2014 - Present
An artist-owned-and-driven project creating a multi-use community hub and experimental performance complex in Baltimore.
Founding Artistic Director
2009 - 2018
A multi-use space focused on interdisciplinary collaboration and development of bold new works. "A hub of artistic activity” that was voted Best Arts Collective (Baltimore City Paper) and Best Multi-use Art Space, EMP has been lauded as one of the boldest “visions to change Baltimore” (Baltimore Magazine).
Founding Curator & Producer
2014 - 2018
A salon and event series for the discussion and development of performance art work.
2022, 2020 - Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD
2018 - YCI Salzburg Global Seminar - Salzburg, Austria
2017 - Towson University - Baltimore, MD
2017 - University of Baltimore - Baltimore, MD
2016 - Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD
2015 - Labbodies Retrospective - Baltimore, MD
2015 - Women in the Arts Conversation Series - Baltimore, MD
2014 - Coppin State University - Baltimore, MD
Life or Theatre? - Director, Writer. Presented by Annex Theater. World Premiere.
Red Death - Performer. Written by Lisa D'Amour, Directed by Cricket Arrison. Presented by Psychic Readings Company.
The Tempest - Performer. Written by William Shakespeare. Presented by Annex Theater.
Stupid Ghost - Director. Written by Savannah Reich. Presented by Annex Theater. World Premiere.
1-800-MICE - Performer, Co-Writer. From Matthew Thurber's graphic novel, Directed by Sarah Jacklin. Presented by Annex Theater. World Premiere.
Cleveland - Director. Written by Mac Welman. Presented for the Baltimore Late Night Theatre Series.
Flatland - Devising Performer. Presented by Annex Theater. World Premiere.
The World is Round - Performer. Directed by Lola Pierson, Music by Jenn Wasner, Based on Gertrude Stein. Presented by Annex Theater/Acme Corporation. World Premiere.
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman - Performer. Directed by Maggie Villegas. Presented by Annex Theater.
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover - Performer. Directed by Emily Hall. Presented by Annex Theater.
White Suit Science - Performer. Written by Sean Reddy, Directed by Jessica Garrett. Presented by Single Carrot Theater.
Argonne - Performer. Written by Kaitlin Murphy. Annex Theatre. World Premiere.
Condo Condo Condoland - Performer, Producer. Written by Liz Maestri, Directed by Maggie Villegas. Presented by EMP Collective. World Premiere.
(...and you're just not good enough.) - Devising Performer, Producer. Presented by EMP Collective.
NIGHT SWEATS - Devising performer, Producer. Presented by EMP Collective.
WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE! - Devising performer, Producer. Presented by EMP Collective.
DIE MOMMIE! DIE! - Performer. Written by Charles Busch. Presented by Silver Spring Stage.
Sex & Education - Performer. Presented by Doorway Arts Theatre.
Cavers - Performer. Presented by Nu Sass Productions.
Memory Foam - Performer. Centerstage, Le Mondo.
In Plain Sight(site) - Performer. Ongoing series. Le Mondo.
Sin Eater - Performer. Current Gallery, Labbodies Retrospective, and Fields Festival.
In Taking Space - Performer. Also featuring Alex D'Agostino and Noelle Tolbert. Room, Maryland Institute College of Art.
Superwomen - Performer. Created by Emilia Pennanen and Marcelline for GRLPOWER.
Tidal Swell - Performer. With Emilia Pennanen. Tidal Swell, EMP Collective.
soft. pricking. painful: a seduction. - Performer. With Emilia Pennanen. The Sun is Softly Setting / the world it simply turns, curated by Michael Wasteneys Stephens, Penthouse.
What you should do is - Performer. Pulse salon series, EMP Collective.
We hope you enjoy our performance. - Performer. Pulse series (Baltimore) and for Little Berlin Praxis series (Philadelphia, PA).
Of screens, remainders, and holds; with an eye towards separation, nose for the drift - Solo Performer and Performance Curator. Current Gallery.
hopelessly devoted 2 u - Performer. LADYPARTS, curated by Alexandra "Rex" Delafkaran and Eames Armstrong, Aether Art Projects.
