The natural beauty and easygoing lifestyle of Martha’s Vineyard have inspired writers and visual artists for as long as creative people have been visiting the Island. Many a published author has his or her writing room tucked away in a Vineyard home, while painters set their easels before breathtaking views.

Nate D'Angelo got his start at Alex's Place. — Maria Thibodeau

Performing artists, too, come to the Vineyard to refresh themselves creatively and develop new work. But while authors and painters tend to be solo acts, requiring little more than a study or art studio, performers often work in groups that need bigger practice and performance spaces.

Island nonprofits are meeting this need with residencies and facilities for dance, theatre and music — and Island audiences are getting some exciting performances in return: new plays, musicals and even a troupe of ice-skating dancers from Canada.

The Yard has traditionally been known as a summer destination for dance, but this past season they ventured deeply into the off-season and to different venues. Le Patin Libre, a contemporary ice skating group from Montreal, performed at the Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena in April. But it wasn’t just a performance. In keeping with the summer theme, the skating group spent days on the Island exploring new work.

Witness Uganda at Vineyard Arts Project.

“They offered us this residency so that we can research new choreographic ideas and take time to find new ways to glide, new ways to dance,” said Alexandre Hamel of Le Patin Libre in a video on the troupe’s YouTube channel.

More recently, the Yard hosted a residency with Reggie Wilson and his Fist and Heel Performance Group. The group appears on August 8 at the Martha’s Vineyard Performing Arts Center. And later this month the acclaimed Cuban dance troupe Malpaso makes its second appearance on the Island. Last summer the group’s North American premiere took place at the Yard.

The Yard is arguably the Island’s original performing arts incubator. It was founded by choreographer Patricia Nanon in 1973, a time on the Vineyard when “anything requiring collaborative forces in the creative process just didn’t have a place,” said David White, the Yard’s artistic director and executive producer. “She established the idea that groups could come here and make work as groups.”

Michael Urie performing at the MV Playhouse. — MJ Bruder Munafo

Mr. White said incubators like the Yard provide a structure of support for artists. “You can get a grant to do something, but it’s harder to really find places where you can do it and really dig down deep with people.”

And while the Yard has become synonymous with contemporary dance, other collaborative works have found a home there as well. Actress Amy Brenneman and choreographer/dramaturge Sabrina Peck have presented two personal-narrative performances there over the past few years, most recently 90:52:15 last month.

Ms. Brenneman has a home on the Vineyard and the Yard has become a place for her to workshop new and very personal material, and incorporate local talent into her shows.

Most artists, however, come to the Yard from off-Island. The nonprofit’s three annual, multi-week Offshore Creation Residencies provide housing for up to 12 people as well as transportation, a food allowance and a weekly stipend for each artist.

“If Martha’s Vineyard is going to compete with the rest of the country in being an incubator, you need to house people,” Mr. White said. “And that is really a tough thing on the Island.”

Popular musical and theatre troupe Pig Pen found a home at Vineyard Arts Project and went on to an Off-Broadway production. — Ivy Ashe

Housing, especially in the summer months, is a universal challenge for everyone on the Vineyard, and the arts are no exception, especially considering the need to house an entire troupe of actors or dancers. The Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse, the Island’s only professional Actors Equity theatre, has been incubating original works for many years but has no residency program.

“I think we could do even more if we had a campus with some housing,” said artistic director MJ Bruder Munafo. The playhouse pays the housing costs for every artist it brings to the Vineyard, as well as their transportation expenses, and everyone who works at the theatre is paid, she said. “There’s definitely a cost and a value attached to developing a play, whether it’s a reading or a workshop or a full production.”

In addition to fully-staged productions on the main Patricia Neal Stage in its historic Vineyard Haven location, the playhouse has been presenting a popular series of readings, called Monday Night Specials, for some two decades.

“The purpose of the Monday Night Special is for the playwright to see the work and get the feedback from the audience,” said Ms. Bruder Munafo, who likes to cast local actors for the readings whenever possible.

Damien Buzzerio and Jenny Allen at a MV Playhouse Monday night special. — Mark Lovewell

“There’s an excitement, I think, for the audience to be part of the development process. And we have very savvy and sophisticated audiences who are not shy about voicing their opinions at the Monday Night Special talk-back. Some playwrights start rewriting, maybe that night,” she said.

While many theatres present staged readings as one-off entertainments, the playhouse takes them much more seriously. It’s not unusual for a Monday Night Special to develop into a mainstage production, Ms. Bruder Munafo said. “This year we have two of our four plays that began in development, and last year four out of five. It doesn’t always end with the reading.”

One of the Vineyard’s newer incubators is the Vineyard Arts Project in Edgartown. Incorporated as a nonprofit in 2008, the former home of a summer ballet program now hosts residencies for dance and theatre projects each summer.

“The mission is to help artists develop new work in dance and theatre by giving them time and space,” said founder and artistic director Ashley Melone, whose parents built the facility in 2005. She was inspired to start the project as a graduating college student.

Reggie Wilson is part of the Yard's Offshore Creation Residency. — Ray Ewing

“I saw how artists loved coming to the Island and loved working in these studios,” she said.

There are 23 bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, to solve the housing conundrum. All artists are also paid, as is their transportation.

A New York city resident, Ms. Melone spends the winter months curating potential dance and theatre projects before selecting six to 10 for the coming summer. Among the works that have been developed at the Vineyard Arts Projects are Ayad Akhtar’s Disgraced, which had a reading here in 2010 before moving to Lincoln Center and winning a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and Witness Uganda, which was produced at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge before heading to Broadway.

Pulitzer and Tony-winning dramatist James Lapine’s Act One also debuted at the Vineyard Arts Project before its Lincoln Center production and PBS broadcast. A workshop performance of the first two acts of Mr. Lapine’s most recent musical-in-progress, Flying Over Sunset, attracted a capacity audience in Edgartown last week.

“What’s great about here is that you get to take risks on shows, because the stakes are relatively low and it’s not as expensive to produce,” Ms. Melone said. “It helps the creativity. When the stakes are lower, the artists are less pressured.”