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Culture Project Announces 'Prologue to Progress' Series

Culture Project, New York's home for socially conscious theater, announces "Prologue to Progress," a two-week series of music, performance, and discussion led by over a dozen International Artists and thinkers from Sunday, October 1 through Sunday, October 15.

Prologue to Progress invites the public to join Culture Project in celebrating the future of award-winning, politically incisive theatre in its new home at the Saint Mary Church on the Lower East Side. Prologue to Progress is aligned with Culture Project's reinvigorated mission to amplify marginalized voices, champion new and timely work, and speak to today's most pressing issues through innovative artist-activist collaboration.

Featuring seven nights of programming, Prologue to Progress invokes narratives of resilience told from the perspectives of women, people of color, the previously incarcerated, and the LGBTQ community. Prologue to Progress reaffirms Culture Project's commitment to bringing together artists, activists, and experts to inform and inspire contemporary audiences through unique theatrical experiences. Featured talent includes Kristin Norderval, Guillermo Gregorio, Nicole Ansari, Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam, Maybe Burke, Alika Hopes, Heather Robles, Tom Tsai, Angela Polite, Kathleen Turner, RUDRA, Yale University lecturer Stephen Bright, GQ of the Q Brothers, actor Tyrone Taylor, and improv group Thank You for Coming Out.

Prologue to Progress kicks off on Sunday October 1 with I AM ANTIGONE, a contemporary retelling of Sophocles' Antigone written by poet Saudamini Siegrist and directed by award-winning writer and director Myriam Cyr. It will be followed later that week by Rob Urbinati's REBEL VOICES: Stories, Speeches, and Songs of Resistance, an evening with the International Human Rights Arts Festival, and more. Tickets for all events are $25. Purchase tickets online at, or by phone at 212-925-1806 weekdays from 11am-6pm. All events are held at The Grand Hall at Saint Mary Church, 440 Grand Street, New York, NY 10002.

PROLOGUE TO PROGRESS (Sunday October 1 - Sunday October 15):

I Am Antigone

Sunday October 1st 7:30pm

Starring Broadway and screen actress Nicole Ansari and internationally renowned Comédie Francaise actor Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam, I AM ANTIGONE is a timely story of one woman's stand against the abuse of political power. This contemporary retelling of Sophocles' Antigone is written by poet Saudamini Siegrist and directed by award-winning Myriam Cyr. Defying Creon's command by performing burial rites for her beloved brother Polynices, Oedipus's daughter Antigone is condemned to be buried alive in a tomb. And there, impervious to time, she lives to this day. Defiant, funny, real, and an unapologetic defender of truth, Antigone denounces the abuse of power, testifying to the ability we all possess to oppose injustice and government corruption. A rebellion not only of her own time, but of all times, I AM ANTIGONE speaks to every individual who dares to take a stand against tyrannical power.

Rebel Voices: Stories, Speeches and Songs of Resistance

Wednesday October 4th; Thursday October 5th 7:00pm

REBEL VOICES: Stories, Speeches and Songs of Resistance is playwright Rob Urbinati's stage adaptation of Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's "Voices of A People's History of the United States." It brings marginalized voices usually left out of history books -- women, workers, nonwhites -- to vibrant life. Directed by William Pomerantz, REBEL VOICES provides a full course in the struggles that have shaped America from its inception to the present day. It is a symphony of our nation's bravest voices, rich in ideas and actions, the embodiment of the power of civil disobedience and dissent. REBEL VOICES embodies our nation's true spirit of defiance and resilience.


Friday October 6th at 7:30pm

RUDRA is a 4-piece ensemble whose musical direction can best be described as "acoustic World Fusion on steroids." RUDRA is co-led by guitarist Bobby Rozario and saxophonist/flutist Premik Russell Tubbs, along with South Indian percussion masters Swaminathan Selvaganesh and Ghatam Rajaram. The band takes a cue from guitar great John McLaughlin's Shakti band, but continues to further explore the possibilities of harmonizing South & North Indian styles with the West's jazz sensibilities & freedom of expression.

