The Public Theater's UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL Kicks Off Tomorrow

The free virtual festival runs for 12 days through, Sunday, January 17.

By: Jan. 05, 2021
The Public Theater's UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL Kicks Off Tomorrow

The Public Theater begins performances for the 17th annual UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL, on Wednesday, January 6. This popular and highly anticipated festival of The Public's winter season includes artists from across the U.S. and around the world, including Chile, Iran, and the U.K. Curated by UTR Festival Director Mark Russell, this year's free UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL will feature a robust line-up of digital livestream and streaming on-demand performances, as well as the return of the Under the Radar Symposium: A Creative Summit.

Under the Radar 2021 features an exciting mix of innovative artists including 600 HIGHWAYMEN, The Javaad Alipoor Company, Inua Ellams, Trinidad González, Alicia Hall Moran, Piehole, and Whitney White and Peter Mark Kendall.

The festival also includes the return of the Under the Radar Symposium: A Creative Summit on January 7 at 10:00 a.m. EST, a half-day event featuring conversations and panels about the field at this moment in time, as well as a keynote by spoken-word poet, educator, and performer Marc Bamuthi Joseph, who serves as the Vice President and Artistic Director of Social Impact at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

The Public Theater recently announced the 2020-2022 Devised Theater Working Group's cohort members, which include Savon Bartley, Nile Harris, Miranda Haymon, Eric Lockley, Raelle Myrick-Hodges, Mia Rovegno, Justin Elizabeth Sayre, and Mariana Valencia. The Devised Theater Working Group (DTWG) is an artist resource group designed for live arts-makers of all disciplines. Formed as a complementary program to the Under the Radar Festival in 2014, DTWG creates an infrastructure to support collaborative collectives and other untraditional originators as they forge new theater. By offering the dramaturgical, technical, artistic, and administrative resources of The Public Theater, DTWG operates as part of Under the Radar Festival, where unique modes of creation and independent theater-making are elevated annually. This year's cohort will be The Public's first two-year cohort, and the group will collaborate on an INCOMING! video compilation made up of their individual artistic expressions, which will premiere in January's festival.

Under the Radar's Global Partner program is an initiative that gives audiences worldwide free access to the Under the Radar Festival. Over the last 17 years, UTR has shared artists and exchanged events with many different venues and festivals around the world. This year we hope to recognize the many institutions that support independent theater by inviting them to share the UTR 2021 virtual line-up with their audiences. In these dark days during isolation, it is important to acknowledge the community of organizations that keep contemporary performance alive. The 2021 UTR Global Partners include Arojah Royal Theatre (Abuja, Nigeria), ArtsRock (Nyack, NY), The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi, UAE), ArtsEmerson (Boston, MA), ASU Gammage (Tempe, AZ), Fusebox Festival (Austin, TX), Künstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt, Germany), Manchester International Festival (Manchester, UK), Noorderzon Festival (Groningen, Netherlands), OZ Arts Nashville (Nashville, TN), Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Portland, OR), REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater, Los Angeles, CA), Santarcangelo dei Teatri (Santarcangelo di Romagna, Italy), Santiago a Mil International Theater Festival (Santiago, Chile), Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Washington, DC), and Z Space (San Francisco, CA).

The Public Theater, along with the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, will co-present an online panel on January 9, International Relations: The Day After Tomorrow. After almost a year of standstill on theater stages across the world in Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania/Australia, and the Americas, the pandemic has brought not just chaos - but also aspiration. Together, theater makers and artists re-imagine the challenges of the future and brighter days. This online panel brings together: Hortense Archambault, Director, and Frank Piquard, Director of Productions, both from MC93 in Bobigny, France; Aguibou Bougobali Sanou, performance artist, choreographer, and director of dance festivals from Burkina Faso; and Meiyin Wang, the Producing Director for the Perelman Performing Arts Center, New York. These panelists will share their visions for the future. Lili Chopra, Artistic Director of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in New York, will moderate the 70-minute panel that includes a Q&A.

Over the last 17 years, The Public's UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL has grown into a landmark of the New York City theater season and is a vital part of The Public's mission, providing a high-visibility platform to support artists from diverse backgrounds who are redefining the act of making theater. Widely recognized as a premier launching pad for new and cutting-edge performance from the U.S. and abroad, UTR has presented works by such respected artists as Elevator Repair Service, Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Tania El Khoury, Belarus Free Theatre, Guillermo Calderón, Toshi Reagon, Taylor Mac, and Daniel Fish. These artists provide a snapshot of contemporary theater: richly distinct in terms of perspectives, aesthetics, and social practice, and pointing to the future of the art form.

With theaters closed and in-person programming on pause, The Public Theater continues to navigate the immense challenges created by the pandemic, including an operating budget that has contracted significantly, substantial furloughs among full-time staff, and a lack of employment opportunities to offer the freelance artistic community. The Public continues to rely on its community of loyal supporters who stand alongside the organization as it upholds its mission during this uncertain time. With the generous contributions of supporters as the only current source of revenue, The Public continues to reimagine theater for the digital space, support a range of artistic voices in making new work, and share it with a growing global audience. Become a Partner or a Supporter of The Public Theater today at

The Public Theater strives to make its performances, digital content, and facilities accessible to all patrons and visitors. For additional information or if you have questions, need assistance, or an accommodation to access our digital content, please email


A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call

Now Playing Through January 17 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)
Live Phone Call
Written and Created by Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone
Executive Producer: Thomas O. Kriegsmann / ArKtype

Pick up the phone. Someone is on the line. You don't know their name, and you still won't when the hour is over, but through this exchange - as you follow a thread of automated prompts - a portrait of your partner will emerge through fleeting moments of exposure. A THOUSAND WAYS "takes a simple premise and turns it into magic" (The New Yorker).

