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New Village Arts Announces Changes To Its Upcoming Season, Including New Programming And Opportunities

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New Village Arts Theatre (NVA) is announcing a change to the upcoming 2020 - 2021 season. Given the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, NVA will not be able to produce live theatre inside their theatre space until later in 2021. NVA had hoped to be starting its landmark 20th Anniversary Season this month, but instead, artistic leadership and the Board of Directors have decided to postpone that season entirely and begin in July of 2021.

This postponement includes other live events, including live concerts and cabarets, and the Final Draft New Play Festival, originally slated for January 2021. All playwrights who have already submitted work will have that submission automatically placed for consideration in the 2022 Festival. NVA looks forward to accepting submissions from any and all playwrights on a rolling basis; more information about the 2022 Festival will be made available in Spring 2021. New Village Arts is committed to producing a diversity of voices and will stay true to that commitment, and will continue offering online play readings and workshops over the next six months when possible.

It has been three and a half months since NVA halted production of Jen Silverman's THE ROOMMATE, canceled its Annual Fundraising Gala, and moved to all-digital programming. At the time, NVA leadership had hoped that regular programming might be able to begin in July, though it is clear that the effects of the global pandemic will be long-lasting. NVA wishes to express gratitude to the many individuals, foundations and corporations who have stepped up to help the organization weather the pandemic.

Despite these challenges, NVA artists, staff, and leadership are working to ensure that the company remains vital and relevant during this period, while prioritizing inclusivity in all aspects of the organization. NVA is continuing its work on two World Premiere productions to get them ready for audiences when the theatre reopens.

The first is an original holiday musical created by Frankie Alicea-Ford, Kevin "Blax" Burroughs, Dea Hurston, and Milena (Sellers) Phillips, written by Dea Hurston. HOME is a new musical about a Black matriarch hosting her family for a festive Christmas Eve party and, in the chaos, rediscovering the strength within herself. NVA will be hosting online workshop performances of HOME in December 2020, followed by a fully-staged production in the holiday season of 2021.

NVA also continues to work behind the scenes on the World Premiere of Roy Sekigahama's DESERT ROCK GARDEN. This touching play follows a young orphan and an older gardener and their experiences in the Topaz Relocation Center during World War II. Originally produced as part of the Final Draft New Play Festival in 2019, NVA is proud to feature Mr. Sekigahama's exciting voice on stage. This show will take place in either the Spring or Fall of 2021, thanks to a generous grant from the California Civil Liberties program and two individual donors.

NVA's extensive education and outreach programs will continue during this period of closure, with a goal of making theatre and arts experiences available for all members of the community. NVA is developing new classes and programs-this hiatus in production is an opportunity to expand education programs, including more neurodiverse programming, a new Online Academy training program, and the continued presence of established programs like Kids Act, Monday Night Live, and Playwrights Project, most of which will function as online classes until it is safe to gather in small groups. NVA is also reestablishing and reinvigorating Teatro Pueblo Nuevo, its Latinx outreach initiative, now led by Frankie Alicea-Ford.

The Foundry Artist Studios at New Village Arts are open to the public three days a week. Following established health and safety guidelines, visitors are welcome to the Foundry to purchase original art. The Foundry is open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 12-4pm, with limited capacity. Facemasks are required for entry, except for those with a medical exemption.

New Village Arts is also planning for future events and experiences, including online cabarets, outdoor performances and more. Behind-the-scenes work is also in place for major upgrades to the building, and NVA is in the process of rebranding in preparation for its twentieth anniversary season. More information on these new developments will be made public on a rolling basis.

Earned revenue from live events makes up roughly 70% of NVA's income, and without that revenue, the support of donors and sponsors is essential to sustain the theatre during this crisis. To that end, NVA is introducing the "Play Your Part with New Village Arts" fundraising campaign to raise $150,000 by the end of November, 2020. This fundraising campaign will support basic operations, help pay reduced salaries for staff and artists, and fund planning and programming initiatives through June 2021, in order to ensure that NVA is able to reopen when the time is right.

The arts are crucial to a healthy society. Once it is safe to gather again, we will need to hear each other's stories and have the shared experience of laughter, discussion and deeper thinking that NVA is known for. NVA recognizes the incredible challenges that face our artists, patrons, and community during this time, and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure a healthy future for all members of the community.

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