HERE Will Present 7 New Works in Development as Part of HERE RAW / Resident Artist Works

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HERE Will Present 7 New Works in Development as Part of HERE RAW / Resident Artist Works


Each spring HERE offers a window into the creative process of their nationally recognized HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP). For 21 years, this exploration of new work in development, previously known as the Culturemart Festival, has blurred the boundaries between theatre, music, dance, new media, and visual art. The 2020 edition, which runs February 23-March 1, not only features seven daring workshop presentations but a new name that better captures the essence of the experience: HERE RAW / Resident Artist Works.

The annual HERE RAW is a vibrant festival offering a vital step in the evolution of this new work, delivering for both artists and audiences alike. Resident artist projects seen at HERE RAW will culminate in full productions at HERE. Resident alumni include Young Jean Lee, Taylor Mac, Lisa D'Amour, Faye Driscoll, Erin Orr, Troika Ranch, Corey Dargel, Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf, and many more.

Participating artists and projects this year include:

The Story Box (February 23-24), written and performed by Suzi Takahashi and directed by Kristin Marting, is a storytelling event told through the lens of Japanese-American identity, and using text, visuals, music, and experiential learning to explore the importance of safeguarding our civil rights.

Marie It's Time (February 25-26) is Minor Theater's retort to Woyzeck, performed by Julia Jarcho, Jenny Seastone, and Kedian Keohan.

Gelsey Bell's m??n?? (February 25) (pronounced "Mourning") is musical storytelling that witnesses a world, beginning today, in which all humans have disappeared from Earth.

Unabashedly appropriating current popular culture, Raja Feather Kelly | the feath3r theory presents The McCarthy Era (February 26) which celebrates, criticizes, and comprehends the years between 1949 and 1952.

Grounded in the Hip Hop tradition of the remix, Cannabis! A Theatrical Concert (February 28), from Baba Israel and Grace Galu's band Soul Inscribed, features a mash-up of iconic music, dance, and stories of countercultural icons into a time-traveling tale of jubilation, injustice, and transformation.

In A Meal (February 29-March 1) from Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya of LEIMAY Ensemble, social sculpture, performance, and a theatrical experience is delicately framed by dancing bodies, crafted recipes, and mythological beings.

Inspired by the "bad bitches" of hip-hop, the reproductive justice movement, and the sacred sex workers that graced Egyptian temples, Priestess of Twerk (February 29-March 1) from Nia O. Witherspoon presents women of color with opportunities to re-encounter their sexualities through the lens of the sacred, increasing bodily autonomy and dispelling toxic masculinity.

HERE RAW takes place at HERE from February 23-March 1. All shows are included with the purchase of a $15 Works Pass and patrons are encouraged to attend as many of the presentations as possible, though reservations for specific performances are encouraged. Students, seniors, military personnel and their families are welcome free of charge with an ID at the box office, based upon availability at show-time. For tickets and information, call (212) 647-0202 or visit


February 23 - 24 at 7pm (solo bill)

Kristin Marting and Suzi Takahashi - The Story Box

Surrounded by suitcases that were left behind by Japanese American internees heading to the camps, a woman traces her family's immigration to the U.S. and her experience as a first generation American. She discovers a kamishibai - a wooden box containing drawings which are brought to life through storytelling. They depict a girl living in a Japanese concentration camp and awaiting news on the fate of her father.

Audiences are invited to discover the contents of these suitcases - each containing images created by commissioned artists of color - and to share their diverse stories in response to the images. At a time when immigrants are being scapegoated, The Story Box sparks a cross-cultural conversation that humanizes one another and reminds us of our shared responsibility in protecting the civil rights of all Americans.

February 25 - 26 at 7pm (shared evening)

Minor Theater - Marie It's Time

Ever been so turned on it f*cked with your will to survive? Did you tell anyone? Did you whisper to your heart: you're going to think I'm a monster but I can't help myself. Did she reply: let's not talk about it, let's do it? Don't look away, offer yourself, open wide: Marie It's Time. A retort to Woyzeck that pumps hot blood through the veins of theatre's favorite murder-victim, Julia Jarcho and Jenny Seastone embody Marie, Büchner's doomed baby mama, as the director and star of her own seduction. Minor Theater's cover is a lonely kind of beauty, a sparkly sort of melancholy set in the erotic pressure between performer and audience. Featuring Kedian Keohan as the backbeat and object of lust: the Drum Major performing original music composition by Julia Jarcho and Jeff Aaron Bryant.

February 25 at 7pm (shared evening with Marie It's Time)

Gelsey Bell - m??n??

m??n?? (pronounced as "mourning"/ "morning") is an opera by Gelsey Bell about the triumphs and legacy of an Earth devoid of humans. Distanced creatures (aliens? gods?) witness the changes that take place on Earth as forests grow back, rivers overtake dams, and human-made buildings and objects gradually erode away. The completed piece will follow this story of deterioration and renewal a hundred million years into the future. This RAW showing will trace the first two hundred years. Inspired by Alan Weisman's The World Without Us, the piece is whimsical, fantastical, and playful while being rooted in scientific ideas and the dire political and ethical contradictions that structure current human relations with nature and other animals. The piece will be performed by singer/multi-instrumentalists Gelsey Bell, Brian McCorkle, Odeya Nini, and Paul Pinto. Costumes and choreographic consultation by Walter Dundervill.

