Pioneers Go East Collective creates music-performance that merge acting and video documentary of real events. In residence at La MaMa since 2010, the collective explores stories that are not usually investigated and which reflect social-political vulnerabilities and otherness as a way towards provoking thought, casting impressionistic shadows. As ‘pioneers’ on a long journey, the collective finds and records memories of collective and individual courage to challenge audiences in emotionally charged yet accessible performances.

Gian Marco Lo Forte, Daniel Diaz, Maura Nguyen Donohue, Abby Felder, Julia Dobner-Pereira, Kamala Sankaram and John Sully lead the collective in collaboration with a community of like-minded writers, performers, musicians, and visual artists. The collective has been widely presented in NYC at La MaMa, St Ann’s Warehouse, Governors Island, The Silent Barn, Astor Alive Festival, Incubator Arts Project, Triskelion Arts/ The Exponential Festival, Dixon Place, Performance Mix/ HERE, Chashama Harlem Gallery, Goethe Institut Gallery.


Since 2010 PGEC develops works inspired by historical and social events, scientists, artists and spiritual leaders who have influenced the World. PGEC works include GEMINI stars - inspired by LGBTQ vloggers coming out on youtube juxtaposed to gay bashing on the internet; AMERICAN MILL No. 2 –based on interviews from the textile belt of the South (A.R.T/New York ‘16); MJ WAS INNOCENT… the story of Queer artist Burke that challenges the expected values of the LGBTQ community (HOT Festival; Performance Mix/ HERE ‘15); HILDEGARD (vision) about spiritual leader Hildegard Von Bingen, and her transcendence of gender confines through her creative process (St Ann’s Warehouse & Governors Island, 2013-14); MARIA CELESTE (GALILEO) based on the epistolary correspondence between Maria Celeste and her father Galileo (Incubator Arts Project ‘14); 7AM based on St Francis visions (IAP ‘13); S16 based on Pirandello’s story of boys working in sulfur mines (La MaMa ‘12); The Birds and The Wolf live video installation (Chashama/Harlem Gallery, and Goethe Institut  ’11-‘12). Upcoming: GEMINI STARS based on LGBQT vloggers coming out on youtube (The Silent Barn ‘16/ The Exponential Festival 2017). PGEC awards: Puffin Foundation 2013; LMCC (2011-2015); Nancy Quinn Fund (2015); PGEC are affiliate artists with New Victory LabWorks program 2015/16. Upcoming: American Mill No. 2 at A.R.T./ New York; GEMINI Stars at The Silent Barn in 2016/17.



Gian Marco Lo Forte (artistic director PGEC/director & writer): Originally from Italy, Gian Marco is a New York based artist and artist-in-residence at La MaMa. Gian Marco founded Pioneers Go East Collective (PGEC) in 2010, which has developed multimedia projects with music and poetry. In addition to his work with PGEC, Gian Marco is Curator of SOUND DEPARTURES at La MaMa and Coordinator of La MaMa Moves. Gian Marco's directing and design work was presented at La MaMa, Dixon Place Galapagos; HERE; WET; Abingdon; NYTW; Art on Air/ Clock Tower Gallery; and he designed for Pan Asian Rep; Magis Co; Watson Arts; Operating Theatre; Slant; May Adrales; Ernest Abuba; Alvin Eng; Kevin Augustine; Kim Ima; Ellen Stewart. Gian Marco is in residence with Great Jones Rep and has designed at Biennale di Venezia and toured in Europe. Awards: LMCC (’11 -‘14); Incubator Arts Project Residency ('13 & '14); The Puffin Foundation (’12 & '14); Chashama Residency (’12); Opera America - Director & Design Award (’10). MFA NYU (’09).

