Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Immersive UP CLOSE Festival Returns To New Ohio This Winter

Immersive UP CLOSE Festival Returns To New Ohio This Winter

The UP CLOSE Festival - an immersive theater festival for the entire family, inspired by the community organizing principles of Jane Jacobs - returns for a holiday run (December 27, 2019-January 4, 2020). The New Ohio's basement theater transforms into a secret archive of the neighborhood as audiences engage in a hands-on, 360° pre-show experience, followed by a series of short-form, locally-inspired pieces, each created by teams of NYC's most adventurous theatre artists. The event, recommended for ages 5 and up, is presented by New Ohio Theatre as part of its Theatre for Young Minds holiday series. Tickets available November 15. For more information, visit

The UP CLOSE Festival is the brainchild of curator/founding artistic producer Peter Musante (known for his all-ages site-specific immersive creations with Trusty Sidekick Theater Company at Lincoln Center Education, Park Avenue Armory) who teams up this season with co-artistic producer and award-winning theatre educator Sara Morgulis, a longtime collaborator of the New York City Children's Theater.

"As we first discovered in 2018, digging into the untold histories of the area now known as Greenwich Village has been fertile territory for this new type of family audience experience," says Musante. "In our second year, we want to deepen our connection to Jane Jacobs' mandate for a healthy diversity of ground level, face-to-face experiences in a mixed-use space and see what sorts of new creative connections arise. I am particularly excited about our Archive Apprentice initiative and the prospect of creating "with", and not just "for," young New Yorkers. I am also thrilled to join forces with grass-roots community projects like Perfect City whose commitment to using art as a means to address local issues is in keeping with Jane Jacobs' mandate," he further explains.

The festival returns to New Ohio Theatre, located in a landmark building that once housed the National Archives Record Center. In 2019, UP CLOSE invites teenage actor-creators to research, create and perform the role of Archive Apprentice. The program, designed for young theatremakers (ages 13-18), will invite them to take part in a professional devising process and draw on their expertise as young New Yorkers to create archivist characters who will serve as the welcoming stewards of this secret space.

The confirmed participating artists include Spellbound Theatre Company, with company members Lauren Sharpe and Robert Thaxton-Stevenson; Ben Weber; Wooster Group Summer Institute alumni Marisa Blankier and Christopher Stevenson, joined by Oye Group's Modesto Flako Jimenez, and Aaron Landsman, with Perfect City artists; Adrienne Kapstein, with sound designer Bhurin Sead of Blue Man Group; and an Archive Apprentice devising team led by Trusty Sidekick Theater Company members Brit Lenae Gossett and Esteban Rodriguez-Alverio. Ty Defoe is an artistic advisor to the festival. Marisol Rosa-Shapiro, whose beloved character from last year's festival, Pizza Rat, will be our guide and host.

More participating artists and program details to be announced.

Related Articles View More Off-Off-Broadway Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You