Photo: Joseph Augstein.














Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham announced the line-up today for The Public’s 2021-22 Season, returning to their landmark home on 425 Lafayette Street after the year-long pandemic shutdown with a robust slate of new productions and ongoing programming. The iconic New York destination has been home to over 50 years of revolutionary theater, and continues this season with new plays and musicals by Erika Dickerson-Despenza, Daniel Alexander Jones, Tom Kitt, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Mona Mansour, Suzan-Lori Parks, Shaina Taub, and Brian Yorkey. The season will also feature co-productions by Jaclyn Backhaus, Sam Chanse, Mia Chung, James Ijames, Naomi Iizuka, Anna Ouyang Moench, and Lloyd Suh with renowned theater companies Barrington Stage Company & Ma-Yi Theater Company, NAATCO, and National Black Theatre.

“For the last 18 months, we have been unable to create the most basic requirement of our art form: gathering artists and audiences in one room. The return of theater is the return of community, a return to the city we love, a return to the vital mission we have to create, encourage, and promote cultural democracy,” said Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “Our 21-22 season is a response to all our values, restoring long-term relationships and creating new relationships that reflect the theater we want to become. We are working with artists with whom we have a long history, as well as artists who have never worked with The Public before. We have created a season that has over 50% BIPOC representation in all artistic leadership roles, en route to our goal of having artists, staff, and audiences fully represent the city we love.”

Eustis continued, “We are offering partnerships and residencies to colleague theaters who have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic crisis, supporting not only artists of color, but theaters of color. And it’s a season of brilliant and delightful shows. Along with our programs, which are at the heart of The Public, these shows embody what The Public is, and what it stands for. We are so glad to be back. The future is uncertain, but full of possibility. I’m glad we will walk into it together.”

More important than ever, The Public also continues its year-round engagement through its vital programs: Joe’s Pub, Mobile Unit, Public Works, Under the Radar, Public Forum, Public Shakespeare Initiative, #BARS, and Emerging Writers Group. This season, Joe’s Pub will return with multi-night runs on Tuesdays-Saturdays and shows nightly on Sundays and Mondays beginning October 5, Mobile Unit will bring their work to correctional facilities with Mobile Unit in Corrections, Under the Radar will celebrate its 18th edition in January 2022, and Public Shakespeare Initiative’s Hunts Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble will present their own adaptation of Twelfth Night in Spring 2022.

“We couldn’t think of a more perfect way to follow the return of Free Shakespeare in the Park this summer than the reopening of our landmark flagship on Astor Place this fall,” said Executive Director Patrick Willingham. “After more than a year of mostly dark and empty theaters and spaces, we’re excited to welcome New York back to The Public Theater for our incredible upcoming season. We’re continuously grateful for the partnership of our unions, public health experts, and elected officials across the federal, State, and City level, who have made the reopening of culture and the performing arts possible across New York City and who have worked hard to ensure that we and our fellow non-profit performing arts organizations have the support necessary to push forward through the impact of the pandemic and the shutdown. We particularly want to thank Majority Leader Schumer and the members of Congress that made the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant possible. Without their visionary leadership in making this first of its kind grant possible, we would not be able to make such a robust slate of activity available to the people of the City of New York.”

The Public Theater is committed to being a more just, more anti-racist, and more equitable organization. The Public’s leadership and staff-led cultural transformation work is guided by a plan that is built on impactful commitments and goals and the actions needed to achieve them. Learn more about The Public’s cultural transformation plan here.

Continuing The Public’s mission to make great theater accessible to all, The Public’s Joseph Papp Free Preview Initiative will return for all 2021-22 productions. Free tickets to the first performance of every production will be available via a digital lottery on the day-of-performance, powered by The Public’s digital partner, Goldstar. To further increase accessibility, for the first time ever, from October through December, all tickets to Joe’s Pub performances on Tuesdays will be $10. Tickets for the 2021-22 season will go on sale in the coming weeks.

