattingly

Mary Mattingly's WetLand, Bartram's Garden. 

Mary Mattingly's WetLand, Bartram's Garden.