Community Catalyst Award - City of Baltimore - 2021 - "For the significant impact of your efforts on our city's development and your outstanding work to promote equity and community development in long-disinvested neighborhoods"
Social Innovation Fellow - Johns Hopkins University Social Innovation Lab - 2020
Young Cultural Innovator - Salzburg Global Seminar - 2018
Best of Baltimore - Le Mondo - Baltimore Magazine - 2017
Best Play - Cleveland - Baltimore City Paper #1 Play - 2016
Best Theatre - Annex Theater - Baltimore Magazine - 2016
Best Company - Annex Theater - Baltimore City Paper - 2016
Best Series - Pulse - Baltimore City Paper - 2015
Best Play - The World is Round - Baltimore City Paper, Baltimore Sun, Top Ten - 2015
Best Multi-Use Space - EMP Collective - Baltimore City Paper - 2014
Best Collective - EMP Collective - Baltimore City Paper - 2012
WORDS FROM OTHERS
Since coming to Baltimore as one of the co-founders of the creative hive the EMP Collective, Carly Bales has become an integral actor/performer in both the city's do-it-yourself theater and experimental performance art communities. [...more]
[Carly Bales is] our DIY theater’s most go-for-broke performer, who appears to have encouraged the cast to reach for the preposterous—and then see what might lie just on the other side of that.
- Baltimore City Paper
[Bales’ performance] rides the knife’s edge that separates the deadly serious from the utterly preposterous, where you laugh at reality’s absurdities to keep from flinging yourself under a bus.
- BMORE ART
Bales is faultless, navigating the head-snap changeability in the script with frightening ease.
- Baltimore City Paper
A big plus in this venture is the spot-on performance of Carly J. Bales in the title role, so memorably created by Louise Lasser. It's not so much an imitation as it is a similar case of character absorption. Bales has what it takes to be Mary Hartman, through and through, and her portrayal is bound to get even more telling as the show's run continues.
- Baltimore Sun
Bales nails the role, effortlessly moving from jittery good cheer to faux product placement asides, from strained intimacy with Tom to chatty denials about Grandpa Larkin with the police.
- BMORE ART
[Bales] does wonders throughout the play to convey both Mary’s strength and fragility, oscillating feverishly between nervous timidity and tireless resolve.
- Baltimore City Paper
[Bales] manages to channel the original and make it totally unique. This is a celebration of a performance, a showing of someone who really, really gets it.
- Bad Oracle
For years, most of the 400 block of Howard Street sat dormant. But this summer after three years of planning, fundraising, and rebuilding, the first part of this unprecedented art space and performance venue opened, proving that with hard work, anything is possible.
- Baltimore Magazine
Artists can help revitalize derelict strips; the city and state can help the artists get started. The combination, Bales says, means Baltimore is “able and empowered to take huge, bold risks."
- Washington Post
"What Le Mondo and Current represent are models and catalysts for other sustainable arts activities," Solomon says.
- BMORE Art Magazine
Cultural activity has been blooming in downtown Bromo Arts District — and one of the most ambitious projects is Le Mondo, an arts development nonprofit organization led by artists.
- Baltimore Sun
This is not just another redevelopment project, but something conceived as a downright noble cause. There's something very cool and heartening about such idealism and commitment. Considering that the arts groups are part of the DIY, decidedly low-budget movement in town, there's something very brave about all of this, too...
The next great chapter in the history of downtown Baltimore is just waiting to be written. The first, tantalizing paragraphs were provided on Thursday.
- Baltimore Sun
"Women Artistic Directors of DC"
“Extremely Magical People”
-Baltimore Style Magazine
“10 Visions to Change Baltimore (for the better!)”