The Public is excited to welcome our community back to its flagship home at Astor Place. To play our part in helping to protect everyone as we return, The Public will require proof of a complete FDA or WHO authorized vaccination for access into the facility for everyone—all staff, artists, and audiences. Proof along with a government issued photo I.D., such as a driver’s license, passport, or IDNYC will also be required. A complete vaccination means having received a final FDA or WHO vaccination dose at least 14 days before the performance date. The access policy for anyone unvaccinated, those under 12 and those that require a reasonable accommodation due to a medical condition or religious belief, will be forthcoming shortly as information from New York City officials evolves. There will be no vaccination exemptions for anyone attending a performance in Joe’s Pub. Approved face masks will be required at all times inside the facility and theaters, including while watching a performance, except while actively eating and drinking. For the latest health and safety protocols, visit All policies are subject to change at The Public’s sole discretion and without notice.

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World Premiere Musical
Music by Tom Kitt
Lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Book by Kwame Kwei-Armah & Brian Yorkey
Choreography by Lorin Latarro
Directed by Daniel Sullivan
October 7 – November 21, 2021; Opening Night: November 4

The cast of THE VISITOR will include Jacqueline Antaramian (Mouna), Robert Ariza (Ensemble), Anthony Chan (Ensemble), Alysha Deslorieux (Zainab), Delius Doherty (Ensemble), C.K. Edwards (Ensemble), Will Erat (Ensemble), Sean Ewing (Swing), Ahmad Maksoud (Ensemble), Dimitri Joseph Moïse (Ensemble), Takafumi Nikaido (Ensemble/Drummer), David Hyde Pierce (Walter), Paul Pontrelli (Ensemble), and Ari’el Stachel (Tarek). Complete casting will be announced at a later date.

With heart, humor, and lush new songs, Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning team Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey and Kwame Kwei-Armah bring their soul-stirring new musical based on the acclaimed independent film, THE VISITOR by Thomas McCarthy, to The Public for its World Premiere. Widowed and living alone, Walter is a college professor whose life has lost a sense of purpose. When Tarek, a vivacious drummer, and Zainab, an iron-willed jewelry maker, enter his life in the most unexpected circumstances, Walter is swept up into their struggle to stay in an America that they have made their home, but seeks to cast them out. Tony winner Daniel Sullivan directs this unforgettable new musical about friends and lovers caught between two worlds.

THE VISITOR will feature scenic design by David Zinn; costume design by Toni-Leslie James; lighting design by Japhy Weideman; sound design by Jessica Paz and Sun Hee Kil; video design by David Bengali and Hana S. Kim; hair, wigs, and make-up design by Matthew Armentrout; orchestrations by Jamshied Sharifi; music direction by Meg Zervoulis; and music contracting by Tomoko Akaboshi. James Latus will serve as production stage manager.

World Premiere
By Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Directed by Candis C. Jones
November 2 – December 5, 2021; Opening Night: November 17

The initial cast of CULLUD WATTAH features Crystal Dickinson (Marion), Lizan Mitchell (Big Ma), Andrea Patterson (Ainee), and Alicia Pilgrim (Plum). Complete casting will be announced at a later date.

2021 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize winner Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s new Afro-surrealist play premieres at The Public about three generations of Black women living through the current water crisis in Flint, Michigan. It’s been 936 days since Flint has had clean water. Marion, a third-generation General Motors employee, is consumed by layoffs at the engine plant. When her sister, Ainee, seeks justice and restitution for lead poisoning, her plan reveals the toxic entanglements between the city and its most powerful industry, forcing their family to confront the past present-future cost of survival. As lead seeps into their home and their bodies, corrosive memories and secrets rise among them. Will this family ever be able to filter out the truth? Directed by Lilly Award winner Candis C. Jones, CULLUD WATTAH blends form and bends time, diving deep into the poisonous choices of the outside world, the contamination within, and how we make the best choices for our families’ future when there are no real, present options. CULLUD WATTAH comes to us from the same playwright and director duo behind the thrilling digital production of shadow/land.

CULLUD WATTAH will feature scenic design by Adam Rigg; costume design by Kara Harmon; lighting design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew; sound design by Sinan Refik Zafar; hair, wigs, and make-up by Earon Nealy; original composition by Justin Hicks; and movement direction by Adesola Osakalumi. Janelle Caso will serve as production stage manager.

