Press Release: 5th Annual Prelude Festival Samples NYC’s Unconventional Theatre

The Fifth Annual Prelude Festival once again offers audiences free samples of some of New York’s most exciting upcoming theatre, all in one place over four days.  Presented September 26 to September 29 by the CUNY Graduate Center’s Martin E. Segal Theatre Center, PRELUDE ’07: At the Forefront of Contemporary NYC Theatre features performances, readings, studio presentations, open rehearsals, talk-backs, and panel discussions, with a focus on works in progress for the 2007-08 season and beyond. Admission is free of charge on a first come, first served basis. The Graduate Center is located at 365 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street. The festival is supported in part by the Lucille Lortel Foundation and the Japan Foundation.

PRELUDE ’07 features future work from such critically acclaimed and established artists as Mark Schultz and the composer John Moran, as well as emerging talents like Rachel Shukert, Thomas Bradshaw, and the TEAM.  With back-to-back performances from several gifted artists in one space, followed by stimulating talk-backs, PRELUDE ’07 provides audiences with an exclusive opportunity to see excerpted works before anyone else, and to learn first-hand from the playwrights themselves about the challenges they face in bringing their work to the stage.  

In addition, a special program, SPOTLIGHT JAPAN, will include work from three Japanese playwrights directed by American directors and their companies. These Japanese/American playwright/director partnerships include Mikuni Yanaihara with Daniel Safer/Witness Relocation, Toshiki Okada with The Play Company (Playco), and Masataka Matsuda with Josh Fox/International WOW.
Other PRELUDE ’07 presenters include: Christina Campanella and Stephanie Fleischmann, 31 Down, CiNE (David Levine), Aya Ogawa/Knife, Inc., Kristen Kosmas, Lightbox, Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental, Ranbir Sidhu, The Debate Society, and Kameron Steele/The South Wing.  
Discussion panelists include: Adam Bock, Thomas Bradshaw, Eric Dyer, Norm Frisch, Oskar Eustis, Madeleine George, Randy Gener, Melanie Joseph, Richard Nelson, Jim Nicola, Alex Timbers, and Mac Wellman.
The PRELUDE ’07 schedule is as follows:
Wednesday, September 26

6:30 pm: Kick-off panel discussion – Uptown/Downtown. A discussion on the process of bringing challenging new work to broader audiences and the effects this process has on artists and institutions. Panelists include: Oskar Eustis, Adam Bock, Jim Nicola, Sara Benson, and Alex Timbers.  Moderator: David Cote.

Thursday, September 27, 4pm to 10pm

4 pm
: Kristen Kosmas
6 pm: Aya Ogawa/Knife, Inc.; Ranbir Sidhu
8 pm: Kameron Steele/South Wing; 31 Down

Panel discussion – Playwright versus Text  
4 pm: An examination of the role of the playwright in contemporary theatre, particularly in relation to alternative methods of developing text.  Panelists include: Madeleine George, Richard Nelson, Eric Dyer, Mac Wellman.  Moderator: Brook Stowe.

Friday, September 28, 2 pm to 10 pm

2 pm
: Annie-B Parson/Big Dance Theater; The Debate Society
4 pm: Mark Schultz
6 pm: Rachel Shukert/The Bushwick Hotel; Lucidity Showcase Intercontinental
8 pm: Lightbox; Laboratory Theater

Panel discussion – Race and Downtown
4 pm
: A look at how downtown theatre and experimental performance wrestle with issues of race and representation. Panelists include: Thomas Bradshaw and Melanie Joseph. Moderator: Randy Gener.

Saturday, September 29
, 2 pm to 10 pm

2 pm:  
Christina Campanella/Stephanie Fleishmann; SPOTLIGHT JAPAN (4 hours), featuring Mikuni Yanaihara (playwright) with Daniel Safer (director); Toshiki Okada (playwright) with The Play Company (Playco), Masataka Matsuda (playwright) with Josh Fox (director).
6 pm: the TEAM; David Levine
8 pm: Adam Bock, John Moran

Panel discussion – American Dramaturgy
4 pm
: An investigation into the role of the dramaturg in contemporary American performance—what are the current trends, how is dramaturgy changing, and where does it need to go?  Panelists include Kristin Marting and Morgan Jenness.  Moderator: Norm Frisch.

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center (MESTC) is a non-profit center for theatre, dance and film that is part of the City University of New York Graduate Center and is affiliated with its Ph.D. Program in Theatre. Originally founded in 1979 as the Center for Advanced Studies in Theatre Arts (CASTA), it was renamed in March of 1999 to recognize Martin E. Segal, one of New York City's outstanding leaders of the arts.  At the same time, the multi-purpose performing space in the Graduate Center’s then-new home in the former B. Altman department store was named the Martin E. Segal Theatre. MESTC’s primary focus is to bridge the gap between the academic and professional performing arts communities by providing an open environment for the development of educational, community-driven, and professional projects in the performing arts. The Center presents staged readings to further the development of new and classic plays, lecture series, televised seminars featuring professional and academic luminaries, and arts in education programs, and maintains its long-standing visiting-scholars-from-abroad program. In addition, the Center publishes a series of highly regarded academic journals, as well as single volumes of importance, including plays in translation, all written and edited by renowned scholars.

The Graduate Center is the doctorate-granting institution of the City University of New York (CUNY). An internationally recognized center for advanced studies and a national model for public doctoral education, the school offers more than thirty doctoral programs, as well as a number of master’s programs. Many of its faculty members are among the world’s leading scholars in their respective fields, and its alumni hold major positions in industry and government, as well as in academia. The Graduate Center is also home to twenty-nine interdisciplinary research centers and institutes focused on areas of compelling social, civic, cultural, and scientific concerns.  Located in a landmark Fifth Avenue building, the Graduate Center has become a vital part of New York City’s intellectual and cultural life with its extensive array of public lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and theatrical events.  Further information on the Graduate Center and its programs can be found at

Submitted on: SEP 1, 2007

Category: Press Room