February 26 at 7pm (shared evening with Marie It's Time)

Raja Feather Kelly | the feath3r theory - The McCarthy Era

A dystopia between or beyond the surreal and the transcendent - the human condition in imagined realities,The McCarthy Era is not a biopic or a historical document, though it is based on facts. The research into who McCarthy was and what his namesake did to a country led Kelly to consider politics and the undeniable anxiety and influence of popular culture. Anne Bogart purports that the theatre community in the United States was stuck by the cataclysmic event of McCarthyism and that this political attack forced artists to radically alter or adjust their lives and values. The McCarthy Era examines if this is true.

February 28 at 7pm (solo bill)

Baba Israel & Grace Galu | Soul Inscribed - Cannabis! A Theatrical Concert

Baba Israel and Grace Galu, along with their band Soul Inscribed, use music, dance and spoken word to explore the history of cannabis. The show is grounded in the hip hop tradition of the remix, mashing up music from La Cucaracha of the Mexican Revolution, Louis Armstrong and other Jazz "vipers," to the Beat era, 60's Rock n' Roll, and Reggae. Inspired by Martin A. Lee's book Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational and Scientific (2012), Israel adapts the stories of countercultural icons, grassroots activists, and the plant itself, weaving a time-traveling tale of jubilation, injustice, and transformation.

February 29 - March 1 at 7pm (shared evening with Priestess of Twerk)

Ximena Garnica and Shige Moriya with the LEIMAY Ensemble - A Meal

In an intimate setting, a small group of attendees share in a communal journey traced by food. Part art installation, part ritual, part laboratory, and part dinner, this poem for the senses creates space for friends and strangers to prepare, serve, and eat together; while reflecting on our post-industrial relationship with food.

A Meal exists as social sculpture, performance event, and theatrical experience delicately framed by dancing bodies, crafted recipes, and mythological beings.

A Meal came out of the artist's experience and desire to build a community. It's about bringing people together through visceral rituals. With the state of divisiveness and partisanship currently rampant in the U.S., A Meal opens a space to create new relationships while questioning, through art, the structures and environmental challenges of food in the anthropocene.

February 29 - March 1 at 7pm (shared evening with A Meal)

Nia O. Witherspoon - Priestess of Twerk

Priestess of Twerk will merge stories from strip clubs, street corners, and dimly-lit basements with cross-cultural indigenous cosmologies inside an immersive pleasure temple. In this work, several women, who have gone through black feminist monastic training, preside over an interactive, multi-disciplinary, and ceremonial event that strives to eradicate white capitalist heterosexist patriarchy in its embrace of all radical forms of femme sexuality and agency - gender reassignment, pregnancy, menstruation, orgasm, birth control, and yoni steams.

Arguably, the black female body is the most eroticized figure in the contemporary (and historic) imaginations, yet it is rare that the worlds of sex-work and theatre meet at the nexus of race and spirit. Compiling fictional characters with memoir from Witherspoon's own sexual awakening as a black mixed-race femme, auto-ethnography from her labor as an erotic dancer, and devised work in collaboration with sex-work and reproductive justice organizations, this experience re-creates an ancient temple of sexuality, built by and for women of color as a space for the public to re-encounter what Audre Lorde calls the sacred "erotic" on their own terms.

The final presentation will take the form of an immersive performative experience where the audiences have the chance to traverse multiple chambers, each with a different modality of audience experience - alternately witnessing, interacting, or participating. In this multi-dimensional space, in contrast to the world at large, even interactions which contain transactions will center the pleasure and agency of the Twerk Priestesses.

One of the most robust residency programs in the country and serving as a national model, HARP provides a commission, development support, career planning, and a full production to hybrid artists, all within a collaborative environment of peers working across disparate art forms - including theatre, dance, music, puppetry, visual art, and new media. HARP provides significant long-term support, as well as up to $50,000 in cash and more than $50,000 in space, equipment and services over three years to tailor each residency to each artist's individual needs. Through significant investment of time and resources, dynamic work within a strong community is created.

The OBIE-winning HERE (Kristin Marting, Founding Artistic Director) was named a Top Ten Off-Off Broadway Theatre by Time Out New York and is a leader in the field of producing and presenting new, hybrid performances viewed as a seamless integration of artistic disciplines-theatre, dance, music and opera, puppetry, media, visual and installation, spoken word and performance art.

HERE's standout productions include Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues, Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge, Trey Lyford & Geoff Sobelle's all wear bowlers, Young Jean Lee's Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven, James Scruggs' Disposable Men, Corey Dargel's Removable Parts, Robin Frohardt's The Pigeoning, and Basil Twist's Symphonie Fantastique and, this season Looking at You by Rob Handel, Kristin Marting and Kamala Sankaram.
HERE is also recognized nationally and internationally for its Dream Music Puppetry Program, co-curated and co-produced by Basil Twist and HERE's co-founder Barbara Busackino; and for the annual PROTOTYPE festival of opera-theatre and music-theatre, co-founded and co-produced with Beth Morrison Projects in 2013.PROTOTYPE commissions, develops, produces, and presents new 21st century works of contemporary opera and music-theatre and is presented at venues throughout New York City.

Since its founding in 1993, HERE and the artists it has supported have received 18 Obies, 2 Bessies, 5 Drama Desk Nominations, 2 Pulitzer Prizes, 4 Doris Duke Awards, and 2 MacArthur Fellowships.


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