Can you believe we’re nearly halfway through March?! We surely can’t, but we’ve got some exciting things up our sleeves this spring that we just can’t wait to share with you!
Meet the New Members of the TIA Team!
We are THRILLED to announce four new members of the Theater in Asylum year-round team who will be helping the company grow and deepen its artistic work in the coming months. You may recognize some of these faces from past TIA projects as they have been active members of our community. Keep reading to learn more about these fabulous humans!
Brea Clemons, Cold Readings Curation Team
A Midwesterner at heart, Brea has lived in 12 states and now calls New York City home. With a BFA in stage management and a minor in nonprofit administration from the University of Oklahoma, she spent 7 years stage managing regionally for companies such as The Coterie, The Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Music Theater Kansas City, and The Beijing Normal Experimental Dance Company. Brea relocated to New York City in 2019 and began a career in Operations and has worked at Abramson Brothers Inc, IndieSpace, and Williamstown Theatre Festival. Brea continues to work in NYC as the Programs Manager for the Indie Theater Fund; facilitating anti-racism trainings through The Big Learn; developing a new artist focused mental health initiative; and overseeing subsidized rehearsal space programming. Additionally, she can be found event planning in the Las Vegas area in collaboration with Till Death Do Us Party and Spiegelworld. When she’s not working you can find her redecorating her apartment, walking her dog along Riverside Drive, or sipping a Negroni at her favorite neighborhood cocktail bar.
Melissa Mowry, Cold Readings Curation Team
Melissa (she/her) is a Virginia-based director. Originally from Virginia Beach, she is currently active in New York City and Richmond, VA. Melissa has a BA in Music Industry and Drama from Randolph-Macon College, and her MFA in Directing from The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University. In 2018, Melissa was accepted into the Stage Director and Choreographer Foundation's Observership Program, where she assisted Patricia McGregor on her Production of Lights Out: Nat King Cole at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. She has also worked with The Lower Eastside Shakespeare Company, The WP Theatre, The Tank, Women of Color Productions, The Secret Theatre, The Ume Group, New York Fringe Festival, and The New Group in New York; Virginia Repertory Theatre and Cadence Theatre Company in Virginia; Summit Performance Indianapolis in Indiana; and the Kattaikkuttu Sangam and Gurukulam in Tamil Nadu, India.
Al Parker, Cold Readings Curation Team
Al Parker (they/them) is a creative producer and dramaturg based in New York City. They are the Associate Artistic Director of The Parsnip Ship and Producing Assistant at Page 73 Productions. They are a proud member of National Queer Theater’s Artistic Collective, and an alum of the 2020-21 Ars Nova Emerging Leaders Group. Recently, they have collaborated with Playwrights Horizons, Ars Nova, Signature Theatre Company, MCC, the Civilians, and Colt Coeur. Originally from South Dakota, they completed their studies in Dramatic Literature and Creative Writing at New York University. When they’re not buzzing around a theater, Al enjoys working as a freelance editor and reading everything from gothic fiction to queer theory to fandom discourse.
Charlotte Dow, PR & Marketing Manager
Charlotte Dow (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based writer, publicist, and communications professional. She hails from Philadelphia and is a recent graduate of the M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communication program at NYU's School of Professional Studies. Throughout her career, Charlotte has worked with several companies in the entertainment world such as Focus Features, Cinetic Marketing, Dramatists Play Service, and WME. As a freelance writer, her work has appeared in The Financial Diet, Elite Daily, Hello Giggles, and more. Outside of work, Charlotte is a proud member of Sirens of Gotham, New York's premiere SSAA a capella chorus.
Join the Queens Pride Parade Book Club
And now, a message from TIA Community Member Danica Stompor:
With the support of the LaGuardia and Wagner Archives at LaGuardia Community College, I am developing an interactive digital map that charts the history of the Queens Pride Parade, interrogates the motives behind its formation, and examines what it means to publicly define an LGBTQ community.
I could use your help! As a part of this project, I’ll be asking artists to create pieces that respond to a series of readings about the parade and the history of queer life in Jackson Heights. We will meet as a book club in a series of 3-4 sessions over April to June 2022, working together to generate questions and ideas about the parade, as well as a few devising exercises to generate ideas.
By the end of the book club in June, everyone will present a piece that they’ve made in response to what we’ve discussed. This could be a song, a poem, a food dish — the sky is the limit!
If you live or have lived in Queens, it would be especially lovely to have you create with us. A small stipend of $50 will be provided to artists who contribute to the installation.
Want to join? Email me at email@example.com!
