After last Saturday’s performance of Party People by Universes, held at the Vineyard Arts Project, company member Mildred Ruiz-Sapp addressed the audience.

“Whoever is in the room when we are creating a piece is responsible for something,” said Ms. Ruiz-Sapp. “You are all responsible for having a voice or an opinion. So before you guys leave, we expect at least two pages in writing.”

She was joking, but just about the written feedback.

The performance was the culmination of a recent creative residency at Vineyard Arts Project, which was founded by Ashley Melone.

“The whole model of doing open performances is to showcase the process,” said Ms. Melone. “A lot of times when you are at a major theatre in New York you see a finished product with lights and costumes. Here you are in a studio together, 10 feet away from performers.”

Party People is a high energy jazz, blues and hip-hop musical that explores the legacy of the Black Panthers and Puerto Rican Young Lords in the aftermath of an American revolution. While in residence, Universes company members Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp and William Ruiz (aka Ninja) developed, revised and performed excerpts of the show.

“It definitely feels like a piece about the past but also about the present,” said Liesl Tommy, the director of the piece. “We have to keep staying on top of the story and look at what is happening with youth and political action in this country right now.”

During the residency, company members and the director were guided by Oskar Eustis, the artistic director of The Public Theater in New York city. Through the residency, The Public Theater is able to collaborate with artists whose work they are committed to staging in the near future. For Universes, this was particularly beneficial as time spent together as a company is even more prized when oceans and continents lie between its members.

“Mildred and I live in Ashland, Ore., Liesl is in New York and Ninja lives in Puerto Rico,” said Mr. Sapp. “So having this retreat is essential for all of us to get together to work on the piece again.”

“Somehow or another when we are here a sense of urgency and anxiety is lifted, which is always a good place to work creatively from,” added Ms. Tommy. “You don’t feel like you are under the gun and you don’t feel like you are being judged. You are just here to create and generate ideas together.”

Next season’s fully staged production of Party People at The Public Theater will be the play’s third iteration. It was first performed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and then at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre.

Upcoming events at Vineyard Arts Project include the return of PigPen Theatre Co. on July 17, Cirio Collective on July 18 and Flying Over Sunset on August 27 and 28.

Also, tonight, July 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. is the fifth annual Art4Art benefit party held on the lawn. AndrewAndrew will DJ the event, which will feature silent auction items such as tickets to opening night of Shakespeare in the Park, a set visit to Law & Order: SVU, a stay at a villa in St. Maarten, and more.

Vineyard Arts Project is located at 215 Upper Main street, Edgartown.

For a full list of events, visit