About

The North American Laboratory for the Performing Arts was founded to allow for artists across genres to create, collaborate and explore their own work as well as work that might establish new performance languages that integrate genres in such a way as to make new forms accessible to contemporary audiences.

NALPA Logo

In a time when we are becoming increasingly isolated through the use of technology the hope is that the work and the knowledge coming out of the Lab will inspire both artists and those who encounter their performances.

NALPA provides key resources of time and space to both experiment and document
Facilitates bridges between the academy, the artist and regional and national producing venues (such as the regional theatres of the United States)
Creates opportunities for rigorous and intentional collaboration across genre and discipline, as well as style, pedagogy and aesthetic
Functions as a virtual and material resource for the articulation of the culture of the performing arts of North America

Our Mission

The North American Laboratory for the Performing Arts (NALPA) is dedicated to the exploration, innovation and articulation of expressive forms across artistic genres.

The North American Laboratory for the Performing Arts (NALPA) is dedicated to the exploration of cultural expression across artistic forms, styles and genres. NALPA brings together regional, national and international artists, scholars, teachers and students. NALPA empowers its participants to collaborate on new work and new ways of working— and, in doing so, to become agents of change.

The Lab

The North American Laboratory for the Performing Arts was founded to allow for artists across genres to create, collaborate and explore their own work as well as work that might establish new performance languages that integrate genres in such a way as to make new forms accessible to contemporary audiences.

In a time when we are becoming increasingly isolated through the use of technology the hope is that the work and the knowledge coming out of the Lab will inspire both artists and those who encounter their performances.

One goal is to give rise to the creation of stories that reflect the present rather than the past.

The Interest is the exploration of what constitutes expressive form rather than in the individual forms of expression. If we as artists have a better understanding of the fundamental principles that stand at the base of what we do then the creation of more successful performance languages will follow. What is universal as concerns the tools we use to create, is an essential question that drives the Lab.

NALPA addresses a series of fundamental needs for the arts in Mexico, the United States and Canada. NALPA:

1) Provides key resources of time and space to both experiment and document
2) Facilitates bridges between the academy, the artist and regional and national producing venues (such as the regional theatres of the United States).
3) Creates opportunities for rigorous and intentional collaboration across genre and discipline, as well as style, pedagogy and aesthetic
4) Functions as a virtual and material resource for the articulation of the culture of the performing arts of North America

Story of NALPA’s founding, a musing by Jonathan Becker:

Washington Street Fair

In the fall of 2014 I was invited to attend the Washington Street Festival in the historic district. This is a weekend in which east Washington Street is closed and artists set up booths, musicians play and the historic homes are toured. I had been living in Muncie for eight years and had never attended the fair. I was busy and not much in the mood to spend money so I agreed to meet my friends for a quick visit, left all the money in my wallet on the dresser because I didn’t want to spend anything and went to the fair. At the fair a ticket to the house tour was purchased for me and I walked into the Charles Over Mansion which at the time was staged for sale. Since I was in my 20’s I had always dreamed of a place where artists could stay, share, learn and develop work together. The Mansion presented itself as that place and I immediately began the process of acquiring the property. In the spring of 2015 Theatre-Masks.com and I moved into the Mansion to begin a new journey with the hopes of giving back to the national community of artists and audience projects of worth that might inspire hope and change.

Creative Projects

The lab works year round on creative projects in collaboration with artists nation wide.

Jonathan Becker, the artistic director of NALPA continues to develop and workshop his lecture performance, MASKS: A Journey Through World Culture. The lecture performance has been performed at Universities in the United States and China.A team of artists, sponsored by the lab is currently working on the development of a piece of theatre in response to the church shootings in SC that happened in the summer of 2015.

Testimonials

Inspiration could be an elusive event for performers— one we are constantly seeking.  However, training with Jonathan makes it seem effortless to awaken the most inspired artist within.  His expertise, attention to detail, dynamic presence and infectious playfulness make each class memorable, innovative and timeless.  The people I met and the space itself (a beautiful mansion with positively charged workspace) were the icing on the cake.  As a teacher, I feel my pedagogical process has been solidified and clarified in a new way.  As a student, I am hungry to get on stage and use tools gained from this course to truly come alive in performance.  His mask training really “put a new face” on my process, and I cannot wait until I get to join for another workshop at NALPA!!

Alexis Black, 2018

NALPA and Jonathan Becker are a jewel of beauty and creativity located in the heartland of Muncie IN.

“The Mansion” is a spacious, elegant and functional place to be and create.  Jonathan is a multi talented theatre artist, whose teaching is passionate, clear and powerful for performer and teacher alike.

I have been an acting teacher for decades at the university level. I recently had the opportunity to take Jonathan Becker’s Character Mask Workshop for educators and performers. It was an enriching and affirming experience for me as an artist as well as an educator. The arch and purpose of mask work for actor training has never been more clear to me. Mask work teaches expanding and filling an actors’ expression beyond the mundane into the universal. The techniques and exercises provided by this teacher and these masks, supply the performing artist with the practice and path needed to reach any audience in any medium.

I have purchased Jonathan’s neutral, larval, and commedia masks for my classroom. They are durable, powerful and inspirational tools. My students are expressively expanded in their acting work and their humanity after working with them.

Sheridan Thomas, 2018

The week I spent at NALPA was outstanding on many levels. The space is so inspiring, from the beauty of the mansion to the palpable creativity that is alive in the studio space. Jonathan’s teaching is superb, the mix of clarity and ambiguity he expertly weaves through each lesson left me feeling artistically challenged and charged with the deep desire to create. His commitment to the community of artists he works with is magnificent. The lens in which I view my theatre work was wiped clean and the horizon became clear once again. I have deep gratitude and joyfully look forward to another visit in the future.

Trevin Gay 2018

The Rise and Fall of the Other workshop with Jonathan Becker at the NALPA was a profound experience of theater activism that used collaboration with other radical national and international artists to find our common ground of tolerance despite our creative differences. It was a universal and personal lesson of using art and theater as a visionary tool for reclaiming teaching and understanding.  These lessons are important to me as a integral community builder theater maker, artist. To be able to do it with other open hearted like minded people is s powerful exercise that I will cherish for a ling time.

Michelle Menard, 2017

The facilities and opportunities at NALPA are phenomenal. Jonathan Becker is a talented, gifted, and generous artist that approaches teaching with a truly collaborative spirit. Especially for those interested in Mask-making and Mask play, NALPA is an important and nurturing destination.

Chaya Gordon Bland, 2017

Jonathan has created a welcoming environment in Muncie. His space, studio and mask workshop are great playgrounds of the imagination lending themselves to ensemble creation and transformation. ​

Erin Crites, 2017

This workshop was one of the most unexpected and deeply valuable experiences I’ve had in my life as an artist. As a leader, Jonathan provided the perfect balance of structure and freedom to allow for organic, courageous and playful collaboration. He pushed us to let go of our individual comfort zones and fight to see “the space between”; the things that are only possible through the combination of individual talents/perspectives. It’s a lesson I continue to return to.

Jana Ross