Imagine a culture…
Where you can be inspired and encouraged in your faith. Where stories of sacrificial love and heroic witness are celebrated. Where God has a voice.
The Merry Beggars is making that happen.
The Merry Beggars is an initiative of young Catholic artists who aren’t content with an entertainment industry committed to excluding our faith, morals, and convictions. We need a culture celebrating the nobility of the human person, the adventure of sacrificial love, and the radical freedom made possible by our faith.
That’s why we’re here.
The Merry Beggar’s mission is to help Catholic artists create raw, powerful, and adventurous theater capable of transforming lives.
Apply to our programs:
A four day summer intensive equipping Catholic high school drama teachers with the tools and resources they need to create life-changing theater.
A six-month residency program for Catholic playwrights to create new scripts, workshop them with professional actors, and produce them throughout the United States.
Join Our Mission
Join a community of visionary givers helping to heal our culture. Help create the culture you want to see.
Become a Merry Beggar!
Peter Atkinson founded The Merry Beggars in 2017 while finishing his MFA at Columbia University in New York City. He graduated from Ave Maria University in 2015 where he learnt Latin, Greek, and Hebrew - as well as performed in Shakespeare. On any given day, you can find him evangelizing others on the power of theater, writing plays, or performing magic tricks for anyone who will pay attention. Learn more →
Chief Operations Officer
Naomi Campagne earned her B.F.A. in Drama at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. She studied primarily at The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. Above all, she desires her artistry to glorify God and is thrilled to be part of such a revolutionary organization. Most days, you can find Naomi integrating theatre into lesson plans, writing and sketching a children's book, and taking in the wonderful people she encounters each day, even if only for a moment.
Senior Development Director
Melissa Maricich is a New York City based actress, singer and dancer whose path to producing came through performance. Her performance credits include Guys and Dolls at Argyle Theatre, Phantom at Westchester Broadway and The Signature Project Off-Broadway along with various short-films and developmental works. Originally from Seattle where she grew up training in the arts, rough-housing with her 6 brothers, and trying to eat as much chocolate as she could reasonably get ahold of, Melissa is passionate about connecting people with shared purposes and resources. Learn more →
Renée Darline Roden
Renée Darline Roden is a New York City-based writer and playwright. Renée has a B.A. in theatre and theology from the University of Notre Dame, where she also received her M.T.S. in systematic theology in 2018. As a playwright, her work has appeared at Open Booth Theatre, the Bushwick Starr, Dixon Place, and Triskelion Arts. Her writing has also appeared in, Commonweal, Our Sunday Visitor, Howlround, and Church Life Journal. She believes in the power of theatre to transform the human soul and open up our imaginations to grace.
Chief Content Officer
Nick Ciavarra is a director and PhD student at the University of Georgia. He received a Master of Letters and a Master of Fine Arts at Mary Baldwin University and his Bachelors at Ave Maria University. Nick believes in the power of art to teach and grow the human soul and wants to pass on that belief to as many students as he can. In his free time he volunteers with the local youth group and enjoys reading books that weren't assigned for a class.
Board of Directors
Donna Bradt is the founder of the Mary & Mercy Center which spreads Marian and Divine Mercy devotions among Catholic young adults. Through retreats, study groups, events, and consecrations, Mary & Mercy is creating a vibrant Catholic culture in the next generation of Catholics. The student off-shoot, Mercy Through Mary, has established young adult groups throughout the country - all seeking to impact the culture for Christ. Learn More →
Tarren Bragdon is the chief executive officer at the Foundation for Government Accountability, which he founded in 2011. Bragdon is a recognized expert on health reform issues, has testified before numerous committees of the U.S. Senate and House. His work has also been featured on major news networks such as Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. Tarren is an entrepreneur at heart, and greatly values faith and family. Learn More →
Dr. Michael New
Dr. Michael New is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science and Social Research at The Catholic University of America, as well as an Associate Scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute. Dr. New has both a Ph.D. in Political Science and a Master’s Degree in Statistics from Stanford University. He has served as a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard-MIT data center and a lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Learn More →
Bartłomiej Milewski hails from Bialystok, Poland. He moved to the United States after graduating from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan and attending the University of Warsaw as an exchange student. He graduated from Ave Maria University in Florida and completed a J.D. at Ave Marie Law School. Upon graduating from law school and moving to New York, he began work with the Ishimbayev Law Firm, based in New York City.
Jason Pedicone is the co-founder and President of the Paideia Institute. He received his Ph.D. in Classics from Princeton University in 2013. Jason has taught courses in Latin, Greek, and the history of Classical Scholarship and is an adjunct professor at Brooklyn College and Fordham University. In 2015, together with Paideia's co-founder, Eric Hewett, Jason was awarded the President’s Award by the Society for Classical Studies for outstanding achievements in promoting the study of Classics. He lives in Manhattan. Learn More →
Eric Hewett is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Paideia Institute. He graduated from Rice University in 1996 with a B.A. in Linguistics. He then attended the University of Pennsylvania Post-Bachelor in Classics. He spent the next seven years living and traveling in Western Europe, working as a teacher, tour guide, and translator. In 2004 Eric moved to Rome, where he has earned an M.A. in Patristic Sciences from the Augustinianum Pontifical Institute of the Lateran University and a Ph.D. in Medieval Philosophy. Learn More →
Mary Eberstadt is an influential American writer of both non-fiction and fiction. She is known for her public service and public speaking. Central to her diverse interests are questions concerning the philosophy and culture of Western civilization and the fate and aspirations of post-modern man. Mary is the author of How the West Really Lost God: A New Theory of Secularization; It’s Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies; and Adam and Eve after the Pill: Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution. Learn More →
Fr. Peter John Cameron
Dominican Father Peter John Cameron is the founding editor-in-chief of Magnificat, where he worked from 1998-2018. For twenty-four years he taught homiletics at St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, New York, and at three other seminaries. He is the author of ten books, including Made for Love, Loved by God. He is the artistic director of Blackfriars Repertory Theatre in New York City. Fr. Peter is currently the director of formation for Hard As Nails Ministries. Learn More →