For Immediate Release

Contact: Theresa M. MacNaughton,, 860-520-7114

Pike St. playwright Nilaja Sun to serve as guest artist for Project: Transform

Applications now being accepted from Connecticut high school student writers, actors, rappers, dancers, musicians, poets and artists

Hartford, CT – September 26, 2019 – Project: Transform returns to Education @ Hartford Stage this fall, with acclaimed Pike St. playwright, actor and teaching artist Nilaja Sun serving as guest artist. Connecticut high school students with a talent for writing, acting, dancing, music, poetry or art are encouraged to apply for the free innovative performance program celebrating diversity and acceptance.

Project: Transform is celebrating its ninth year, thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign last spring spearheaded by Stage One, the young professional arm of the Hartford Stage Board. With a corporate matching gift from Locke Lord LLP, over $17,000 was raised to revitalize the program.

Bringing together 15 to 20 Connecticut high school students from different backgrounds–including race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation and social class—Project: Transform enables participants to collaboratively create and perform a devised theatre piece exploring the transformation of minds, neighborhoods and communities. Students work with Hartford Stage education staff and a guest artist – infusing poetry, theatre, music and dance to write, improvise, rehearse and share their final finished work in a public performance.

“Having the opportunity to work with one of the real living greats in the incomparable Nilaja Sun is truly one of the coolest creative opportunities I’ve seen come along in a long time,” said Nina Pinchin, Associate Director of Education @ Hartford Stage. “For talented teens with something to say about the world they’re living in, Project: Transform provides a platform to give voice to anger, frustration, pain, joy and hope – all in the pursuit of positive and much-needed change. It’s an opportunity that is not to be missed.”

Nilaja Sun joins previous Project: Transform guest artists including writer/actor/author/ LGBTQ activist James Lecesne; director Saheem Ali; playwrights Phillip HowzeKimber Lee, Matthew LopezJanine Nabers, Will Power, and Kaneza Schaal; and composer/sound designer Justin Ellington.

Sun will bring her acclaimed solo show, Pike St., which vividly brings to life three generations of a Puerto Rican family on New York’s Lower East Side, to Hartford Stage in January. Her most famous work, No Child…, a solo performance piece based upon her eight years teaching arts in New York City schools, received an Obie Award, a Lucille Lortel Award, two Outer Critics Circle Awards (including the John Gassner Playwriting Award for Outstanding New American Play), a Theatre World Award, the Helen Hayes Award, and two NAACP Theatre Awards. No Child… was also named the Best One-Person Show at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen.

Connecticut high school students can download an application at All applications must be received by Friday, October 4. Rehearsals will be held October 19 and 26; November 2, 16, 24 and 30; and December 7 and 14. Two public performances will be held December 14 and 15. For additional information about Project: Transform, contact Nina Pinchin, Associate Director of Education, at 86-520-7266 or

Nilaja Sun

Nilaja Sun


Hartford Stage enters its 56th season beginning an exciting new chapter. Newly-appointed Artistic Director Melia Bensussen and Managing Director Cynthia Rider will continue the theatre’s legacy of artistic excellence by creating theatrical works that enlighten, entertain, and educate.

Renowned for producing innovative revivals of classics, as well as provocative new plays and musicals,  Hartford Stage has earned many of the nation’s most prestigious awards, including the 1989 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Additional national recognition includes honors from the Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, American Theatre Wing (OBIE), and the New York Critics Circle.

Hartford Stage has produced over 80 world and North American premieres, including the new musical Anastasia, which enjoyed a two-year run on Broadway; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, winner of four 2014 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical; and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ Water by the Spoonful, winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Other notable premieres include The Engagement Party by Samuel Baum; Make Believe by Bess Wohl; The Age of Innocence by Douglas McGrath; Seder by Sarah Gancher; Rear Window, adapted by Keith Reddin, and starring Kevin Bacon; An Opening in Time by Christopher Shinn; Reverberation by Matthew Lopez; Big Dance Theatre’s Man in a Case with Mikhail Baryshnikov; and Breath & Imagination by Daniel Beaty. Nationally-renowned titles include the New York transfers of Enchanted April; The Orphans’ Home Cycle; Resurrection (later retitled Through the Night); The Carpetbagger’s Children; and Tea at Five.The leading provider of theatre education programs in Connecticut, Hartford Stage’s offerings include student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses.

The leading provider of theatre education programs in Connecticut, Education @ Hartford Stage offers student matinees, in-school theatre residencies, teen performance opportunities, theatre classes for students (ages 3-18) and adults, afterschool programs and professional development courses. Education @ Hartford Stage programming reaches approximately 21,000 Connecticut students annually.

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