“EMP Ready for Next Act in New Space”
Art galleries are not always the most welcoming places [...] That kind of atmosphere makes us glad to have EMP, which hosts terrific art, but also theater, its Odd Tuesdays Cineclub repertory series, artist salons, live street-art painting with DJs, and much more. In any given month it’s hard not to find at least one thing you’d like to attend. But the effort EMP has put into securing a new space—with five other theaters on North Howard Street—may have been the best thing it did this year.
- Baltimore City Paper
EMP is spearheading a movement which strives to defy boundaries, cross disciplines, and remain on the cutting edge of experimental multi-media performance.
- What Weekly
Spooky Action at a Distance - Performer. Kennedy Center.
Skunk Ape - Performer. Written by Brad Cartwright. Centerstage.
Shelter - Performer; written by Josh Mikel. EMP Collective.
Fallbeil - Performer. Written by Liz Maestri. Goldleaf Studios.
Condo Condo Condoland - Performer. Written by Liz Maestri. Centerstage 50Fest.
Dust - Performer. Written by Danielle Mohlman. Kennedy Center.
Tinderbox - Performer. Written by Liz Maestri. Forum Theatre.
Life or Theatre? - Play based on the art and life of painter Charlotte Salomon.
1-800-MICE - Play adapted from the Matthew Thurber cult comic series.
DC Theatre Scene - critic, Capital Fringe Festival.
Performance Work Publications
Sin Eater - Emergency INDEX Vol. 6
Life or Theatre? - Emergency INDEX Vol. 8
In Plain Sight(site) - Ongoing performance series, 2020-2022.
Pulse - Ongoing performance series, 2014 - 2018.
We're All Strangers Here - Group show of installation works.
mIrrorspeak - Group show featuring 15+ regional artists and performers.
REJECT THE GAZE - Featuring Lacey Anderson and Sylvia O + performances from Carly J Bales, Josh Buursma, Brad Cartwright, Liz Maestri, & Tia Nina.
Genesis - Multi-city gallery show and pop-up performances inspired by Eduardo Galeano's work.
Exquisite Corpse - Group show of installation works.
Selected Producing Work
Strange Terrain - Duo gallery show of fibers and photography by Aaron McIntosh and Nick Simko.
RFP - Large-scale gallery installation by Amanda Burnham.
Adult Baby Toy - Gallery show of sculptural works by Gina Denton.
Tidal Swell - Gallery show of video and performance works by Emilia Pennanen.
Behold the Man - New Play by Connor Kizer.
Potatoes of August - Play by Sybil Kempson.
Baltimore One Minute Play Festival - In partnership with OMPF NYC, 25 local playwrights, 30+ actors, 50 world premieres in one night.
Catalyst - Large-scale mural show of regional street artists.
Connect the Dots - Gallery show of dance and multidisciplinary work curated by Erin Rehberg of Core Project Chicago.
Illumination + Snack - Solo show of paintings and drawings by Kate McGraw.
Night Gallery - Solo show of paintings by Chris Fitzwater.
A Brief Narrative of an Extraordinary Birth of Rabbits - Play by C. Denby Swanson, Directed by Elissa Goetschius.
Source Festival 2011 - DC New Work Festival - 18 10-Minute Plays, three Full-Length Plays and three Artistic Blind Dates.
The Emperor and the Moon - Theatre piece by Cameron Stuart.
Girls & Skulls - Solo show of drawings and paintings by Craig Horky.
One Million and One Awful Ways to Die - Solo show of drawings by Josh Mikel.
Foundation - Solo show of paper works by Sara Barnes.
Just What I See - Solo show of photography by Greg Schmigel.
Fluidtoons - Solo show of animation by Brett Thompson.
Down Through the Needle's Eye - Group show curated by Rotating History Project.
Plain Garbage and Other Concerns - Ongoing video collaboration with artist Emilia Pennanen.
Kaspar - Performer. Acme Corporation. Video short.
Hoop's the Boss? - Performer, Writer. Video short.
JOIN US - Performer. Video short series
Not Waving, But Drowning - Performer; White Horse Pictures. Feature film.
+ 15 additional short films, commercials, and industrials - list available upon request.