FEB 2012 Press Release

February 16, 2012

Announcing the undergroundzero Theater Artists Cooperative 

Eleven theater companies and self-producing artists have banded together this winter in order to strengthen the future for independent theater in New York City.  The founding members of the undergroundzero cooperative are: Anna Brenner, Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant, Doris Mirescu & Dangerous Ground, East River Commedia, Hoi Polloi, Daniel Irizarry & Laura Butler Rivera, Leimay, the Living Theatre, Performance Lab 115, Jill A. Samuels, and Shannon Sindelar.

Brad Burgess, executive producer of the Living Theatre explains why the 65-year old company decided to join the cooperative, “Strength in numbers.  I think the cooperative will bring stability that individual arts groups can’t find on their own, and continued artistic excellence.”

Since 2007, undergroundzero has been operating as a summer festival (Collective Unconscious, PS 122) featuring the cutting edge work of New York City and international theater-makers.  Artistic Director Paul Bargetto and Executive Director Connie Hall program the festival by investing in theatre artists, not selecting productions. The artists alone decide what to make and present.  This year, participants from past festivals and other veteran experimental theater artists formed the permanent resident cooperative in order to share resources and improve the conditions for making new work.  The cooperative’s aim is to secure for its member companies the core means of production including rehearsal space, performance venues, touring opportunities, promotion, management, advocacy, and funding.

Resident artists will debut new work at the 2012 undergroundzero festival this July at Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center and the Living Theatre in downtown Manhattan.  In addition, Shannon Sindelar will create a site-specific piece in East River Park and the acting company of Conni’s Avant Garde Restaurant will conduct a theatrical tour of the meatpacking district.  The opening of the festival will provide context for the time and place in which “hardcore downtown” NYC theatre makers are working by hosting a discussion with Arnold Aronson, undergroundzero board member and author of American Avant Garde Theatre: A History.  Other local programming will include a reprise of HOME/SICK, a critically acclaimed play about the Weather Underground by guest company, The Assembly.

International programming for the festival will include DEBT! a performance-lecture series on the economic crisis created for the festival by Artistic Director Paul Bargetto and Bartosz Frackowiak, Program Director for the Hobo Art Foundation in Warsaw; the US premier of Oxygen a physical theater production by Thailand’s B-Floor Theatre Company, and playgroundzero—the festival’s readings and works-in-progress series focusing on immigration and revolution, programmed by Romanian-born playwright Saviana Stanescu.

For more information please visit: http://undergroundzeronyc.org

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