CULLUD WATTAH was developed by Erika Dickerson-Despenza as a Tow Playwright-in-Residence at The Public Theater. Lead support for CULLUD WATTAH provided by the Laurents / Hatcher Foundation. Additional support provided by the Edgerton Foundation and the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.


Joe’s Pub reopens this fall, ushering in the return of the best in live music and performance to NYC. With multi-night runs on Tuesdays-Saturdays and shows nightly on Sundays and Mondays, the dynamic season line-up will kick off on Tuesday, October 5 with Justin Vivian Bond and The Illustrious Blacks. Laurie Anderson’s Vanguard Award and Residency will be extended through summer 2022, as will the current cohort of the Joe’s Pub Working Group, which includes Salty Brine, Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Jaime Lozano, Roopa Mahadevan, and Kirsten Maxwell. For the first time ever, from October through December, all tickets on Tuesdays will be $10 (limit two per person).

Upcoming Joe’s Pub Performances Include:
October 5-9 | Justin Vivian Bond with opener The Illustrious Blacks
October 10 | Sondre Lerche
October 11 | Martha Redbone and Her Band of Funkateers
October 12-16 | Kludge: curated by Laurie Anderson, feat. Anne Carson, Arto Lindsay, Rubin Kodheli & Lafcadio Cass
October 17 | Queen Esther
October 18 | Malik Work
October 19-23 | Taylor Mac
October 24-25 | EPIC Players
October 26-30 | The Bad Plus
October 31 | The Bowery Boys
November 1 | The Skivvies
November 2-5 | Yacine Boulares & The Habibi Festival Band feat. Alsarah, Kinan Azmeh & Esraa Warda with opener Haig Papazian
November 7 | Kaoru Watanabe
November 8 | Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis & Friends
November 9-11 | Toshi Reagon & BIGLovely
November 12-13 | Toshi Reagon & Lizz Wright
November 14 | Nona Hendryx
November 15 | Kate Rigg
November 16-20 | Jazzmeia Horn and Her Noble Force
November 21 | Michael Mayo
November 28 | Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir
November 30 – December 4 | Bridget Everett & The Tender Moments with opener Celisse
December 5-6 | Peppermint
December 7-11 | Joe McGinty & The Loser’s Lounge
December 14-18 | Murray Hill with opener Ike Ufomadu
December 21-23 | Yemen Blues with opener Ahmed Alshaiba
December 26-31 | Sandra Bernhard with opener Unitard

By Suzan-Lori Parks
Directed by Niegel Smith

On March 13, 2020, as theaters shut their doors and so many of us went into lockdown, celebrated playwright Suzan-Lori Parks picked up her pen and set out to write a play every day. What emerged is a breathtaking chronicle of our collective experience throughout the troubling days and nights that followed. PLAYS FOR THE PLAGUE YEAR is at once a personal story of one family’s daily lives as well as a sweeping account of all we faced as a city, a nation, and a global community. Brimming with humanity, Parks’ groundbreaking new work bears witness to what we’ve experienced and offers inspiration as we look ahead. Working in collaboration with Niegel Smith as director, The Public Theater will plan to share this vital new work over the course of the season.

Digital Album by Daniel Alexander Jones
Weekly Installments to be Released Beginning September 22

Acclaimed theater artist Daniel Alexander Jones’ latest work, ALTAR NO. 1 – ATEN uses our solar system as both metaphor and method for an immersive journey through the celestial, within and without. The work invites you to take part in a dynamic new creative odyssey through the ever-expanding digital portal ALTAR NO. 1 – ATEN unfolds through a series of weekly installments that include a new album of 15 original songs by Jones and Josh Quat; connected music videos; a series of probing podcast conversations with special guests; and invitations for visitors to engage on and offline. It is a site for you to return—to replenish, reflect, and contribute to a growing archive of shared reflection and inspiration. ALTAR NO. 1 – ATEN launches Daniel Alexander Jones’ multivalent ALTAREDSTATES project, devised over the last two years in collaboration with the creative braintrust of Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ebony Noelle Golden, Walter Kitundu, Josh Quat, and Sangodare Wallace.