John Sully (composer & sound designer) is a NYSCA awarded composer multi-instrumentalist from New York City. As the resident composer for TEMPORARY DISTORTION, Sully has created the music and sound designs for the stage productions, ONE WILL SPEAK/THE OTHER IS DEAD, WELCOME TO NOWHERE, AMERICANA KAMIKAZE, and NEW YORK LAND, as well as AN INSTRUMENT FOR THE MEASURE OF ABSENCE and the feature length film project, an adaptation of Welcome to Nowhere (Bullet Hole Road). Also a resident artist at IDEAL GLASS, sully has created the scores for SAINT HOLLYWOOD, DANDY, MAD SUPPER and PURPLE JESTER and numerous Ideal Glass produced videos and is an original member of the IDEAL ORKESTRA. He’s also an affiliated artist with award winning theater company RIPE TIME and has seen the world as a touring member of LA MAMA’s GREAT JONES REP. and LOCO 7. Sully’s original installations IDEAL BEACH, IDEAL VALLEY and IDEAL AVENUE were featured in NYC Fringe festival and FABnyc. In 2014 Sully was an artist in residency at Robert Wilson's Watermill Center. Additional residency at EMPAC Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center. Also his latest work with Temporary Distortion's “My Voice Has An Echo In It” was presented at VIA & EXIT Festival International in France and COIL festival 2015.

Maura Nguyen Donohue has been making dance-based performance works in NYC since 1995. Her solo and inmixedcompany group works have been produced and presented in NYC at Dance Theater Workshop (now NY Live Arts), PS 122, Danspace Project, La Mama, and Mulberry St. Theater and have toured across the US and to Canada, Europe and Asia. She is an assistant professor in dance at Hunter College, writes for Culturebot, and serves on the NY Dance and Performance Awards (Bessies) committee and Movement Research’s artist advisory council. She has collaborated with Adam on projects for La Mama Moves, The Asia Society, and Pioneers Go East Collective.

Abby Felder (PGEC artist-in-residence / writer & designer of puppetry, animations and masks)For PGEC: script development, dramaturgy, costumes, masks and puppets for productions/installations at La MaMa, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Incubator Arts Project, Goethe Institut, and Chashama, including puppet design HILDEGARD (Vision) which was part of the Puppet Lab/Labapalooza at St. Ann’s Warehouse, and I FIORETTI with Jane Catherine Shaw at La MaMa.   Puppetry credits for which she has served as director, designer include ELEKTRA, which she adapted (Workshop Theater); SLUG AND SNAIL, a solo-performance for children with music she wrote and performs; and A YEAR WITH FROG AND TOAD and CHARLOTTE’S WEB for Asheville Creative Arts (a children’s theatre company she co-founded in NC). In development: LINT HEAD, a TYA piece with puppets about children working in Southern textile mills in early 20th C. She has worked at Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, Czechoslovak American Marionette Theatre, EST, HERE, Concrete Temple.  


 Gian Marco Lo Forte - Artistic Director

John Sully - Resident composer and sound designer

Maura Nguyen Donohue - Resident choreographer

Julia Dobner-Pereira - Development Consultant

Poorna Swami - Development Associate

John Issendorf - Marketing Advisor

Joyce Isabelle - Development Advisor

Board of Directors: Daniel Barry, Steve Swanson, Karen Lopienski, Beverly Petty, Meg Reticker, David Freberg. Honorary Board of Directors: Annina Nosei and Nicky Paraiso

Collaborators: Chad Raines - composer / Adam Cuthbért - composer / Kathryn Lieber - designer / Mark Tambella – visual artist / Rocco D’Santi - designer / Jiyoun Chang - designer / Kamala Sankaram - composer / Michael Burke – writer

Performers & musicians: Anthony Napoletano, Seth Gilman, Ashley Winland, Elise Brancheau, Daniel Allen Nelson, Nehprii Amenii, Brian Walters, Allison Hiroto, John Gasper, Michael Lapinsky, Marina Celander, Ian Cherry, Daniel Diaz



Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

The Puffin Foundation

Nancy Quinn Fund

Pioneers Go East Collective is a a resident company at La MaMa since 2010

Pioneers Go East Collectiveis a member company at A.R.T./ New York since 2012.


A.R.T./New York - Theatre Pilot program (2017)

New Victory LabWorks - Professional Development Artists (2015/16)

Process Space/ Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2014)

St Ann’s Warehouse – Puppet Lab (2013/14)

Incubator Arts Project (2013/14)

Chashama (2011)

Goethe Institut (2011)

La MaMa (on going)