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sharings from Austin, Cleveland, Detroit, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco

works-in-progress from New York's theatre artists and ensembles



digital. free. open to the public. 

The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center proudly announces

PRELUDE 2021: Start Making Sense!

The last year has been... well. Long. Theatre and theatre makers all over the world have been hit hard, and the community has been making sense of where we are and how to keep moving and creating ever since.

The Prelude Festival has been providing a platform for artists, critics, activists, and producers since 2003. Over the years, Prelude has given New York audiences a first look at new work and ideas by over three hundred artists, including the likes of Marina Abramović, Richard Foreman, and The Living Theatre.

In this digital edition, it will explore the many ways in which the theatre community continues to adapt to present times through panels and performances that put artistic practice in conversation with critical discourse. Along with a radical approach to curation (chain curating), the festival has also, for the first time since its inception, invited seven pan-US theatre and performance companies to explore their artistic practice and engage in critical discourse. 

Here’s what’s in store: 

19 artists who will be sharing interdisciplinary works-in-progress. 

14 pre-recorded pieces available for viewing at the Festival website ( and the Segal Center YouTube Channel until October 31, 2021. 

5 live-streamed performances on all weekdays across and our long-standing digital collaborators

We will be hosting daily Segal Talks with the Prelude 2021 artists and curators, Panel Discussions with contemporary creators on conversations spanning criticism, Indigenous art, the resounding effects of the ’70s and more. We also have the much-awaited Franky Award Ceremony

Presented by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center 
Executive Director and Festival Founder Frank Hentschker.
Prelude 2021 is produced by Andie Lerner and Tanvi Shah.  

The 2021 Prelude Festival is supported by the Lucille Lortel Foundation.


Prelude 2021: Start making Sense! is hosted by the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center which is located on traditional lands of the Lenape people who continue to live here today. We offer gratitude and respect to all the Lenape People, the land itself and all indigenous people of the United States past, present and future.

Copyright & Archive

All show images, descriptions and videos are the copyright of the respective artists and collectives. These will be archived on the Prelude Festival website, Howlround Commons and the Martin E. Segal Theatre Center website in accordance with the agreement with copyright holders.


For more questions and details regarding this, write to us at

Harassment Policy

The digital space of this year's festival is a safe space that celebrates diversity in thought, expression and representation.


Any form of harassment, bullying or trolling will not be tolerated. If you would like to report an incident or bring something to our attention, write to us at

Meet The Team

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About Segal Center

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Prelude Archive

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Follow Prelude 2021 on social media for the latest updates

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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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