ALTAR NO. 1 – ATEN is commissioned by The Public Theater, and created with support from CalArts Center for New Performance and New York Live Arts’ Live Feed Residency, with funding from Rockefeller Brothers Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, and the Partners for New Performance. This project is made possible with generous support from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Theater Project, with lead funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and additional support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Produced by CalArts Center for New Performance.

Mobile Unit Initiative Returns this Fall

The Public Theater is proud to continue MOBILE UNIT IN CORRECTIONS, its first long-term program that brings the tools of theater into the daily lives of incarcerated communities. As institutions begin to reinstate programming, Mobile Unit will release the second volume in the Hip-Hop vs. Shakespeare video series with the NYC Department of Corrections with a corresponding workshop. The second series was created and conceived by hip-hop theater artist Malik Work and Mobile Unit Community Programs Manager Praycious Wilson-Gay, and aims to activate creative thinking, develop skills of writing and performing verse, and encourage a life-long passion for learning. Participants are provided with supplemental materials administered through our corrections partners. The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit remains community-driven, radically inclusive, and civically engaged; maintains a strong dialogue with communities across the five boroughs; and continues to deepen partnerships with corrections, community centers, and libraries, while developing new ways to create narratives about, for, and by our beloved communities.

18th Edition
January 12-23, 2022

January 2022 will bring a fully live in-person Under the Radar Festival back to The Public. A highlight of the festival will be performances by the Devised Theater Working Group who have been developing projects for the past two years. The pandemic has forced the theater field to question how it imagines a post-COVID theater; it has also led to leaps of innovation and reimagination—UTR will be a meeting ground to explore all of those questions and embrace new possibilities.

World Premiere Plays
By Jaclyn Backhaus, Sam Chanse, Mia Chung, Naomi Iizuka, and Anna Ouyang Moench
Commissioned and Produced by NAATCO
Conceived and Directed by Les Waters
Presented by The Public Theater
February 2022

The Public and The National Asian American Theatre Company (NAATCO) join forces in presenting OUT OF TIME, a collection of brand-new monologues by five award-winning Asian American playwrights, performed by an ensemble of actors all over the age of 60. Conceived and directed by Obie Award-winning director Les Waters and commissioned by NAATCO, OUT OF TIME is a theatrical tapestry exploring age, memory, motherhood, and identity in moving new works by writers Jaclyn Backhaus, Sam Chanse, Mia Chung, Naomi Iizuka, and Anna Ouyang Moench.

OUT OF TIME will feature scenic design by Kimie Nishikawa, costume design by Mariko Ohigashi, and sound design by Fabian Obispo.

By Lloyd Suh
The Barrington Stage Company and Ma-Yi Theater Company Production
Directed by Ralph B. Peña
Presented by The Public Theater
February 2022

Inspired by the true story of the first Chinese woman to step foot in America, Lloyd Suh’s criticallyacclaimed play, THE CHINESE LADY, is a tale of dark poetic whimsy and a unique portrait of the United States as seen through the eyes of a young Chinese girl. In 1834, 16-year-old Afong Moy sailed into New York Harbor and was immediately put on display for a paying public who were mesmerized by her exotic ways and horrified by her tiny bound feet. As audiences follow Moy’s travels through America as a living exhibit for decades, THE CHINESE LADY reveals centuries of America’s shameful colonial history.

World Premiere Musical
Book, Music, and Lyrics by Shaina Taub
Choreography by Raja Feather Kelly
Directed by Leigh Silverman
March 2022

A musical event one hundred years in the making, SUFFS brings to life a complicated chapter in the ongoing battle for the right to vote: the American women’s suffrage movement. Written by and featuring one of the most exciting new voices in theater, Shaina Taub, this epic new musical takes an unflinching look at these unsung trailblazers. In the years leading up to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, an impassioned group of suffragists—“Suffs” as they called themselves—took to the streets, pioneering protest tactics that transformed the country. They risked their lives as they clashed with the president, the public, and each other. A thrilling story of brilliant, flawed women working against and across generational, racial, and class divides, SUFFS boldly explores the victories and failures of a fight for equality that is still far from over.

