Each year, Theater in Asylum releases a list of books we read that were impactful, stuck out, and memorable. Below find a list, crowd-sourced from our community, of the books we loved in 2021. And check this post out to see the books we loved last year, in 2020.
What a year! Theater returned and, while difficult and ever-changing, our theater-going habit revived and we couldn't be more grateful. In 2020, when we asked our community about plays we've seen, it was "What was the last play you saw before everything shut down?" This year, we got to ask, "What stood out? What will you remember?" Below, find this year's list, lovingly compiled from the Theater in Asylum community.
Can you believe that 2021 is nearly finished? As the pandemic continued and all of us have faced unrelenting challenges, we are proud and grateful to report that Theater in Asylum continued to bring artists and audiences together through it all. We are so grateful for your support that made our work possible. We humbly ask for your continued support of our work with a donation to our 2022 fundraiser.
We began the year in lockdown, continuing our Cold Reading series, with 33 play readings in total, including three in-person. The spring brought a Zoom production (The Debates 2021) and its related events (four debate watch parties and analysis meetings, plus three “Civics Happy Hours”). In the fall, as we emerged from lockdown, we produced our first in-person play in over a year with Andy Boyd’s Occupy Prescott. In the midst of all this we shared a new mission statement, community agreements, and a transparency commitment with reporting mechanisms. We won grants from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the New York City Artist Corp. We returned to in-person work at ART/NY’s South Oxford Space and found a new home at the Jalopy Theater and Tavern. We met and worked with dozens of new artists and continued our anti-oppression work with Indie Theaters Dismantling Supremacy.
As we continue to work towards a healed world, we look ahead to 2022, our 12th year, with hope. Cold Readings, our most consistent program, will continue and even expand, with new curatorial processes and team.
The highlight of 2022, however, is beginning a multi-year process to explore and share the story of Hallie Flanagan and the Federal Theatre Project (FTP). If you’re unfamiliar, she’s a rarely-sung hero of the American Theater, leading the New Deal Era relief program to put theater people back to work. The Project was highly successful, reaching nearly one in four Americans in its brief four-year existence. Despite its popularity, the FTP was also the subject of great controversy, as was Hallie Flanagan herself - accused of being a Communist by the House Un-American Activities Committee. We at TIA have long been fascinated by the pioneering Hallie Flanagan and her Federal Theatre Project, our country’s only instance of federally funded theater. As believers in the arts as a public good, we want to investigate the success and pitfalls of the 1930s project and its legacy. We'll ask how FTP could ever exist again, and what would be its struggles in our contemporary world.
To explore this project, we'll host two events. In Spring 2022, we will present a cabaret of short works, our favorite way to invite artist-friends to our brainstorm. This FTP Cabaret will feature theater, music, dance, and poetry; we commit to paying the 40+ artists we plan to invite. In Summer 2022, we will hunker down for an extended workshop of this untitled Hallie Flanagan project, with plans to present the full production in early 2023.
If you are in a position to donate, we humbly ask for your support of Theater in Asylum’s 2022 season. We are so grateful for all that’s been made possible this past year despite such difficulty. We look ahead to 2022 with gratitude, eagerness, and hope.
Learn more about our 2022 season and donate at
Thank you so, so much.
Peace, power, and love to you,
Paul Bedard, Katie Palmer, and Kathryn Appleton
TIA Co-Artistic Directors and Managing Director
Theater in Asylum believes that transparency enables the sharing of power and responsibility. We commit to being open with how company decisions are made and money is spent. Below please find an overview of our finances in 2021. This is also on our website’s transparency page, a page we launched earlier this year as a way to showcase a snapshot of our finances and decision-making.
Some Takeaways of Theater in Asylum’s 2021 Finances:
2021’s Major Projects:
Actual Expenses (as of 12/2/21)
* Personnel expenses rose when we unexpectedly won grants from the NYC Artist Corps, allowing us to increase collaborator stipends for Occupy Prescott.
** The Debates 2021 was revamped from an in-person production to an online production, drastically reducing production costs.
*** Our space costs fell drastically with the revamping of The Debates 2021 to an online production, as well as space donations for Occupy Prescott.
How Theater in Asylum paid people in 2021
Actual Revenue (as of 12/2/21)
* We won support for our 2021 Season from the Brooklyn Arts Council and the New York City Artist Corps.
** With the revamping of The Debates 2021 to be an online production, ticket revenue was lost as we were not able to tour to different neighborhoods (with different audiences).
How Theater in Asylum Charged Audiences in 2021
We are so appreciative of our community, who has helped us organize our company, our budgets, and our work. We invite feedback (contact info on our Community page) as to how we can make Theater in Asylum more transparent and fruitful for all.
Paul, Katie, and Kathryn
Theater in Asylum
Theater in Asylum (TIA) is a New York-based theater company founded in 2010 to challenge and empower our community. TIA joyfully pursues a rigorous research and an ensemble-driven approach to theater-making. We create performances to investigate our past, interpret our present, and imagine our future. We prize space to process, space to question—asylum—for ourselves and our community.