Theatre 167 Launches 167 WEST: ART INTO ACTION Series Exploring Social Justice
This month, Theatre 167 launches 167 West: Art into Action - a series of play readings exploring social justice/activist themes. The first three events in the series will take place in Montclair, New Jersey.
Founded in 2010 by Artistic Director Ari Laura Kreith, Theatre 167's work ranges from The Jackson Heights Trilogy - three full-length plays collaboratively written by 18 playwrights, in 14 languages, featuring 37 actors in 93 roles - to the four-actor Pirira by J.Stephen Brantley, set in Malawi and New York, which received the New York Innovative Theatre Foundation Award for Outstanding Premiere of a Play.
Other highlights include the world premiere of Pulitzer- and Tony-nominated Tina Howe's climate change drama Singing Beach; Antu Yacob's Mourning Sun, which premiered in Manhattan and toured to Uganda; site-specific work at Queens Museum and the NY Transit Museum; commissions from Queens Theatre and the New Ohio/Theatre: Village Festival; and their current touring adaptation of Marina Budhos' novel Watched, which looks at the impact of surveillance on Muslim-American communities.
Theatre 167 was founded in Jackson Heights, Queens - the most diverse neighborhood in the world--and is named for the number languages spoken there. Now a resident company at the West End Theatre in Manhattan, Theatre 167 develops and produces new work that explores cultural intersections and gives voice to those whose stories often go untold.
167 West: Art Into Action will launch in Montclair tonight, November 30, with a free reading of Pirira featuring Kristen Adele, Adrian Baidoo, J.Stephen Brantley and Todd Flaherty, with stage directions read by Marlaina Sims Powell. This award-winning play premiered at Theatre 167 in 2013, and transferred Off-Broadway. The reading will be held at the United Way Theatre, 60 S. Fullerton Ave, at 8pm, and is part of the Montclair Arts Festival produced by the Montclair Arts Alliance.
Pirira is set during riots that took place in the African nation of Malawi on July 20, 2011. As violence erupts around them, expatriate aid workers Jack and Ericka take shelter in the storage room of a struggling NGO in Lilongwe. At the same time, half a world away, Malawian student Gilbert and his gay co-worker Chad begin their day in the back room of a Manhattan florist. This searing drama exposes how lives can be inextricably linked across continents, language and time.
Upcoming 167 West events will include Rachel, a new musical about scientist and environmental activist Rachel Carson; Watched, an adaptation of Marina Budhos' novel about the impact of surveillance on Muslim-American communities; and a reading of Karen Zacarias' Just Like Us, which follows the lives of four Mexican-American girls as they approach college and discover that their immigration status dictates their opportunities.