SUFFS will feature scenic design by Mimi Lien, costume design by Toni-Leslie James, lighting design by Natasha Katz, sound design by Sun Hee Kil and Palmer Hefferan, orchestrations by Mike Brun, and music direction and supervision by Andrea Grody. In addition to choreographer, Raja Feather Kelly will be creative consultant and Melanie Lisby will serve as production stage manager. Additional support for SUFFS provided by the Edgerton Foundation and the Laurents / Hatcher Foundation.

New York Premiere Public Theater Commission
By Mona Mansour
Directed by Mark Wing-Davey
April 2022

Mona Mansour, award-winning playwright and alumna of The Public’s Emerging Writers Group, delves into the Palestinian struggle for home and identity in THE VAGRANT TRILOGY, a single epic story told in three parts. In 1967, Adham, a Palestinian Wordsworth scholar, goes to London with his new wife to deliver a lecture. When war breaks out at home, he must decide in an instant what to do—a choice that will affect the rest of his life. The two parts that follow explore alternate realities based on that decision. Each part in the trilogy speaks to the others, together painting a rare and moving picture of Palestinian displacement and a refugee’s life of permanent impermanence. Featuring six actors in 19 different roles, Mansour’s drama spans four decades and three generations of a family uprooted by war and politics. Obie Award winner and Drama Desk Award nominee Mark Wing-Davey directs this sweeping new epic about the poetry and pain of losing the place called home.

THE VAGRANT TRILOGY will feature scenic design by Allen Moyer, costume design by Dina El-Aziz, lighting design by Reza Behjat, and video design by Greg Emetaz. Caroline Englander will serve as production stage manager.

New York Premiere Play
Co-Production with National Black Theatre
By James Ijames
Directed by Saheem Ali
May 2022

Critically-acclaimed playwright James Ijames reinvents Shakespeare’s masterpiece with his new drama, FAT HAM. Juicy is a queer, Southern college kid, already grappling with some serious questions of identity, when the ghost of his father shows up in their backyard, demanding that Juicy avenge his murder. It feels like a familiar story to Juicy, well-versed in Hamlet’s woes. What’s different is Juicy himself, a sensitive and self-aware young Black man trying to break the cycles of trauma and violence in service of his own liberation. From an uproarious family barbecue emerges a compelling examination of love and loss, pain and joy. FAT HAM is a delectable comic tragedy directed by The Public’s Associate Artistic Director Saheem Ali.

Public Shakespeare Initiative and The Hunts Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble
May 2022

A new season of the Hunts Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble will begin early in October 2021 and culminate in May 2022 with a production of Twelfth Night. The Ensemble will meet in person with up to 60 young people and a full creative team for eight months of workshops and discovery around a variety of theater-making skills while also incorporating some new online learning tools discovered during the last 18 months of remote work.

Now in its 15th year, the Hunts Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble represents an extraordinary collaborative effort between the Public Shakespeare Initiative and community partner, the Hunts Point Alliance for Children. Fourth, fifth, and sixth graders from schools in the Hunts Point community of the South Bronx spend a full academic year discovering, rehearsing, and ultimately performing a Shakespeare play. In May each year, the Ensemble’s teamwork, creativity, and commitment come together in a celebratory production, complete with sets, lights, costumes, props, and live musicians. The Ensemble meets three times per week for eight months, working with a team of theater professionals to make Shakespeare’s original text their own. In partnership with the Hunts Point Alliance for Children, this longstanding program supports young people in developing intellectual, social, and emotional confidence, while strengthening practical skills such as public speaking, listening, creativity, and teamwork.


FREE SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park is one of the cornerstones of The Public Theater’s mission. Since 1962, over five million people have enjoyed more than 150 free productions of Shakespeare and other classical works and musicals. This summer, The Public returns to The Delacorte with an all Black staging of the delightful comedy, Merry Wives, adapted by award-winning playwright Jocelyn Bioh and directed by Associate Artistic Director and Resident Director Saheem Ali (July 6-September 18). The Jerome L. Greene Foundation is the proud season sponsor of Free Shakespeare in the Park.

