Pioneers Go East Collective is an award-winning collective of multigenerational artists and activists in residence at La MaMa and Judson Church. The collective centers the voices of LGBTQ and Feminist artists and members of our community in New York City and beyond. Since 2010, the collective of artmakers, educators and social practitioners has been in-residence at arts and cultural centers throughout New York City. Presenting original works by a collective of multigenerational artists, our creative and social platforms of inclusion bring to the forefront the vulnerabilities still faced by our community. Since 2010, Pioneers Go East Collective has been an incubator of 12 theatre works, produced over 7 series and arts festivals, and has collaborated and presented works by more than 300 art-makers and theatre artists to date. The Collective presents a regular season of live performance, art and technology, educational and mentorship programs, and curated series including CROSSROADS SERIES, and NEW WORKS! OUT-FRONT examining LGBTQ and Feminist experiences. The collective has crossed paths with over 400 artists and created platforms of inclusion that have linked audiences in all five boroughs and in communities in New York State, through personal storytelling that blends heartfelt, humorous experiences infused with joy and high-energy.



Pioneers Go East Collective creates interdisciplinary performance that merges storytelling and video documentary of real events. Since 2010 the collective has been a proud company-in-residence at La MaMa, the historical arts complex in the East Village founded by Ellen Stewart. Recently we have been awarded a 2018-20 residency at Judson Church, one of the first avant-garde dance theater in New York City since the 1950's.

The collective explores LGBTQ and feminist stories that are not usually investigated and which reflect social-political vulnerabilities and otherness as a way towards provoking thought, casting impressionistic shadows. Inspired by Walt Whitman’s powerfully evocative poem “Pioneers! O Pioneers!” that pays homage to fearless courage, we are a collective of ‘pioneers’ set out to find a brighter future and record memories of collective and individual vulnerability and resilience. 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 LoForte, Daniel Diaz, Beth Graczyk, Julia Dobner-Pereira, and Philip Treviño 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, Juson Church, JACK, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, The LGBT Center, A.R.T./New York venue, The Tank, St Ann’s Warehouse, Governors Island as part of Process Space Residency, The Silent Barn, Astor Alive Festival, Estrogenius Festival, Incubator Arts Project/ Ontological Hysteric, Triskelion Arts/ The Exponential Festival, Dixon Place, Performance Mix/New Dance Alliance in partnership withHERE, Chashama Gallery in Harlem, Goethe Institut Gallery/ Wyoming Building. Additionally the collective presents works at Time Space Limited (Hudson - NY); and toured to Buddies in Bad Times, Toronto.

Programs & History: 

Since 2010 Pioneers Go East Collective develops works inspired by historical and social events, scientists, artists and spiritual leaders who have influenced the World. The collective works include CowboysCowgirls at JACK; a documentary about drag performance artist and advocate Agosto Machado; GEMINI stars - inspired by LGBTQvloggers 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 LGBTQ+ vloggers coming out on youtube (The Silent Barn ‘16/ The Exponential Festival 2017). Awards: NYSCA (multiyear 2017-19); NYSCA individual (2019); The Puffin Foundation 2013 & 2016; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2011-2018); DuBose & Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund (2018-19); Nancy Quinn Fund (2015, 2017 & 2018); Angels Fund. 

Staff: Gian Marco Lo Forte (artistic director/ writer & director/ educator); Daniel Diaz (resident writer, choreographer & lead performer/ educator); Beth Graczyk (resident artist and choreographer/ educator); Julia Dobner-Pereira (development advisor/ resident artist); Philip Treviño (resident designer); Jon Burklund (cinematographer); Agosto Machado (resident artist); Maura Nguyen Donohue (resident choreographer); Parijat Desai (resident choreographer); Hao Bai (resident designer). Joyce Isabelle (development consultant); Carolina Restrepo (graphic designer).

Board of Directors: Daniel Barry - president; Margaret Browne - secretary; Rhoda Cosme - treasurer; Jean Carbain - board member; Gian Marco Lo Forte - board member. Honorary Board of Directors: Beverly Petty, Annina Nosei, and Nicky Paraiso.

Funding: New York State Council of the Arts; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; The Puffin Foundation; Nancy Quinn Fund - A.R.T/ New York; The Kinley Fund; Off Broadway Angels Fund; Creative Space - A.R.T/ New York; DuBose & Dorothy Heyward Memorial Fund.

Pioneers Go East Collective is a a resident company at La MaMa since 2010, a company member at A.R.T./ New York since 2012; and a company in residence at Judson Church (2018-20).

Residencies: Judson Church (2018 on going); La MaMa (on going); 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 Institute (2011).

Collaborators: Mark Tambella – visual artist; Adam Cuthbert - composer; Rocco D’Santi - designer; Kamala Sankaram - composer. The collective has  collaborated and presented works by Chad Raines; Kat Yee; Maura Nguyen Donohue; Ellen Fisher; John Gutierez; Rebecca Hidalgo; Jose Rivera'; Anna/Kate Band (Kate Foster and Anna Gothard); Chloe Li Piazza; Mike Cotayo; Marisa Tornello; Fleur Voorn; Dmitri Barcomi; Seth Gilman; Ashley Winland; Daniel Allen Nelson; Nehprii Amenii; Jiyoun Chang; Marie Yokoyama; Michael Burke; Brian Walters; Allison Hiroto; John Gasper; Marina Celander; John Sully; Dorothy James Loechel; Ian Cherry; Emily Asaro; Coral Cohen; Angela Wendt; Xavier Reminick; Brittane Rowe; Jason Stanley; Catrin Lloyd Bollard; Ryan Downey; Becky Hubbert; George Drance; Sara Galassini; Gina DeMay; Maggie Robinson; Julia Sirna-Frest; Laura Marciano; Zoie Omega; Brendan Reilly; Jess Barbagallo; Niko Tsocanos; Parijat Desai Kathryn Lieber;Erick Montes.


