Discipline: Theatre – playwriting

Penny Arcade

Discipline: Theatre – playwriting
Region: New York, NY
MacDowell Fellowships: 2014

Penny Arcade (a.k.a. Susana Ventura) is an internationally respected performance artist, writer, poet, and experimental theatre maker known for her magnetic stage presence, her take-no-prisoners wit, and her content-rich plays and one liners. She is the author of 10 scripted performance plays and hundreds of performance art pieces. Her work has always focused on the other and the outsider, giving voice to those marginalized by society. Her willingness to speak truth to power at the expense of career concerns has made her an international icon of artistic resistance. Her decades long focus on the creation of community and inclusion as the goals of performance and her efforts to use performance as a transformative act mark her as a true original in American theatre and performance.

She debuted at 18 in John Vaccaro's explosive Playhouse of The Ridiculous the seminal political, glitter/glam,queer, rock and roll theatre and was a Warhol Superstar at 19, featured in the Warhol/Morrissey film Women In Revolt. She considers herself a conceptualist and interdicipinary artist who mediates her work thru non fiction, perforamnce art, experimental theatre, poetry, video, and music.

In 2014, she and longtime collaborator Steve Zehentner worked on a new performance piece, Longing Lasts Longer. As of late 2022, the work had been performed 207 times in 47 cities around the world, winning many awards in international festivals and was still touring.

Portrait by Jasmine Hirst



Penny Arcade worked in the Adams studio.

Given to the MacDowell Association by Margaret Adams of Chicago, the half-timbered, stuccoed Adams Studio was designed by MacDowell Fellow and architect F. Tolles Chamberlin ca. 1914. Chamberlin was primarily a painter, but also provided designs for the Lodge and an early renovation of the main hall. The studio’s structural integrity was restored during a thorough renovation in…

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