JOE’S PUB, a program of the Public Theater, was named for Public Theater founder Joseph Papp. Since it opened in 1998, Joe’s Pub has played a vital role in The Public’s mission of supporting young artists while providing established artists with an intimate space to perform and develop new work. Joe’s Pub presents the best in live music and performance nightly, continuing its commitment to diversity, production values, community, and artistic freedom. The organization also offers opportunities like New York Voices, an artist commissioning program that helps musicians develop original live performance projects; Joe’s Pub Working Group, an artist development initiative; The Vanguard Award & Residency, a yearlong series that celebrates the career of a prolific and influential artist and has honored Nona Hendryx, Judy Collins, and Laurie Anderson; and nationwide programming partnerships. Currently commissioned artists include Alicia Hall Moran, Daniel J. Watts, Haig Papazian, Liza Paul & Bahia Watson, Sunny Jain, and Yacine Boulares. With its intimate atmosphere and superior acoustics, Joe’s Pub presents artists from all over the world as part of The Public’s programming downtown at its Astor Place home, hosting approximately 800 shows and serving over 100,000 audience members annually. New York Voices is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

PUBLIC WORKS, a major initiative of The Public Theater, aims to restore and build community by connecting people through the creation of extraordinary works of art. Public Works is animated by the idea that theater is a place of possibility, where the boundaries that separate us from each other in the rest of life can fall away. Working with partner organizations in all five boroughs, Public Works invites community members to take classes, attend performances, and join in the creation of ambitious works of participatory theater. Led by Public Works Director Laurie Woolery, this initiative deliberately blurs the line between professional artists and community members, creating theater that is not only for the people, but by and of the people as well. Public Works exemplifies The Public’s long-standing commitment to putting community at the core of the theater’s mission. Public Works seeks to create a space where we can not only reflect on the world as it is, but where we can propose new possibilities for what our society might be.

MOBILE UNIT. In its 10th year, The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit is a modern reimagining of Joseph Papp’s Mobile Theater. The Mobile Unit reaches across economic and geographic barriers to the arts by meeting our communities where they are – staging free professional theater productions and programs in local neighborhood venues such as libraries, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and community centers across all five New York City boroughs. Mobile Unit has served thousands of audiences with critically acclaimed productions including a 2018 National tour of Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat. In 2020, Mobile Unit received a Special Drama Desk Award for its program. During the pandemic, Mobile Unit launched a digital workshop inside the NYC Department of Corrections called Hip-Hop vs. Shakespeare where participants were encouraged to write their own stories. Mobile Unit believes theater is its most powerful when it reflects and connects to the lives of our community. Support for MOBILE UNIT provided by JetBlue Airways, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, The McLaughlin Children’s Trust, and Abrams Foundation.

PUBLIC SHAKESPEARE INITIATIVE offers a wide range of programming which includes larger Public Shakespeare Presents evenings, blending incisive commentary by scholars and other thinkers with appearances by artists of all disciplines; intimate Public Shakespeare Talks, giving audiences unique insight into the artistic and intellectual processes of leading Shakespeare practitioners working in the theater; Artist Development Programs, to cultivate some of the most visionary artistic minds working on Shakespeare today; and Education Programs, specifically the Hunts Point Children’s Shakespeare Ensemble, which The Shakespeare Society co-founded with the Hunts Point Alliance for Children over a decade ago, and which has offered hundreds of elementary and middle school students the opportunity to develop their confidence, knowledge, and creativity through the transformative experience of bringing Shakespeare’s words to life onstage in the 12 Shakespeare productions the Ensemble has presented.

UNDER THE RADAR FESTIVAL is considered one of the premier international theater festivals focused on new work. Under the Radar is heading into its 18th edition as a core part of The Public Theater’s mission – giving a platform to voices not always heard in the American Theater. UTR supports artists from around the country and the world who are redefining the act of making theater. UTR has introduced numerous artists who are now considered leaders in the field, such as Elevator Repair Service, 600 HIGHWAYMEN, Tarrell Alvin McCraney, The Nature Theater of Oklahoma, The Belarus Free Theater, Guillermo Calderon, Tania El Khoury, Lola Arias, to name a few. The festival provides a wide lens on contemporary theater: richly distinct in terms of perspectives, aesthetics, and social practice and pointing to the future of the art form.

