ANYA MARTIN, Founding Artistic and Producing Director
Martin is the Founding Artistic and Producing Director, and lead writer and director for Hiawatha Project an original theatre-making company in Pittsburgh. Hiawatha Project creates original performances exploring specific social questions through myth, free association, and movement.
Martin specializes in writing and directing devised works with ensembles of artists. As a playwright and director for Hiawatha Project, Martin’s “Camino” produced in 2011, is a poetic exploration of the consequences of laws such as Arizona SB 1070 and the profitable business of private immigrant detention centers in the U.S. “Camino” was praised as “smart, sharp and witty, not to mention spoken in three languages” (City Paper) with “scenes of imagination and poetic insight.” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
Her “JH: Mechanics of a Legend” melds the language of mechanics, century old ballads and primary historical records to explore the legend of John Henry “where properties of physics become harrowing metaphors for human power relationships.” (City Paper) Praised as a “fever dream of history” that will “will alternately rouse you and break your heart,” “JH” was presented in 2014 as a part of the New Hazlett Theater’s competitive CSA Performance Series, and was produced in 2017 at the August Wilson Center after winning a prestigious $50,000 programming grant. (City Paper)
In 2019, she wrote and directed, “My Traveling Song” an original play with music especially made for children ages 1-5, the young at heart, and the grown-ups who love them. With live music, tactile play and rich imagery, “My Traveling Song” uplifts relationships between children and their caregivers. In the sold-out premiere run of “My Traveling Song” “both young children and their adult minders were captivated by the show’s many moments of interactivity” and the show was praised as “gentle, comforting, and playful.” (Pittsburgh Tatler) A collaborative touring production of “My Traveling Song” presented by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and Hiawatha is planned for the May of 2021.
Plays written and produced outside of her work with Hiawatha Project include her plays “Anthropological Data: with actual human footage!” featured in Carnegie Mellon University’s International Festival in 2007, and “Teatro Latino de Pittsburgh” commissioned and produced as a part of Pittsburgh 250 celebrations in 2008. Her one woman show, “Muslims, Mennonites, and Mommies” was presented at the Mattress Factory as a part of ArtUp’s acclaimed Sites of Passage in 2012.
In 2018 her play “Helen at the Gym” was a winner in RedBull Theater’s Annual Short Play Festival in NYC and was presented alongside works by theatre legends Tina Howe and Doug Wright. You can purchase her play in the Red Bull Shorts Volume 4 by Playscripts.
Martin has worked in New York with the Vineyard Theatre, West End Theatre, Epiphany Theater Company, and International Wow, and regionally with Arena Stage and the Living Stage in D.C. In Pittsburgh she has worked with City Theatre Company, Bricolage Production Company, The New Hazlett Theater, ArtUp and the Mattress Factory.
Martin is an Adjunct Professor in directing at Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama where she also received her BFA in Directing graduating with University and College Honors. She earned her MFA in Theater from Sarah Lawrence College with a focus on devised and experimental works.
Martin is a 2011 Flight School Fellow with Creative Capital/Pittsburgh Filmmakers, and a Pittsburgh Magazine “40 Under 40” honoree for 2013. She was an artist in residence in 2013 for the New Hazlett Theater, and a Carol R. Brown Creative Achievement Award nominee for Emerging Artist in 2016. She served as a judge for Some1Speaking and HearMeOut monologue competition in 2020. She is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild, and a member of the New Play Network.
Martin grew up in a Mennonite family in rural PA, and now lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and two children.
Click Here to view Anya Martin’s Curriculum Vitae.
HEATHER IRWIN, Artistic Associate Producer
Heather Irwin is the Artistic Associate Producer for Hiawatha Project, as well as actor, arts administrator, and idea generator. Irwin is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh where she received a BA in Theater and English Literature. In addition to Hiawatha Project, she has worked in arts administration roles for The Kings Head Theater (London, England), City Theatre (Pittsburgh, PA), Porthouse Theatre (Kent, OH), the Chicago Humanities Festival (Chicago, IL) and Sideshow Theatre Company (Chicago, IL). She officially joined Hiawatha Project in 2014 as Community Coordinator for the workshop production of “JH: Mechanics of a Legend” as part of the New Hazlett’s CSA program. She went onto the role of Associate Producer for the 2017 debut of “JH” at the August Wilson Center, and was part of the production and artistic team for the 2019 premiere of “My Traveling Song” at Carnegie Stage.
As an actor, Irwin has performed in two national tours with The Hampstead Stage Company (Barnstead NH) prior to relocating to Chicago, IL. Chicago credits include “Heddatron” (Sideshow Theatre Company as part of the 2011 Steppenwolf Garage Rep Series), “The Lady’s Not For Burning” and “Private Eyes” (NEIU Center Stage) and “Night Caps” (Lincoln Square Theater). Irwin originated the role of Myra in “My Traveling Song” (Hiawatha Project), Other Pittsburgh credits include work with Prime Stage Theater, City Theater, and 12 Peers. Film credits include Tess in “Straight & Narrow” (Red Slate Productions), and commercial credits include Pip & Lola’s, UPMC, MedExpress, and GetGo.
Irwin lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and three children.