Start making sense.

The Prelude Festival is the annual flagship event of the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Since 2003, Prelude has provided a stage for more than 300 artists, critics, activists, and producers at the forefront of contemporary New York City theatre, dance, interdisciplinary, and mediatized performance.

In a first, Prelude 2021 is also hosting artists from 7 states across the US to explore their artistic practice and critical discourse.

digital. free. open to the public. 

Monday, Oct 25 - Sunday, Oct 31

Supported by Lucille Lortel Foundation

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Watch Trailer

Prelude 2021

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Director's Note

"The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at the Graduate Center, CUNY in New York City is proud to present ‘Prelude 2021: Start Making Sense!’

 

Inspired by rock musician Jehnny Beth’s battle cry, Prelude ’21 investigates what it means to create theatre and performance in this phase of the Covid-19 pandemic. If we have learned anything this past year, it is that we have to question everything. That we must listen carefully, and that we must look hard to find radical new answers. It is not just important what we present, but why we present it, how we produce it, and for whom.

 

Inspired by Prelude curator Jay Wegman, we’re exploring a radically new format titled ‘Chain Curating’. We at the Segal Center chose 3 curators from New York. Each initial curator nominated just one artist – and selected a fellow curator to do the same. This chain model has provided us with 12 brilliant New York curators and 12 truly diverse New York artists/ensembles who have something to say.

 

Unfortunately, the Graduate Center at CUNY is still closed for public programs. Taking advantage of our online presence, we have invited – for the first time since Prelude’s inception and with help of a pan-US curator – seven US theatre and performance companies to explore their artistic practice and critical discourse as part of this year’s festival. Digitally hosting artists from Austin, Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and San Francisco is our small way of showing support in this difficult time to groundbreaking regional performance work, signaling that the metropolitan cultural supremacy of New York City is being challenged successfully by experimental ensembles who have space, time, and close ties to the communities they work in. 

 

The Prelude Festival is the annual flagship event of the Segal Center, and has been providing a safe and inclusive space for works-in-progress by more than 300 artists, critics, activists, and producers at the forefront of contemporary New York City theatre, dance, interdisciplinary, and mediatized performance since 2003. We can’t wait for the questions Prelude 2021’s participating artists – from New York and across the US – will pose to us."

Frank Hentschker

Prelude Founder and Segal Centre Director

What's on at Prelude Festival 2021

Shows

Pre-recorded performances available to watch till Sunday, 31st October and live performances streamed daily at 7pm Eastern on Prelude Website

Mariam Bazeed

faggy faafi Cairo boy

stefa marin alarcon, Ita Segev

The Q&Q: An open studio with stefa marin alarcon in conversation with Ita Segev

Damani Pompey (Magnus Works)

Second Skin: Imposter [FLUENCY]

Isaac Pool

Untitled Mood Lighting

Hatch Arts Collective

Amm(i)gone, Once Removed, and Untitled Family/Personal Archive Project

Maelstrom Collaborative Arts

Four Futures

Daisy Press / Voice Cult

A Dripping Honeycomb and Other Holy Places

Declan Zhang

How to Listen to Jazz (and Other Things I Did Not Learn in Music School)

A Host of People

Fire in the Theater!

LOUD Theater

The Scarlet Rebellion

Sibyl Kempson (7 Daughters of Eve Thtr. & Perf. Co.)

An excerpt from... THE SECURELY CONFERRED, VOUCHSAFED KEEPSAKES OF MAERY S.

Anh Vo & Kristel Baldoz

Cruise Control: Birth Control

Maura García

Ancestor Dances

Natalie Greene and Michelle Talgarow (Mugwumpin)

a·nam·knee·sis

Team Sunshine Performance Corporation

The Forever Evolving Definition of Community

Alex Tatarsky

UNTITLED FREAKOUT: Studio Visit

Arien Wilkerson / Tnmot Aztro

Quinquennial

Kiyan Williams

How Do You Properly Fry An American Flag (2019-ongoing)

Carra Martinez

Live in America

Segal Talk: Chain Curation Thread 1

Segal Talk: Chain Curation Thread 2

Segal Talk: Chain Curation Thread 3

Segal Talk: Chain Curation Thread 4

Segal Talks

Mon-Thurs, 12pm Eastern onwards

Livestreamed on Prelude Website

Panels

Mon-Fri, 4:30pm ET onwards

Livestreamed on Prelude Website

New York Artistic Leaders

Join us for a panel with Prelude Festival 2021 curators and artistic leaders from the New York City theatre and performance scene

New York Cultural Institutes

Join us for a panel with representatives from Cultural Institutes who bring global theatre to New York City.

The New New York Theater Criticism

As we gather in theaters again, two new criticism projects will meet the resurgent New York theater on its own turf. How do they plan to change the field?

Contemporary Indigenous Performance

Join us for a panel investigating and exploring the complexities of how indigenous artists create performance, dance, music and theatre in the United States.

CUNY City University Stages

Join us for a panel with artistic leaders from CUNY City University Stages.

Then/Now: Considering 1970s New York City and Performance Today

Join us for a panel investigating how New York performance reacted to the crisis of the Seventies and what might help us to create sense for the time after Corona we are entering now?

Cattaneo & Marranca: New York Theatre in the Past, Present and Future

In conversation with authors Anne Cattaneo and Bonnie Marranca whose new books explore the complexities of making theatre and thinking about theatre.

Monday, Oct 25 - Sunday, Oct 31

see the full schedule of Prelude Festival 2021

digital. free. open to the public. 

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Meet our artists and curators for this year's festival

Artists

Curators

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Support PRELUDE with a donation

If you would like to support PRELUDE's current and future editions, please consider making a donation to The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center. We are a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization and all gifts are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

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