The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center Presents PRELUDE 2019: Riotous Excursions

By: Aug. 29, 2019
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The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center presents its annual PRELUDE FESTIVAL on October 3, 4, and 5 at The Graduate Center, CUNY, The City University of New York, curated by David Bruin & Sanaz Ghajar in collaboration with Frank Hentschker, produced by Sami Pyne.

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 the work of more than 300 artists, including Annie Dorsen, Jackie Sibbles Drury, Half Straddle, Lucas Hnath, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Young Jean Lee, Taylor Mac, and Nature Theater of Oklahoma alongside legendary figures such as Richard Foreman, Marina Abramović, The Living Theatre, Charles Mee, and many 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. PRELUDE represents the only theatre and performance festival that is completely FREE and open to the public.

Co-curated by Bruin and Ghajar, this year's PRELUDE festival, titled Riotous Excursions, asks what does it mean to break the rules during a time in which the rule of law is under threat? What role can the iconoclast play in a society in which members of Congress regularly attack vital cultural and civic institutions? In this highly contested historical moment, PRELUDE 2019 seeks to reimagine what it means for the artist to take up the role of rebel, provocateur, and outcast. By putting creative practice in conversation with critical perspectives, Riotous Excursions ventures to the forefront of contemporary theater and performance in order to explore the intersections of artistic innovation, political subversion, and social consciousness. The three-day festival includes performances, presentations, panels, and a party.

This year, PRELUDE continues the Studio Visit series. Studio Visits bring together artists, critics, and audiences, offering an opportunity to explore questions and share insights inspired by the work on stage. These events include a presentation of work that is new or in-process, a response by an artist or critic, and a moderated dialogue between the participants and the audience.

Studio Visit artists include: M. Lamar with critical response by Hershini Bhana Young, The Foundry Theatre with critical response by Bertie Ferdman, Theater Mitu with critical response by Kevin Riordan, and Whitney White with critical response by Tobi Haslett.

PRELUDE's Work-in-Process series will showcase samples of new work by: Melis Aker, Sophie Amieva, Kate Benson and Jessica Almasy, nicHi Douglass, Davalois Fearon, Sanaz Ghajar, Deepali Gupta, Nile Harris, Michael + Patrick, Ashley Tata, Elinor T. & Drew Vanderburg, Bailey Williams and Derek Smith, and Moe Yousuf.

Additional programming and presentations will feature Jaclyn Backhaus, Jabari Brisport, William Burke, Isaac Butler, Savitri D, Shonni Enelow, Phillip Howze, David Levine, Sofya Levitsky-Weitz, madison moore, Isaac Oliver, Alexander Paris, Chad Raines, Catherine María Rodríguez, Kate Tarker, and more to be announced.

PRELUDE will also host a new workshop lead by Sanaz Ghajar and Jessica Almasy: Disrupt the Narrative: Art, Late Capitalism and the Trump Era. This two-hour workshop culminates in the presentation of a new ensemble-generated performance piece. Participants will use visual art, pop culture references, and found text to investigate the contradictions that we struggle with in America today. Focusing on image-based, ensemble-generated work that pushes against traditional narrative forms, this workshop will explore unconventional devising methods, taking physical and structural risks in order to dismantle our pre-existing points of view and move towards a collective enlightenment.

Full schedule to be announced early September. Visit for more information.