Monica Hunken

 is an activist, storyteller, and teacher who creates docu-adventure plays inspired by her international bicycle voyages.  Monica has been currently developing a new solo performance with music called Mt Rushmore, developed at her artist residency in SPACE on Ryder Farm and the Fish Factory in Iceland.   She is also performing a series of 45 performance art pieces against fascism as well as an immersive ensemble piece, Outside the World, that places audience members in the shoes of refugees entering a camp.  It has been produced at HERE Arts Center as part of the Sanctuary Festival and in Maine at the BarnArts Residency program.  She is the recipient of the Petrolio Performance Art Award 2017 in recognition for her commitment towards addressing urgent social issues with artistic responses, as well as significant engagement with the audiences' needs in terms of resources for critical thinking and direct action.  Her first play, Reading the Water, (dir. Laura Newman) produced at HERE, selected for the American Living Room Festival, explores the mysterious death of her scientist father and illuminates the dangerous conditions at his laboratory.  Blondie of Arabia,  (dir. Laura Newman) produced at The Living Theatre, tells the tale of Hunken’s solo bike ride across the Middle East.  It won first place, the Audience Award, at the Apostrof Festival in Prague and was selected for the Theater of Change Festival in Athens, Greece, Sibiu Intnl. Theater Festival in Romania, Glastonbury Festival in England, Colchester Arts Centre, Beyond the Border International Storytelling Festival in Wales and De Parade Festival in the Netherlands.   Her third play, The Wild Finish, (dir. Melissa Chambers) about her bicycle journey across Poland to find the story of her grandfather, was originally produced in Culture Project’s Women Center Stage Festival, again by the Polish Cultural Institute and has been chosen for the Amsterdam Fringe, Porsgrunn International Theater Festival in Norway, The International Storyteller's Festival at Grodza Gate in Lublin, Poland, Studio Alta in Prague, Czech Republic and Horse’s Mouth Theater Festival in Sydney, Australia.  Collaborations include: Mud, The Musical! which she co-wrote and starred in, Another Hero; a Choose Your Own Adventure Climate Show-an immersive production which she co-created and performed in, City That Sleeps; An investigation into New Yorkers' Dreams which she conceived, and Head in the Sand-a collaboration with Smoke and Mirrors Collaborative.  Hunken earned a B.F.A. in Drama from ETW and an M.A. in Educational Theatre at NYU and has since taught  in Thailand, Greece, India, Australia, trained in Amsterdam, Poland, and Ireland.  Monica is also an activist who has worked with environmental, bicycle advocacy group  Time’s-Up!, co-founded Occupy The Pipeline to organize creative direct action against the Spectra Pipeline in the West Village, was Action Captain for  Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping for a decade, is a creative direct action trainer with Beautiful Trouble, is a training coordinator for Resist Spectra and co-founded all-women bicycle dance troupe NYBike Dance.   Hunken has performed with Les Freres Corbusier, International WOW, Scott Lyons and Co., Not Man Apart Physical Theater Company and is a member of The Living Theatre Company, with whom she has toured across the United States with a ritualistic play and a series of theatrical interventions at sites of injustice, through Europe doing a workshop series with immigrant populations and most recently in Sao Paulo, Brazil developing a brand new play, Despertar Electrico (Electric Awakening) with 20 local performers.  


“Monica Hunken, one of the eminent actresses of our time, .. An extraordinary artist, she is able to use her body and her voice - in fact several voices - to expand the theatrical vocabulary so that the spectator rides the myriad aspects of an extraordinary life - through the physical and spiritual rigor of one multi-faceted actress.
— Judith Malina, Founder of The Living Theatre