Office: Pioneers Go East Collective is located at 140 2nd Ave, Suite 502, New York, NY 10003

Office hours: Monday through Thursday 10am-5pm and by appointment

Mailing address: Pioneers Go East Collective - 7 East 3rd Street, # 10 - New York, NY 10003



Daniel Diaz (writer/ performer/ video-maker/ curator), a NYC-based performance artist and educator, is a lead member of Pioneers Go East Collective. Joining in 2013, Diaz with projects presented in all five boroughs. Diaz works alongside LoForte, Trevino, and Graczyk, from concept to presentation on all the collective’s presented works. His passion has drawn him to aspects beyond dance and acting, including performance art, video-art and design. Diaz creates works from a queer male perspective to inform audiences and bring clarity on social-political injustices through storytelling, movement, burlesque, video and choreography. With a focus on modern and interpretative dance, Diaz has performed at various New York City venues including La MaMa, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, PS1 MoMa, The Brooklyn Museum, The Coney Island Sideshow, Joe’s Pub, Dixon Place, JACK Arts, Time Space Limited, as well as nightlife spots up and down the East Coast.

Beth Graczyk (choreographer/ performer/ educator), a Brooklyn-based artist and scientist, has been a resident artist with Pioneers Go East Collective since the 2016/17 season. She brings a decade of teaching nationally and internationally, working with populations spanning from non-dancers to advanced professionals. She recently began teaching movement practices to artists with developmental and mental disabilities through Interact Theater in Minneapolis and is commissioned to make a new dance work with their LGBTQIA artists in 2019. She is currently on staff at Peridance Capezio Center in New York where she co-teaches improvisation with John Gutierrez, and partners with BAIRA in Detroit as a teaching collaborator. In addition, Graczyk has performed throughout the United States and internationally in Japan, Ecuador, France and India for the past 17 years. Concurrently, she has contributed to 10 science publications in the field of cancer research. She co-directed the performance company Salt Horse in Seattle with Corrie Befort and Angelina Baldoz from 2008-2016. After moving to NYC five years ago, Graczyk launched a solo project called Desire Motor. In NYC, her solo works have been presented by Gibney, La MaMa, Judson Church, Jack, Triskelion, CPR, Movement Research, Oye Group and through Pioneer Goes East Collective. As a performer, Graczyk has most recently danced for Raja Kelly, Sara Shelton Mann, Mark Haim, Scott/Powell Performance, K.J. Holmes, and Jen Salk/Chase Angier. 

Gian Marco LoForte (writer/ director/ video-maker/ educator), a NYC-based, artist is dedicated to performance and social practice that reflects queer perspectives and vulnerability. LoForte founded Pioneers Go East Collective in 2010, an ensemble of performance and visual artists in residence at La MaMa and Judson Church. The group is dedicated to interdisciplinary projects that include storytelling of real events with interview-based video technology for social change. LoForte’s projects have been widely presented in NYC: La MaMa, JACK, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Dixon Place/ Hot! Festival, Galapagos Arts, Incubator Arts Project/ Ontological Hysterical, HERE Arts with Performance Mix/NDA, Governors Island/ LMCC, Art on Air/ Clock Tower Gallery, St Ann’s Warehouse, Chashama gallery in Harlem, Goethe Institute, A.R.T./New York, The Exponential Festival, Time Space Limited (Hudson, NY), Salon Radio Hosted by International Women Artists' Salon on City World Radio Network, and Judson Church. LoForte is in residence with Great Jones Rep. He has designed for Ellen Stewart at Biennale of Venice and toured in Europe. LoForte is recipient of numerous awards including NYSCA Individual Artist (2019), NYSCA Theatre program (2017-19), New Vic LabWorks Associate Artist (2015), St Ann’s Warehouse Puppet Lab residency (2014), LMCC’s Creative Engagement (2016-18), Opera America Director Award (2010), and Process Space /LMCC (2013-14). Since 2013, he has been teaching performance, dramaturgy, installation, and production design courses at Universities and in the Public-School System. He leads several of the collective’s Educational Programs designed as storytelling platforms for LGBTQ young adults. LoForte holds an MFA from Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.

Philip Treviño (lighting design/ environment design) is a resident artist with Pioneers Go East Collective. Treviño is a 2010 recipient of a New York Dance and Performance Award (BESSIE) for his lighting and scenic design for Pam Tanowitz’s Be in The Gray with Me. He is also the scenic designer for Camille A. Brown and Company’s Mr. Tol E. Rance, which won a 2014 BESSIE for Outstanding Production. Some of his other credits in lighting and scenic design can be seen in works by Brian Brooks Moving Company, Camille A. Brown and Dancers, Henning Rübsam’s Sensedance, Kymera Dance and Pam Tanowitz Dance. His work has toured nationally, internationally, and at venues including BAM, The Joyce, Joyce Soho, DTW, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The Kitchen, New York City Center, and Jacob’s Pillow. He has stage managed for Trisha Brown Dance Company and José Limón Dance Company. Treviño is a proud alumnus of San Francisco State University and is the current Technical Director for the Dance Department at Marymount Manhattan College where he teaches Production. (