2021 has been such a year. Struggles are everywhere but so are people and organizations working to make things better. Each year on Giving Tuesday, Theater in Asylum looks back at all the organizations we’ve amplified throughout the year in our Cold Readings series. One organization we have continually returned to as we read our way through The Golden Collection is the National Black Theatre (NBT).
NBT’s mission is:
This Giving Tuesday, we ask you to consider supporting the National Black Theatre and/or any of the organizations we have highlighted this year. Below, see a loosely-categorized list of heroes who are doing the urgent, necessary, good work of making our world more just.
Thank you so much. Please take care of yourselves and each other.
Peace, power, and love to you,
Paul, Katie, Kathryn, and Hilarie
Making and Spreading Art
Empowering People and Advocating for a Better World
Providing Aid to People in Immediate Need
2020 was a year full of difficulty and loss, but also urgently-needed work and reflection. As a nation we impeached a president, witnessed and worked for an Uprising for Black Lives, elected a new president, hunkered down in unprecedented isolation, and lost far too many to a horrible virus. 2020 was so much.
As we eagerly approach 2021, we are thrilled and honored to announce Theater in Asylum’s plans for 2021. We reach to next year with hope, and as live theater becomes safe again, we plan to:
If you are in a position to donate, we humbly ask for your support of Theater in Asylum’s 2021 Season. We are so grateful for all that’s been made possible these past 10 years, and we look ahead to 2021 with eagerness and hope.
More Cold Readings, with more partnerships and special events
Since 2015, Theater in Asylum has gathered friends to read and discuss great plays once a month. As the pandemic sent us into our homes, we moved these gatherings online and began holding them weekly. Wednesday nights have become a cherished place not only for play reading but for processing these wild times. We plan to continue weekly readings online until it’s safe to gather in person again, and invite more guest facilitators to bring new plays and new ideas to the group.
The Debates 2021
The Debates 2021 will be our fourth iteration of The Debates. This year we turn to New York City’s Democratic primaries and the conversation over what we want our city to be. New Yorkers will soon elect a new mayor, comptroller, and many city council members.
We believe everyone should understand their electoral power, and we know theater is a potent tool to elucidate that power. As in past years, we’ll host a slew of events including watch parties, political analysis meetings, and finally, an original play about the election. We want not only to get out the vote, but also to empower the voter to engage in the electoral process with understanding and confidence. With our unique blend of mimicry, abstraction, and earnest curiosity, we seek to illuminate the candidates, the issues, and ourselves.
Nearly ten years ago, activists gathered in lower Manhattan to peacefully occupy Zuccotti Park and to declare opposition to an economic system clearly inadequate for the majority of Americans, the 99%. Occupy Wall Street galvanized people around the world and inspired hundreds of activist occupations, big and small, united in a call to radically rethink the economic order.
Playwright Andy Boyd hones in on Prescott, Arizona to follow five Occupiers in their efforts to change their town and the world. They broadly agree that the one percent is too powerful, but agreement breaks down as they search for specifics. Reaching consensus on what a better world looks like—and how to get there—is frequently frustrating and rarely glamorous. Never easy, but urgently necessary. On the 10th anniversary of the rallying cry heard round the world, we are thrilled to produce the prescient and hopeful play: Occupy Prescott.
We’re planning to host another cabaret, sharing our platform with artists in our community to workshop their new work. We will also continue to revise our mission statement and our company’s inner workings, as well as participating in anti-racism trainings through the League of Independent Theater.
We have big plans for 2021. If you are able, we would so appreciate your help in funding our next season. Thank you for your time, your support, and your love. We wish you and yours safety, good health, and a bright new year.
Thank you, thank you, thank you,
Paul, Katie, Kathryn, and Hilarie
Theater in Asylum
When we first saw Heidi Schreck's What the Constitution Means to Me at New York Theatre Workshop, we were floored. The piece is searing and soaring, a call to arms and a calling in. This (mostly) one-woman play looks at the US Constitution and notes who's left out of it. It's a wonderful piece and we hope you will join us to watch and discuss it.
Anyone who has been to our Cold Readings will recognize the format, but we'll meet on Wednesday, October 28 (just days before the election!) at 7pm for introductions and to hear some background on the play from our facilitators. Then we'll all push play at the same time on the Amazon stream**, and finally gather again for a discussion when the stream is over. The evening should conclude around 10pm.
See you there!
Peace, power, and love to you,
Paul Bedard, Katie Palmer, Kathryn Appleton, and Hilarie Spangler
Theater in Asylum is committed to financial accessibility. If you do not have access to an Amazon Prime account, please do not let this stop you from joining us. Please reach out to us and we help you figure something out to watch the play.
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.