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Melay Araya Announced as New Artistic Director of The Town Hall

The Town Hall has also announced new, free digital programming.

Melay Araya Announced as New Artistic Director of The Town Hall

The Town Hall Foundation's Board of Trustees and Lawrence Zucker, Executive Director, have announced that Melay Araya has been named the new Artistic Director of the renowned performing arts venue. Since 2018, Araya worked at Town Hall in the joint role of Associate Artistic Director and Archivist. She is the host of CENTURY OF STORY AND SONG, Town Hall's digital series featuring the highlights of its remarkable history.

Melay said, "I feel honored to build on The Town Hall's robust and inspiring legacy of being the 'Hall for All.' In the face of the pandemic, the protests, the constant political, environmental and social change all over the world, The Town Hall will strive to provide audiences with art, entertainment, education and inspiration. There is so much need: a need for insight, for illumination, for comfort, for distraction, and for pleasure."

"For nearly a century, The Town Hall is where downtown came uptown, where uptown came downtown, and where artists the world over brought their groundbreaking work to live audiences. I envision a time in the not-too-distant future where we can continue in that great tradition with live events. But for now, we have a robust slate of free digital programming to announce."

Zucker noted, "Melay is a breath of fresh air and a new perspective. With her vision, we will take artistic risks and use our digital platform to break young, experimental artists in dance, visual art, literary art and film. While continuing to present live-streamed, audience-free concerts, we are already planning for a post-pandemic time when live audiences will return to 43rd Street. But safety and science come first."

This fall programming at The Town Hall will feature free live-streamed and online events as noted below. The company is building its programming with artists from around the world to provide audiences new ways of seeing, responding to, and finding some pleasure in the present moment."

2020 FALL SEASON AT THE TOWN HALL

The Town Hall Teach-Ins is a new program of adult education on a diverse array of topics meant to expand our audience's consciousness.

DATE TBA: Century of Story and Song (CSS) - TOWN BLOODY HALL WITH DIRECTOR CHRIS HEGADUS AND FILM SCHOLAR PROFESSOR MIA MASK

Chris Hegadus will discuss the Criterion Collection's release of her documentary Town Bloody Hall (1979), which captured Norman Mailer, Germaine Greer, Jill Johnston, Diana Trilling and Jacqueline Ceballos in an infamous debate on women's liberation at The Town Hall. Dr. Mia Mask, Professor of Film at Vassar College, will speak to Chris Hegadus about the film, the evolution of American documentary film, and The Town Hall event itself.

9/24: Screening of FANDANGO ON THE WALL (2020) dir. Varda Bar-Kar.

The Town Hall presents a free live streamed screening of the HBO film documenting Grammy winner O'Farrill's trip as he recorded an album on the Mexico-United States border. Followed by a post-show interactive Q+A with director Varda Bar-Kar and Arturo O'Farrill.

10/01: BLACK PEOPLE ARE MY BUSINESS: Toni Cade Bambara's Practices of Liberation - A Teach-In with Professor Thabiti Lewis

Thabiti Lewis, Professor of English at Washington State University, presents his recently released book "Black People Are My Business": Toni Cade Bambara's Practices of Liberation (2020) in a teach-in on Toni Cade Bambara's work and its relevance to activists and cultural workers today.

10/06: CSS Demanding Space: SUFFRAGE, POLITICS, AND POWER IN THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY WITH HISTORIANS Lauren Santangelo and Dr. Paula Austin

The two educators will discuss Santangelo's book Suffrage and the City: New York Women Battle for the Ballot (2019) and Austen's Coming of Age in Jim Crow DC (2019). Conversation to include suffrage movements in New York and Washington, DC., and will cover the legacy of The League for Political Education, the suffragist organization that founded The Town Hall. Santangelo is a lecturer at Princeton University. Austin is a professor at Boston University.

10/13: Century of Story and Song - Louis Armstrong'S HEART OF RHYTHM WITH Ricky Riccardi

Riccardi, Director of Research Collections for the Louis Armstrong House Museum, will present his latest book Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong (2020)

DATE TBA: The 50th Anniversary of THE BLUEST EYE

The Town Hall presents a 50th anniversary commemoration of Toni Morrison's landmark debut with scholars and peers of the great novelist.

DATE TBA: POETS FOR LEBANON

Poets gather for a fundraiser to benefit organizations doing on the ground-work in the aftermath of the August explosion in Beirut.

10/31: Century of Story and Song - A BLUE MOON HALLOWEEN: SUN RA AND THE COMET KOHOUTEK WITH PROFESSOR SZWED. More guests TBA.

The Town Hall hosts a Halloween and Blue Moon (2nd full moon of the month) celebration to commemorate the 1973 Town Hall concert and recording of Sun Ra and the Arkestra's homage to the Comet Kohoutek, which was passing by Earth at the time.

MELAY ARAYA (Artistic Director) is an arts programmer and trained vocalist, violinist and actor. A researcher who has worked for institutions such as the Schomburg Center, Columbia University and Realside Productions, Melay cut her teeth in arts and humanities programming creating and managing programs which include showings at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, the National Gallery of Art, and the Venice Biennale, and speaker events at universities such as Stanford University and Tulane University.


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