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The New Group and NRDC Present FACING THE RISING TIDE, a Free Digital Festival of Play Readings

The New Group and NRDC Present FACING THE RISING TIDE, a Free Digital Festival of Play Readings

The New Group Off Stage and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) have announced Facing the Rising Tide: A free digital festival of play readings and conversations about environmental racism, the climate crisis and hope featuring five plays, each followed by a discussion. The week will also feature an hour-long New Group Now panel entitled Climate Arts Activision, an inspiring conversation on how art and storytelling can help save the world. The series is free and will be streamed on YouTube Live ( Free registration and additional information including climate action resources are available at

These online readings of new plays by five extraordinary emerging writers celebrate the ways truly imaginative art can get our minds working in new directions around the climate crisis and the impacts of environmental racism. The playwrights' characters are pressured by their circumstances to decide and act, and these stories, whether they are depicting real, recent crises or possible futures that we hope to avoid, let us locate ourselves and the choices we face in a rapidly, radically changing world.

Our partnership with NRDC highlights the organization's Rewrite the Future initiative, which aims to enlist the power of storytelling to help turn the climate crisis around. NRDC offers a range of support to encourage more, varied, and compelling climate stories in entertainment, including industry dialogue and networking, climate story consultation, and help with project development. Storytellers have a vital role to play in shaping our cultural narrative about climate, and a new narrative is necessary if we're going to meet the challenges ahead.


July 20 at 7pm EST - Quik-Mart By Charles Gershman, Directed by Arpita Mukherjee
July 21 at 7pm EST - shadow/land By Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Directed by Candis C. Jones
July 22 at 7pm EST - That Heaven's Vault Should Crack By Rae Binstock, Directed by Kareem Fahmy

July 23 at 6pm EST - New Group Now Panel: Climate Arts Activision with Chantal Bilodeau, Lydia
Fort, Lanxing Fu, Mary Kathryn Nagle and Cheryl Slean; moderated by Nancy Giles
July 23 at 7pm EST - Mother of Exiles By Jessica Huang, Directed by Seonjae Kim
July 24 at 7pm EST - Mambo Sauce By Daniella De Jesús, Directed by Machel Ross

About the Plays:

Quik-Mart by Charles Gershman, Directed by Arpita Mukherjee

Climate refugee Abdullah and his wife and son operate a bodega in New York City in the future. When a refugee from a different land tries to buy out his shop, a strange negotiation erupts as the realities of a changing planet bear down on a new kind of immigrant.

shadow/land by Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Directed by Candis C. Jones

Ruth coaxes her dementia-ridden mother, Magalee, to sell Shadowland, the family business and New Orleans' first air-conditioned dancehall/hotel for Black people. But as Hurricane Katrina begins her ruin, Ruth is forced to wrestle with all that she's ready to let go. The first installment of an epic 10-play Katrina Cycle, shadow/land is an examination of environmental racism and the erasure of Black land legacies through the distress of disaster, evacuation, displacement and urban renewal.

That Heaven's Vault Should Crack by Rae Binstock, Directed by Kareem Fahmy
What would you do if you were called to radical action to stave off devastation? This set of stimulating short plays imagines what it would be like for people like us to throw our lives into upheaval, as Noah before the flood - and what it's like for the One who calls.

Mother of Exiles by Jessica Huang, Directed by Seonjae Kim

Mother of Exiles follows the Loi family's journey through America across 200 years-as they are ushered along by the spirits of their ancestors. In 1898 California, a pregnant Eddie Loi faces deportation. In 1998 Miami, her grandson Braulio accidentally summons her spirit while patrolling the border. In 2098 somewhere on the ocean, their descendants try to survive.

Mambo Sauce by Daniella De Jesús, Directed by Machel Ross

Living on Cargill Island isn't that bad. You can share a Mambo Dog with a friend, get high with an alien, score a golden ticket to heaven and even visit the Cargill Zoo - that is if you don't mind that the animals are dying. Even for Cargill, the withering zoo animals are rather peculiar, posing a new kind of environmental crisis for the neighborhood. As residents investigate what's behind it all and try to adjust to the new realities, they uncover things so ugly and human and bizarre, you couldn't make it up.

New Group Now Panel: Climate Arts Activision

We're living through a time of immense disruption as we wake up en masse to the suffering and wreckage of our petro-industrial society. Questions like: "what have we done?" and "can we fix this before it's too late?" are on the minds of many, especially the truth-tellers and meaning-makers of our culture - the artists. Art, theater, film and storytelling offer clear reflections of where we are, how we got here, and a range of possible visions for where we might go. Choosing a better future is something we all have to do together, and engaged artist-activists like the women on this panel are showing the way.

Please join us on Thursday, July 23 at 6pm EST for an inspiring conversation on how art and storytelling can help save the world with Chantal Bilodeau (playwright; Artistic Director, The Arctic Cycle), Lydia Fort (theater director, educator; Emory University), Lanxing Fu (co-director, Superhero Clubhouse eco-theater), Mary Kathryn Nagle (playwright; Founding Director, Yale Indigenous Performing Arts) and Cheryl Slean (playwright; Creative Director, Rewrite the Future climate storytelling initiative at NRDC). The panel will be moderated by Nancy Giles (Actor and Commentator).

Facing the Rising Tide is presented as part of The New Group/New Works play development program which focuses on the nurturing and development of new work and emphasizes the building of lasting relationships with artists whose work resonates with our mission of presenting works that are adventurous, stimulating and socially-relevant. The New Group's play and musical development program serves as a vital incubator that allows The New Group to produce the works of emerging playwrights as part of its season.

The New Group Off Stage is the collection of all digital content being produced during our time away from the stage including our "Why We Do It" conversation series, Reunion Readings, developmental readings, playwriting workshops and summer education programs for high school students. Learn more at

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