PRELUDE 2017 Festival Announcement

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Presents

PRELUDE 2017 — OCTOBER 4, 5 and 6

[New York, NY. September 7, 2017] The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center presents its annual PRELUDE FESTIVAL on October 4, 5, and 6 at The Graduate Center, CUNY, The City University of New York, curated by Andrew Kircher in collaboration with Frank Hentschker.

Since 2003, the PRELUDE FESTIVAL has given audiences a first look at new work and ideas by groundbreaking theatre and performance artists based in New York City. PRELUDE has presented more than 300 emerging artists, including Sarah Benson, Big Art Group, Cynthia Hopkins, Young Jean Lee, Nature Theatre of Oklahoma, and 600 HIGHWAYMEN alongside legendary figures like Richard Foreman, Marina Abramovic, Mabou Mines, Charles Mee, and many more.

Inspired by the DIY maker movement, curator Andrew Kircher has assembled a program of significant new works-in-process, conversations, scholarship, and skills-building workshops. By merging the critical with the creative, PRELUDE will provide a space for artists to share, engage, and discover emerging practices in form, craft, and technology.

“We are thrilled to share this exciting lineup of new theatre and performance. As the name Prelude suggests, this program is a hint of what is to come— not just for future seasons, but for the form as a whole. Prelude is that unique moment in the theatre season when artists come together to share new work, creative methodologies, critical vocabularies, and practical skills,” says Kircher.

This year, PRELUDE includes a new series—Studio Visits. These evening-length hybrid performance events offer audiences a multi-angled view of the featured artist and their craft. Each Studio Visit will include an introduction by the artist, a presentation of new work-in-process, a critical response essay, and a Q&A with the responder.

Studio Visit artists include: Janani Balasubramanian [critical response by Cam Awkward-Rich], The Builders Association [critical response by Helen Shaw], Renegade Performance Group/André M. Zachary [critical response by Helga Davis], Jim Findlay [critical response by Andrew Friedman], and Rachel Kauder Nalebuff [critical response by Julia Felsenthal].

PRELUDE will also showcase samples of new work by:

Darian Dauchan, Jerry Lieblich/Paul Lazar, Cerebral Pussy [Jessy Yates, Holly Kristina Goldstein], Lorelei Ramirez, Maria Baranova, Milo Cramer with New Saloon, Seonjae Kim, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Sean Donovan, Sister Sylvester [Amal Omran, Hatem Hadawe, Kathryn Hamilton], Split Britches [Peggy Shaw & Lois Weaver], Temporary Distortion, and more.

Hosted by the Graduate Center, the focal point for advanced research in the CUNY system, the PRELUDE Festival is uniquely positioned to celebrate the artistry of criticism and scholarship alongside new works of theatre and performance. This year’s program will include presentations by Peter Eckersall [Executive Officer of Theatre and Performance Program, The Graduate Center, CUNY], Julia Jarcho [Assistant Professor, NYU], Jill Stevenson [Professor of Theatre Arts, Marymount Manhattan College], and Patricia Ybarra [Chair of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, Brown University].

PRELUDE will also include critical dialogues, including an intergenerational conversation on the history and legacy of avant-garde theatre artists of color, convened by Daniel Alexander Jones. A series entitled How Did You Make That?, moderated by Ryan J. Haddad, will feature conversations with theatremakers from across the field, including Noel Allain, Jaclyn Backhaus, Melanie Joseph, Jennifer Kiddwell, Tommy Kriegsmann, Jacob Padrón, Scott Sheppard, and Arianna Smart Truman.

This year, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council partners with PRELUDE on a data experiment. We will survey PRELUDE artists, past and present, to come to a better understanding of where work is made. During this session, we will review the findings together and discuss what creative spaces are—or were—critical to this field.

Free workshops will be offered on October 5th and 6th at 12:30pm on intellectual property law [with Tami Morachnick, Legal Consultant], virtual reality production [with Philip Sanchez, Producer, Blurred Media], stage prop design [with Jay Duckworth, Properties Master, Public Theater], and Kickstarter [with Jessica Massart, Performance Lead, Kickstarter].

PRELUDE remains the only theatre and performance festival dedicated exclusively to New York City theatre artists. PRELUDE represents the only theatre and performance festival that is completely FREE and open to the public. For the full festival schedule, please visit

All PRELUDE events will be at the
CUNY Graduate Center, 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street, New York, NY 10016.
All are free of charge and open to the public. First come, first served.
All programs are subject to change.

Andrew Kircher is the Director of the Devised Theater Initiative and Associate Dramaturg at the Public Theater. As a creative producer, he has worked with companies including Ars Nova and Les Freres Corbusier, and was previously the associate director of the Under the Radar Festival. He is a PhD candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, and is currently writing a dissertation entitled Dramaturgies of Intellectual Property Law in Read-Write Theatre.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center [MESTC] is a non-profit center for theatre, dance, and film affiliated with CUNY’s Ph.D. Program in Theatre. The Center’s mission is to bridge the gap between academia and the professional performing arts communities both within the United States and internationally.

PRELUDE 2017 is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council empowers artists by providing them with networks, resources, and support, to create vibrant sustainable communities in Lower Manhattan and beyond.


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