Early Failures of Theatres That Define New York
Today they are fixtures of New York’s theater, dance, and cultural scene. But when they started, success was not a sure bet. This panel invites representatives from leading companies and organizations to describe the challenges, missteps, and mishaps of the early years–when every founding vision gets tested by instability, rejection, and more.
Participants: Ellie Covan (Artistic Director, Dixon Place), Mark Russell (Director of the Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival), and Jonathan McCrory (National Black Theatre).
Moderated by Antje Oegel.
Ellie Covan (Artistic Director, Dixon Place)
Mark Russell: Founder and Co-Director of the Under the Radar Festival. Mark Russell launched the Under the Radar Festival at St. Ann’s Warehouse in January 2005. UTR focuses on theater based contemporary performance. The festival moved to the Public Theater in 2006 and has become a centerpiece in the New York City theater season; mixing international performances with national and local artists. Russell has also served as the guest artistic director of the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time Based Arts Festival 2006-2008. He created the Off Center Festival for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa California, as well as the Off the Wall series at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He served as an associate curator for the Act French Festival in New York in 2005. From 1983-2004 he was the Executive Artistic Director of Performance Space 122, bringing the space from an artist rental space to a world renowned presenting institution committed to developing the work of New York City artists. Russell has been involved with many artists over his career in dance, music, performance and theater, creating opportunities for them to reach wider audiences. In 2014 and 2015 Russell lived with his family in Lausanne, Switzerland, researching European festival practice while maintaining his work with The Public Theater. He and his family are currently living in New York on the upper West Side.
Jonathan Mccrory is an Obie Award Winning, Harlem-based artist currently the Director of Theatre Arts Program at Dr. Barbara Ann Teer’s National Black Theatre since 2012. Directing Credits include: Dead And Breathing, HandsUp, Hope Speaks, Blacken The Bubble, Asking for More, Last Laugh, and Enter Your Sleep. A Washington, DC native, he attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts, then New York University TISCH School of the Arts. In 2013 he was awarded the Emerging Producer Award by the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston Salem, NC and the Torch Bearer Award by Woodie King Jr. He is a founding member of Harlem9, Next Generation National Network and The Movement Theatre Company. He officially sits on the National Advisory Committee for Howlround.com and joined the original cohort for ArtEquity initiative. To learn more please head to jonathanmccrory.com.