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CAMP 2022/23 Program Details & Application Guidelines

The Comedy Artist Makers’ Program (CAMP) is back for its third season developing new work. CAMP is a residency program at Ars Nova that supports comedy-based writers/performers in generating and developing an original show. Over the course of a nine-month period, CAMP participants will meet weekly for shares of work and peer feedback sessions facilitated by Co-Program Directors Mahayla Laurence and Matt Gehring. This season will begin in October 2022 and end in May 2023. 

As a CAMP resident, you join a cohort of peers in constructing a brand new show alongside each other, culminating in a full-length, live performance as part of the spring Bonfire Series at Ars Nova’s 99-seat theater on 54th Street. Rehearsal spaces, marketing materials, technicians, and a curated mentor/outside eye are provided by Ars Nova for each resident’s Bonfire show.

Program Goals

  • To invest in long-term time and resources in developing innovative comedic work.
  • To support artists to explore and experiment in order to take their work to the next level.
  • To build a nurturing and dynamic community of comedy artists, allowing for exchange and collaborative relationships to grow within the Ars Nova community as well.
  • To encourage artists to develop ideas about their own creative processes and remain investigative within the project’s comedic journey.

Applications for CAMP 2023 are no longer being accepted. Check back with us next year for an opportunity to join the most rad comedy program in NYC!


Is there a fee to apply?
No, there is no cost to apply!

Can I apply as a group?
YES PLEASE! We accept applications from groups of no more than 4 collaborators. If you are applying as a collaboration, please be sure to submit ONE application and include group members on the application form accordingly.

Are there resources for lodging/travel available?
No. We have previously only accepted artists who are locally based in New York City, since there is no funding for lodging or travel. That said, we are open to applications from any location. If you believe this is the right opportunity for you, we would love to hear your thoughts on how we could make something work.

When and where does the residency take place?
Weekly meet-ups are on Mondays and will take place at the Ars Nova Hell’s Kitchen space.

Are CAMP residents compensated for their time?
Yes. Each CAMP artist will receive a rehearsal stipend and 100% of the box office from their Bonfire show. We also cater every meeting for residents. 

Do I need a background in comedy to apply?
No, a background in comedy is not a requirement, though some comedic experience is strongly encouraged. Our program best supports artists who have enough of an understanding of comedic forms and structures to be able to recognize and build upon them/break them.

What is the selection process like?

  1. CAMP Program Directors review applications to ensure completion and eligibility.
  2. Submissions are reviewed by a committee of CAMP alumni and Ars Nova staff, who are all knowledgeable and esteemed artists and arts professionals.
  3. The committee evaluates each artist’s materials and selects finalists.
  4. Finalists are invited to a 30-minute Zoom interview to determine the final award selection. 

What materials do I need to apply?
A full application includes the following:
1. A short (2-3 minute) video introduction (straight to camera) of your Key Creator(s). No need to get fancy with the camera work, this is just to get a sense of you and what you’re excited about bringing to the CAMP space. Please address:
  • What makes your Key Creator(s) tick artistically?
  • What ideas, themes, forms, stories or other material are you interested in exploring at CAMP?
  • Knowing that you will make discoveries along the way, how do you currently imagine the above explorations could evolve into a full length show?
2. At least two work samples from your Key Creators(s) that give us an idea of what you like to work on and your style of comedy and a brief description of each. Links to writing samples, online audio or video samples are acceptable. Please stick to mov, mp4, mp3, wav, pdf, png, and jpg file formats and make sure any links you share are set to “Anyone with the link can view.” 

How do you define a “Key Creator”?
A Key Creator is any person involved in the application and will be taking part in the residency. So if it’s just you who’s applying then, Key Creator #1 would be you! If you’re applying with a team or group, then you’d list each group member in subsequent Key Creator spots.

Am I too old/too young to submit?
There is no age limit to apply, and we don’t ask for your age on the application. Do note that we prioritize working with early-career and emerging artists, but we welcome folks from all experience levels!



Mahayla Laurence is a multi-disciplinary artist engaging in work that creates space for conversations around mental and spiritual health, joy, humor, stewardship, and community. Credits include: HBO Max, Clubbed Thumb, Gimlet Media.


Matt Gehring is a performer, writer and director of comedy. He’s been on Amazon, Netflix, Comedy Central and has spent years on the UCB stage. Check out the Broadway-Meets-Sketch show, SHIZ he created with Shaina Taub.

The 2021/22 CAMPers


Jonathan Cohall is more than a Comedian, he is a “Coneedian.” He has to make people laugh for it is his life force. Without humor, he is but a mere mortal. Jonathan received the 1st place prize in the NYC Video Festival sponsored by Showtime with a story about a subway comedian entitled Laugh Track, which was screened at The Paley Center for Media. He also appeared in One Girl Two Hairstyles, a web commercial with Broad City’s Ilana Glazer for curly hair care company Ouidad on YouTube. He was named a 2017 Improv Your Life Scholar and Newbie of the year at The Peoples Improv Theater. Most recently he was a winner of the 2018 NBC/UCB Diversity Scholarship.