Under the Radar is thrilled to present A THOUSAND WAYS (PART ONE): A PHONE CALL, the first of an eventual three-part series by Obie Award-winning theatermakers, 600 HIGHWAYMEN, known for exhilarating performances that challenge the very definition of theater.

Taking place around the world, A THOUSAND WAYS explores the line between strangeness and kinship, distance and proximity, and how the most intimate assembly can become profoundly radical.


January 6-17 (Running Time: 50 Minutes)
Streaming On-Demand at
By Whitney White and Peter Mark Kendall (U.S.)
Directed and Produced by Taibi Magar and Tyler Dobrowsky

Inspired by the past year CAPSULE is a kaleidoscopic reflection on isolation and longing, about breaking apart and breaking free and the impossible nature of connection. Through original text and music, Whitney White and Peter Mark Kendall grapple with race, the medium of film, and being caught up in the maelstrom of 2020. In a society that insists on blunt, binary responses to complex questions, CAPSULE is a clarion call in favor of curiosity and abstraction.


January 6-17 (Running Time: 35 Minutes)
Streaming On-Demand at
By Teatro Anónimo (Chile)
Written and Directed by Trinidad González
Performed in Spanish with English subtitles

Created by Teatro Anónimo and directed by Trinidad González, ESPÍRITU is a journey through diverse stories that happen during the night of an unknown city, that involve anonymous individuals marked by the spiritual crisis unleashed by the wild consumerism of the times and the exploitation of the neoliberal model in people's consciousness, through power and the manipulation of their desires. The lack of answers that transcend money and the offer of material possessions will lead these characters to want to find the hidden devil that inhabits the city, and to catch it in a bottle.

Rich Kids: A History of Shopping Malls in Tehran

January 7-10, 14-17 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)
Select Live Performances Online at
Written by Javaad Alipoor (U.K./Iran)
Co-Created by Javaad Alipoor and Kirsty Housley
Produced by The Javaad Alipoor Company

The global gap between rich and poor has never been greater. As the world decays, the spawn of the powerful dance like everyone is watching.

Winner of the 2019 Scotsman Fringe First Award, RICH KIDS: A HISTORY OF SHOPPING MALLS IN TEHRAN is a darkly comedic, urgent new play about entitlement, consumption and digital technology, that explores the ubiquitous feeling that our societies are falling apart.

Combining digital theater and a live Instagram feed, it is the sequel to the award-winning The Believers Are But Brothers, and the second part of a trilogy of plays from Javaad Alipoor about how digital technology, resentment and fracturing identities are changing the world.

Borders & Crossings

January 7-10 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)
Select Live Performances Online at
By Inua Ellams (U.K.)
Produced by Fuel

Born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother against a backdrop of sectarian violence, Inua Ellams left Nigeria for England in 1996 aged 12, moved to Ireland for three years, before returning to London. An award-winning poet, performer, playwright, graphic artist, and designer, Inua returns to the theme of migration in his work, exploring his own life experiences and wider global and political questions. BORDERS & CROSSINGS is an opportunity to get to know Inua and hear some of his poetic and dramatic work on this theme, live and online from London.


January 7-11, 14-17 (Running Time: 90 Minutes)
Select Live Performances Online at
Written by Tara Ahmadinejad
Created by Piehole (U.S.)

Disclaimer: This event contains propaganda, vague promises of Persian food, minimally invasive audience participation, and (gasp) MURDER.

Chef Nargis invites you to her virtual cooking class, and if you both do your jobs just right, you'll have more to look forward to than an aromatic dinner. Help prevent a perpetually impending war from the safety of your home! DISCLAIMER examines identity and fear, the stakes of cultural (mis)representation, the quest for togetherness, and the seductiveness of a classic whodunnit.

the motown project

January 8-17 (Running Time: 60 Minutes)
Streaming On-Demand at
By Alicia Hall Moran (U.S.)
Presented by Joe's Pub
Part of Joe's Pub New York Voices Commission
Executive Producer: Thomas O. Kriegsmann / ArKtype

Musical traditions yearning for each other across race, class, and nation grace Alicia Hall Moran's meditation on the Motown songbook - a cinematic, movement-based aria fusing Sugar Pie Honey Bunch with Mozart while Marvin Gaye's lyrical pathos finds solemnity in Purcell. Featuring Thomas Flippin (guitar), Steven Herring (vocals), Barrington Lee (vocals), and Reggie Washington (bass) in collaboration with choreographer Amy Hall Garner, the motown project reimagines Motor City poetics in a study of desire and infatuation only soul and opera embodied by one chanteuse could endure.

Devised Theater Working Group's INCOMING!

January 6-17 (Running Time: 30 Minutes)
Streaming On-Demand at

By The Devised Theater Working Group Cohort Members: Savon Bartley, Nile Harris, Miranda Haymon, Eric Lockley, Raelle Myrick-Hodges, Mia Rovegno, Justin Elizabeth Sayre, and Mariana Valencia

This year, The PubIic Theater's Devised Theater Working Group was challenged to create individual digital expressions for a group compilation video: INCOMING! Immediate, made for the here and now, this 30-minute video will show short pieces from all eight members of this cohort.

RSVP for free festival events through The Public's website to receive email updates and reminders. Booking for timed ticketed events will be available at a later date. For the full festival calendar with performance times, visit


The Under the Radar Symposium: A Creative Summit is a half-day event on January 7, featuring conversations and panels about the field at this moment in time. Artists and arts leaders from around the globe will participate in a virtual summit. Digital attendance at the Symposium is open to all those who would like to participate. For more information on the UTR Symposium, please email

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