DEVISED THEATER INITIATIVE at The Public is one of the first of its kind in the U.S., providing support and resources to the next generation of independent artists and ensembles. Born from iconic productions like Hair, For Colored Girls…, and A Chorus Line, The Public Theater has always been a strong supporter of the devised theater movement and has helped promote the work of prominent and emerging devised theater-makers. Through The Public’s annual Under the Radar Festival and in its season at Astor Place, innovative approaches to theater have been brought to the attention of audiences in New York and around the world.

EMERGING WRITERS GROUP is a long-term program that provides key support and resources for writers at every stage of their careers. It creates a fertile community and fosters a web of supportive artistic relationships across generations. Writers are selected bi-annually and receive a two-year fellowship at The Public which includes a stipend. Staged readings of works by Emerging Writers Group members are presented in the Spotlight Series at The Public. The playwrights also participate in a bi-weekly writers group led by The Public’s New Work Development department and master classes led by established playwrights. Additionally, they have a chance to observe rehearsals for productions at The Public, receive career development advice from mid-career and established writers, and receive artistic and professional support from the New Work Development department and Public artistic staff. Members of the group also receive complimentary tickets to Public Theater shows, invited dress rehearsals, and other special events, as well as a supplemental stipend for tickets to productions at other theaters.

PUBLIC FORUM is The Public Theater’s space where art, ideas, and action collide. Public Forum creates exciting opportunities for communities to engage deeply with current events, original thinkers, and the most pressing questions of our time. Throughout each season, Public Forum hosts one-night-only events, special appearances, post-show discussions, and town hall conversations that connect the world on our stage to the world at large.

#BARS WORKSHOP is a lab series created by Rafael Casal and Daveed Diggs that is returning to in person sessions in the summer of 2022. #BARS went digital in October 2020 with Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs, and Chris Walker hosting monthly online Lab sessions with incredible guest artists that were free and open to the public. Creative prompts were posted on social media so that #BARS continued to serve as a space for artists to investigate the intersection between contemporary verse and theater while we were all creating and learning from home. Follow along at @barsworkshop on Instagram.


Ma-Yi Theater Company was founded in 1989 for the production and development of new plays and performance work discussing and engaging with the Filipino American experience. In 1998, responding to the growing need for a developmental venue for Pan-Asian American texts, Ma-Yi expanded its mission to include works by Asian American playwrights of all ethnicities and origins. Its numerous acclaimed productions include Haruna Lee’s Suicide Forest, Jessica Hagedorn & Fabian Obispo’s Felix Starro, Mike Lew’s Teenage Dick and Bike America, Qui Nguyen’s The Inexplicable Redemption of Agent G and Soul Samurai (with Vampire Cowboys), Hansol Jung’s Among The Dead, Lloyd Suh’s The Chinese Lady, and Lonnie Carter’s The Romance of Magno Rubio. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ma-Yi pivoted to the creation and production of digital content from Asian American artists to keep members of the community employed – this endeavor was known as Ma-Yi Studios. Productions to come out of Ma Yi Studios include short films like Sophocles in Staten Island and Vancouver (produced in association with Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival); short subjects like Pinoy Street Dancers and A Divergent War: Songs for the Pandemic; and digital readings of plays such as Clippy & Ms. U, Final Boarding Call (in association with WP Theater), ONCE UPON A (korean) TIME, My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theatre, Dong Xuan Center, and The House of Billy Paul; and more. Ma-Yi Theater Company’s works have won a total of 10 Obie Awards, 3 Lucille Lortel Awards, an Off Broadway Alliance Award, a Richard Rodgers Award, a Drama Desk nomination for Best Play, numerous Henry Hewes Design Award nominations, and in May 2010, a special Drama Desk award for “more than two decades of excellence and for nurturing Asian American voices in stylistically varied and engaging theatre.” Ma-Yi Theater Company is currently under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Ralph B. Peña.