Kristin Norderval and Guillermo Gregorio

Sunday October 8th at 7:30pm

Award-winning opera composer and singer Kristin Norderval and Argentinian composer and clarinetist Guillermo Gregorio will perform a set of improvisations for voice, clarinet and electronics. Texts for the improvisations will include excerpts from Oscar Wilde's "De Profundis" interspersed with words of women who have given birth in prison, or whose pregnancy terminations have been criminalized. A 2005 recipient of the Henry Cowell Award from the American Music Center, and two-time recipient of the Norwegian Artist's Stipend, Norderval has specialized in developing new works for voice, cross-disciplinary work, and works using interactive technology. Gregorio's series of pieces entitled Otra Música (2005 to the present), focus on history and critical issues as well as syntactic aspects of text and music. Currently, Gregorio's interests are related to improvisation and "composition in real time" playing clarinet, in addition to the aforementioned compositions.

Stephen Bright, GQ, and Tyrone Taylor

Wednesday October 11th at 7:00pm

President and senior counsel of the Southern Center for Human Rights and distinguished law professor Stephen Bright will join Chicago-based rapper GQ of the hip-hop collective Q Brothers, and NYC-based actor Tyrone Taylor to present an evening of discussion on the topic of criminal justice and capital punishment. Bright, GQ, and Taylor will engage in an exploration of justice as interpreted through a legal lens, the language of hip hop, and the prison experience. GQ and Taylor will open the evening with a performance of "17 to New Life," a story of redemption and self-forgiveness told from the perspective of Taylor's younger self. GQ and his collaborator JQ most recently wrote, directed, and prepared original music for the hip hop-inspired Othello: The Remix, which premiered at the Globe Theater in London, and was staged at Chicago's Cook County Jail in co-production with the Chicago Shakespeare Company before debuting at NYC's Westside Theatre last year.

International Human Rights Arts Festival

Sunday October 15th at 7:30pm

The International Human Rights Art Festival will present a selection of work to introduce Culture Project audiences to its programming. "The International Human Rights Art Festival is an ongoing series of art-activist events, festivals, workshops, and community programs at the intersection of art, activism, and society. Golden Globe winner and Tony and Academy Award nominee Kathleen Turner will offer a monologue on citizenship, and director, choreographer, writer, performer, and trans advocate Maybe Burke will perform hits from their Accidental Trans Anthems. Also performing are LGBTQ improvisers Thank You for Coming Out, Taiwanese-American storyteller Tom Tsai, performer Angela Polite, singer Alika Hopes, and dancer Heather Robles. youth-produced documentary initiative Echoes of Incarceration will curate a presentation.

Founded in 1996, Culture Project seeks to shine an artistic light on injustice and to inspire public discourse about the most urgent social justice issues of our time. Under producing artistic director Allan Buchman, Culture Project blends award winning-theater with urgent moral dilemmas, sparks conversation, and incites political action. Over its 21-year history, Culture Project has premiered shows including The Exonerated, winner of the 2003 Lucille Lortel Award and Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience; Sarah Jones' Bridge & Tunnel, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, My Trip to Al-Qaeda, Tings Dey Happen, Betrayed, In Conflict, James X, And God Created Great Whales, Shaheed: The Dream and Death of Benazir Bhutto, Nirbhaya, and MotherStruck!. CP has attracted talent including Meryl Streep, Danny Glover, Mary J. Blige, Robin Williams, Marisa Tomei, Staceyann Chin, Lynn Redgrave, Sarah Silverman, Liev Schrieber, Juliana Margulies, John Leguziamo, Mariska Hargitay, Matt Dillion, Amy Goodman, Cornel West, Van Jones, and other artists who share a passion for theater and public justice.

Culture Project seeks to leverage its 20-year legacy of fostering collaborative work amongst theater artists, advocates, and experts to broaden its reach beyond traditional theater audiences, and to performatize journalistic initiatives through the re-launch of its Blueprint for Accountability series later this year. The inaugural Blueprint in 2009 brought together retired Army lieutenant general Ricardo Sanchez, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and others in a discussion about US government accountability and prison torture during the War on Terror, moderated by Rachel Maddow. This year's Blueprint, moderated by DemocracyNow!'s Nermeen Sheikh, will engage Vince Warren from the Center for Constitutional Rights and a panel of consequential thinkers, including journalists, lawyers, actors, and filmmakers, in an exploration of impeachment through a legal lens. For more, visit or follow on Facebook: and Twitter: @Culture_Project.

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