Community-responsive art to amplify local stories and support grassroots movements on a national scale.
There is a cultural deficit in this country. When the civil liberties of historically underrepresented groups continue to face serious threat and our nation is stalled in an ever-polarizing inability to engage in productive dialogue, we artists and cultural workers must engage communities to which we might not normally find ourselves in proximity, excavate the barriers standing between us, address community concerns with artistic ferocity, with bold questions and daring choices, and provoke audiences with questions (old and new) about who is given access to our nation’s promise of opportunity and who is being systematically shut out.
By collaborating with communities across the nation to tell real stories on stage, Notch engages the voices that brick and mortar theaters are not reaching, personalizes important social issues for people on all sides of a conversation, raises awareness in a compelling way, drives change on a national scale, and prompts meaningful, lasting engagement at a grassroots level.
Theater is able to connect with an audience in a deeply personal way, and we strive to push the boundaries of what that connection can achieve.
long ago. The simple things come back to us. They rest for a moment by our ribcages then suddenly reach in and twist our hearts a notch backward." -Let the Great World Spin
click here for production history and a calendar of programming
Notch joins Mauricio Salgado, Arielle Julia Brown, Carlos Sirah and Yazmany Arboleda, along with community partners The Delta Cultural Center, The Elaine Legacy Center, and the Boys, Girls, and Adults Community Development Center for Remember2019 -- an effort to make space for the congregation of Black communities in the Arkansas Delta. Since 2017, this work has been to support and facilitate local practices of self-determination, reflection, and healing as directly related to the mass lynching of 1919, the lasting effects of racial terror, and the current and future health of these communities. These joint exploration have resulted in a touring blues concert, publication of a book, a community mural designed by youth, a story sharing institute, an annual artist residency, and much more.
Remember2019 was awarded a MAP Fund grant, an NEA ArtWorks grant, and has been featured on HolwRound and Monument Lab, and profiled by the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture. More at Remember2019.org
Through Time & The Walk
As part of our Through Time program, Notch is honored to work with St. Ann's Warehouse and The Walk to invite Little Amal to New York City where (alongside 100 immigrant, asylee, and refugee youth) she will meet the Statue of Liberty for a one time event this October 1st, 2022.
Little Amal is a 3.5 meter-tall living artwork, a giant puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee girl who has travelled over 9,000km across 12 countries to bring attention to the issues facing refugees, asylees and especially unaccompanied minors worldwide. Learn more or get involved here.
In 2020 & 2021, Notch worked with coLAB Arts, The Black Community Watchline, and RCHP-AHC, which helps resettle refugees from around the world in central New Jersey, provides home studies and post-release services to unaccompanied refugee minors, and assists people who have been subjected to human trafficking, creating original theater pieces with the diverse refugee communities served by these organizations. Check out the blog or read a Broadway World article about the collaboration's launch.
Wild Home & Sovereignty Stories
Wild Home was developed with Jessica Kahkoska to collaborate with rural towns significantly pressured by fossil fuel industries in creation of original plays that magnify stories about American wilderness areas under threat and the people who depend on them. This American Odyssey has partnered with Appalachian communities in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the Ohio River Valley, with communities in the Western Slope of Colorado, and is currently partnering with SILA and the Native Alaskan community in the North Slope of Alaska, collaborating with the Iñupiat communities in their fight for land sovereignty on Sovereignty Stories. Next spring, Wild Home is bringing all these urgent plays to Washington DC in an event that will being community together to speak directly to policy makers. Wild Home was awarded NEA ArtWorks and Our Town grants, Travel and Exchange grants from the Network of Ensemble Theaters, is supported by The Wilderness Society and The First Peoples Fund and has been featured on HowlRound, Broadway World and at Arctic Fest and The Appalachian Studies Conference.
Anna Karenina: a riff
In Gwen Kingston's fresh adaptation of Anna Karenina, Russians play melodicas to an original, folk-punk score by Christie Baugher, Yan Li, Teresa Lotz, and Will Turner. Natalie Rine, Associate New York Critic, says that "Notch’s production electrifies as a rollicking, fresh investigation of Tolstoy’s classic novel, bursting with a folk-rock score that pokes and prods at the consequences of female rebellion, bringing bold new questions into an arresting, quasi-contemporary conversation on the role of women in families, communities, and countries. [...] this small but strong production is a declaration of Notch Theatre Company’s visceral, scintillating point of view that is a force to be reckoned with as even the best of current day Broadway’s appeal to address modern themes pales in comparison." Click here to read the review or here for an interview with the makers.
gerstl took the easy way out
This brand spankin' new play by powerhouse playwright Lydia Blaisdell is a deliciously naughty dive into the infamous love triangle between the renowned Austrian-American composer Arnold Schönberg, Schönberg’s wife, Mathilde, and infamous Austrian painter, Richard Gerstl. Set in Austria in the racous 1900s, this uproarious comedy partners with Queer, non-binary, and Trans communities to challenge how we frame historical cultural narratives and interrogate who we center in those stories.
In fall 2023, the program was workshopped at The Eugene O'Neill Theater and, thanks to an ARPA grant from the City of New London’s Cultural District Commission, a free, public sharing took place in downtown New London, Connecticut. And from July 26th through the 29th, the play will present at New Ohio Theater as part of the Ice Factory Festival!
Amazon and Walmart are the behemoths of the 21st Century, much like Big Steel and Big Auto were at the beginning of the 20th Century. The demands that working people are making on these companies will shape the working person’s future for decades to come.
Spearheaded by playwright James McManus, this project engages the individuals and organizations behind the current unionization movement in creation of an original theatrical work that speaks to this urgent moment in America.
The program is currently in development and community engagement, for more information to to get involved reach out to email@example.com
Voices from a Pandemic is a play series and digital story bank of first-person testimonies from individuals on the frontlines of the pandemic and current Civil Rights Movement, creating an artistic time capsule of real lives lived and lost. The story bank archive also functions as a library of personal narratives that other theaters can access to create their own unique Voices productions. Each time a theatre presents the work, the program's circle of community and creators grows. With no set end date, the story bank continues to expand in response to our quickly and ever-evolving world. More on Broadway World.
Co-developed with Jayne McLendon, Recovery brings communities in recovery (i.e. people healing from traumatic injury, addiction, loss and grief, eating disorders, ancestral and generational trauma, etc.) together in the creation of an interdisciplinary performance combining video, interactive theater, meditation, and a museum installation to raise awareness, build community, and create spaces for healing.
Recovery has recently been awarded a residency with HB Studio in NYC for July 2023.
In 1850, one man sinks an entire ship to settle a Moby Dick measuring contest. In 2022 an all womxn and non-binary cast battles thunderstorms, whirlpools, boredom and the occasional whale to resurrect the Pequod and ask: ...why?
Thanks to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and HB Studio, Notch workshop DICK by Gwen Kingston over a week-long, community-engaged process that culminated in a free and open to the public sharing on in June, 2022. Check out this podcast episode about the workshop from the HB Insight Series
THERE IS NO GREATER AGONY THAN BEARING AN UNTOLD STORY INSIDE YOU."
- Maya Angelou
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© Notch Theatre Co. 2021