NAATCO was founded in 1989 by Mia Katigbak and Richard Eng to assert the presence and significance of Asian American theatre in the United States, demonstrating its vital contributions to the fabric of American culture. NAATCO puts into service its total commitment to Asian American theatre practitioners to more accurately represent onstage the multi- and inter-cultural dynamics of our society. By doing so, they demonstrate a rich tapestry of cultural difference bound by the American experience. The enrichment accrues to each different culture as well as to America as a whole. NAATCO was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Revival of a Play, as well as Outstanding Costume Design for a Play for their acclaimed production of Henry VI: Shakespeare’s Trilogy in Two Parts in 2018. Their 2015 production of Awake and Sing! at The Public was nominated for a Drama League Award for Outstanding Revival of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play. NAATCO was the recipient of the Obies’ Ross Wetzsteon Award and the Rosetta LeNoire Award from Actors’ Equity Association in recognition of its contribution toward increasing diversity in American theatre.


National Black Theatre (NBT), the nation’s first revenue-generating Black arts complex, was founded in 1968 by the late visionary artist Dr. Barbara Ann Teer. NBT is the longest-running Black theatre in New York City, one of the oldest theaters founded and consistently operated by a woman of color in the nation and most recently included in the permanent collection of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. NBT’s core mission is to produce transformational theater that helps to shift the inaccuracy around African Americans’ cultural identity by telling authentic stories of Black lifestyle. As an alternative learning environment, NBT uses theater arts as a means to educate, enrich, entertain, empower and inform the national conscience around current social issues impacting our communities. Under the leadership of Sade Lythcott, CEO and Jonathan McCrory, Executive Artistic Director, NBT’s three core programs—the Theater Arts Program, Communications Arts Program and Entrepreneurial Arts Program—help reshape a more inclusive American theater field by providing an artistically rigorous and culturally sensitive space for artists of color to experiment, develop and present new work. Working with trailblazing artists from Nona Hendrix to Jeremy O. Harris, and helping to launch the careers, most recently, of artists such as Dominique Morisseau, Radha Blank, Mfoniso Udofia, Saheem Ali, Lee Edward Colston II, and Ebony Noelle Golden, and incubating Obie Award-winning companies like The Movement Theatre Company and Harlem9’s 48Hours in Harlem, NBT’s cultural production remains unparalleled. Located in the heart of Harlem, NBT welcomes more than 90,000 visitors annually; has produced 300+ original works; won 53 Audelco Awards; received a CEBA Award of Merit; and has been nominated for multiple Drama Desk awards. NBT is supported by grants from the Ford Foundation, New York Community Trust, Shubert Foundation, Howard Gilman Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Andrew Mellon Foundation, City Council of New York, City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, Columbia Service Society, and private donations. Visit or follow NBT on Facebook (@NationalBlackTheatre) and Twitter/Instagram (@NatBlackTheatre).


THE PUBLIC is theater of, by, and for all people. Artist-driven, radically inclusive, and fundamentally democratic, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public’s wide breadth of programming includes an annual season of new work at its landmark home at Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park at The Delacorte Theater in Central Park, the Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City’s five boroughs, Public Forum, Under the Radar, Public Studio, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe’s Pub. Since premiering HAIR in 1967, The Public continues to create the canon of American Theater and is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Girl From the North Country. Their programs and productions can also be seen regionally across the country and around the world. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 184 Obie Awards, 55 Drama Desk Awards, 58 Lortel Awards, 34 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards, 56 AUDELCO Awards, 6 Antonyo Awards, and 6 Pulitzer Prizes.

The Public Theater stands in honor of the first inhabitants and our ancestors. We acknowledge the land on which The Public and its theaters stand–the original homeland of the Lenape people. We acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory. We honor the generations of stewards and we pay our respects to the many diverse indigenous peoples still connected to this land. The Public Theater honors and celebrates the people and legacy of Seneca Village, one of the earliest free Black communities in New York City, which was located in what is now Central Park from 1825–1857.

The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater’s yearround activities.

Lead Support for The Public Theater provided by the Bezos Family, the Blavatnik Family Foundation, Ford Foundation, Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Howard Gilman Foundation, American Express, The Shubert Foundation, Open Society Foundations, JetBlue Airways, and Bank of America.

Additional support provided by Zegar Family Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Alphadyne Foundation, Arison Arts Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council on the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts.


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