Makasha Copeland is an actor, comedian and playwright. Their plays include Extreme Home Makeover (2019 Agnes Nixon Award, San Diego REP, Teatro Espejo, FAU Theatre Lab, Capital Rep, Theatre Exile), Fabuloso! (Vertigo Productions, Sideshow Theatre) and Pitbull’s B-Day (The Tank). Most recently, they co-created, co-wrote and performed in sketch-improv-play fusion Madre Mía/Minha Mãe through Ars Nova’s 2020 Camp residency. Makasha is a member of sketch and improv teams Resting Witch Face (iO, Second City) and Social Studies (Brooklyn Comedy Collective). They graduated from Northwestern University, where they performed, wrote and improvised with The Titanic Players, Griffin’s Tale, Mee-Ow and Out Da Box. Despite having long hair, they are nonbinary.

Chase Doggett is a Tejano writer, comedian and artist from Austin, TX. They are a creator, performer and host of various Brooklyn-based comedy shows, including Social StudiesKISS KISS and the ongoing comedy-variety show Kid Biologist. Their work has been featured through Brooklyn Comedy Collective, The Tank and 24 Hour Play Fest. Most recently, they co-created, co-wrote and performed in sketch-improv-play fusion Madre Mía/Minha Mãe through Ars Nova’s 2020 Camp residency. Chase is a graduate of Northwestern University, where they were a part of The Titanic Players, Griffin’s Tale and Out Da Box. They are currently in production on a comedic podcast series, You’re Gonna Remember Me. Chase Doggett is the fourteenth reason why.   

Gabrielle Silva is a performer from outside of Boston, MA. She recently completed her first Ars Nova Camp Residency where she co-created, co-wrote and performed in the sketch-improv-play fusion Madre Mía/Minha Mãe. Gabrielle has performed in Fabuloso! (Sideshow Theatre) and Extreme Home Makeover (Agnes Nixon Festival) and sings for the UN’s Global Goal Initiative. She is a graduate of Northwestern University where she directed Out Da Box Sketch and Comedy, and performed with THUNK and Griffin’s Tale.


Sam Kebede is a first-generation Ethiopian/Eritrean American from southern California. Though he used to be a neuroscientist, he now is an actor/playwright/comedian. TV/Film: Venice International Film Festival, Blue BloodsNew AmsterdamFull Frontal w/ Samantha Bee, HBO UrbanFilmFest. Theater: The Public, Ars Nova, IRT Theater, Chicago Shakes, B Street Theater, Adirondack Theater Festival. As a writer, he has helped create plays at The Public’s DTWG, Ars Nova’s ANT Fest, and had a full production at Victory Garden Theater in Chicago. And as a comedian, he performs all over whether it be a five-minute set at a small bar, or his longer hour-long set titled I’m Ostracized because I’m Ostrich-Sized at venues such as The PIT in NYC or Upstairs at The B in Sacramento. University of Connecticut: MFA Acting, Duke University: BS Neuroscience, BA Theater Studies, Minor Biology


Preston Martin (he/they) is a queer actor, director, writer and video artist based in Brooklyn, NY.  Preston has performed in over fifty venues in New York City and in eight countries across the world. They direct The Reality Show: NYU, a musical sketch comedy show centered around wellbeing and community. Three productions are annually devised for each of the NYU campuses in New York City, Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. Under Preston’s curation and direction, The Reality Show has performed at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Beacon, and Barclays Center, as well as at venues throughout Abu Dhabi and Shanghai. Preston has been a member of numerous sketch comedy groups including Liz Swados’ Political Subversities and Matt Gehring and Shaina Taub’s Shiz. On-screen, Preston devised and starred in The Rest of Us, an ensemble drama produced by Mary Stuart Masterson. They also danced in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women and will be seen in the upcoming Quinn Shephard film Not Okay. In these New Ways, Preston is investigating videography and digital audio skillsets and hopes to show you some stuff if you want? has some other stuff to know!


Emily Olcott is a Brooklyn-based actor, comedian, singer, writer and director. As an actor, she’s performed new work around NYC at The Flea, the PIT, 54 Below, NYU, Columbia, Signature Theater, Caveat and The Tank. As a comedian, she has performed original musical comedy at Ars Nova, Joe’s Pub, Club Cumming, Littlefield, Union Hall and more. Emily wrote the short film After You’ve Gone which debuted at the Golden Door International Film Fest, the original web series Garbage Town, solo comedy shows Choose Your Own Adventure and Women’s Healing Circle and the play The Group Chat, commissioned by the addiction education theater group Second Act. She has toured nationally with Story Pirates as an actor and director to venues like Utah Symphony, the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Center, and she is a frequent contributor on the Story Pirates Podcast. BA Northwestern but more importantly, a Sagittarius from New Jersey.


Sabrina Wang is a stand-up and comedy writer based in NYC. Sabrina likes using comedy to discuss the experiences of being Asian American and having lost a parent. In her college senior thesis, Good Luck, Sabrina performed stand-up about her mother’s immigration process, life in America and passing. Most recently she studied sketch writing at UCB. When Sabrina’s not doing comedy, she’s living out her childhood dream of having a pet.