BWW Interview: UNDER THE RADAR's Meiyin Wang Reveals What's New at the 2014 Festival!

The Public Theater will present the 10th Anniversary of the world-renowned UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL, running January 8-19, 2014. A highly-anticipated program of The Public Theater's winter season, the 2014 UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL will include artists from across the U.S. and around the world, including 600 HIGHWAYMEN, Lola Arias, Edgar Oliver, tg STAN, SKaGeN, Andrew Ondrejcak, John Hodgman, Sekou Sundiata, Roger Guenveur Smith, and Toshi Reagon. The late-night Festival Lounge will also include an eclectic mix of adventurous music and cabaret performances, including Champagne Jerry, DJ AndrewAndrew, Invincible, Ethan Lipton, Nick Hallett, Holcombe Waller, and Middle Church Jeriesse Johnson Gospel Choir.

It was announced in November that UTR Co-Director Meiyin Wang was named Director of The Public's Devised Theater Initiative (DTI), a new year-round program that will invite exceptionally talented theater-makers at all stages of their careers to make their artistic home at The Public. DTI expands The Public and UTR's commitment to the diversity of artists, perspectives, and the artistic forms in which they reveal themselves. The initiative provides resources to artists and ensembles for the commissioning, development, production, presentation, and touring of new work.

Wang took the time to chat with BroadwayWorld about what's in store for the 2014 Festival, and you can check out what she had to say below!

For those that aren't familiar with the Under the Radar Festival, how would you describe it in a nutshell?

Under the Radar is A Contemporary Theatre festival that has international and US acts, and the artists ask: "What is it like to do theatre now?" So they really work on The Edges of technology, space, presence, and performance.

This is the 10th year of the event, and you've been involved for most of its existence, correct?

The festival itself started in 2005 at St. Ann's Warehouse and in 2006, Oskar Eustis, who had just started at The Public Theater, and Mark Russell, who is the founder of the festival, decided to bring the whole thing to the Public. What's amazing is that with the Public, we're really able to utilize the beautiful theaters and the amazing infrastructure of the theatre, and really build the festival to last.

I came in 2007, basically as Mark's assistant, and that was the first year that it came in a two-week format. It was basically a week in 2005 and 2006, and then we extended the festival. It became two weeks, and I remember that we had maybe 12 productions. I thought that was a lot! Now we've been doing 12-21 every year. It varies but we have this amazing foundation with the Public and we also work with a lot of partner venues- so this year it's Japan Society, La MaMa, and St. Ann's Warehouse.

The festivities begin next week- what kinds of preparations are left to make before opening night?

The production team has been hard at work loading in for the new year. Right now, the local companies are in tech. And then this weekend is when the international people arrive. So there is a lot happening!

You are the Co-director of the festival but you're also the Director of The Public's new Devised Theater Initiative. Has this now role affected how you've tackled this year's festival at all?

Well I started as Mark's assistant and throughout the years have formed this great partnership. Now I'm co-director of the festival with him. And I'm also the director of the Devised Theatre Initiative.

A scene from El Aņo en Que Naci
A scene from El Año en Que Nací, Photo Credit: David Alarcón

The whole thing has been sort of in the works for a couple of years. It's basically the unofficial name of what we're doing when we are not producing the festival. A lot of the work that we do, we invite artists with their shows that are already made. Then we invite them and we give them a platform to find an audience in New York. What the DTI aims to do is work with artists to help them develop their work- whether it is finding resources or to find partners...eventually we want to commission and create residencies for them. It's still in the beginning, but the idea is that we go further and further to be partners with the artists past their making the work.

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