Uncommon Voices is a new work developmental residency program that gives artists working at the intersection of theatre and social change the tools to engage in a collaborative creative process to build stories that spark conversation and promote community.
We offer support to artists to create genre-bending work and think deeply about the story they are telling, where it belongs and to whom it speaks.
Originally launched in 2019, it was shut down due to Covid-19. Uncommon Voices returned in 2022 and will continue to grow as a program with a new strategy, in which we give the artists we work with greater support in two phases.
Artists who enter the process for Phase One receive a commission and a sharing with a small audience in whatever form is appropriate to the piece.
For artists that we select for Phase Two, we provide funding for an extended workshop with a small presentation based on the needs of the piece.
UNCOMMON VOICES 2024
By Sasha Molochnikov. A director is staging his adaptation of the Seagull at the Moscow Art Theatre. The war with Ukraine begins and the antiwar statements reflected in the show are censured by the new management of the theatre. The director leaves for a temporary stay in the United States but when his anti war sentiments become known, he is threatened with being sent to the front and realizes he can never go back to Russia.
WHEN? MARCH, 24 2024
WHERE? BROOKLYN, NY
SPANGLISH Sh!t (WRITING RETREAT)
Spanglish Sh!t is a bilingual musical about the emotional and spiritual cost of denying your origins; The piece tells the story of Brujita who runs the most poppin’ Puerto Rican restaurant in East Harlem, enchanting customers with her magical meals. But when an old family recipe calls for a tablespoon of her Spanish, she must make a shocking confession… and wrestle with the demons of her whitewashed past. Book and Lyrics by Samora La Perdida, Music by Josiah Handelman, Matthew Zwiebel and Mobéy Lola Irizarry.
WHEN? MARCH 2024
WHERE? The Catskills
Presentation of a new project with Irina Kruzhilina, the auteur, director, designer who created A Dozen Dreams with En Garde Arts in 2020. Called SpaceBridge, it is an intergenerational performance based on the real life stories of children who left Russia under duress. It explores the impact on young people, with a specific focus on the political and social relationships between the United States and Russia.
WHEN? APRIL 2024
Carry You created and performed by Leila Buck is a piece inspired by her long journey into motherhood and its intersection with her father’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s and declining/aging – all of which becomes a personal reference for exploring how we decide to care for those we love/are responsible for in our families reflect/shape/connect upon how we care for each other in communities and as a nation. Recipient of Fox Foundation Fellowship. Carry You is commissioned and developed by Noor Theatre.
WHEN? MAY 30 2024
KRISTINA WONG: #FOODBANKINFLUENCER
Our 2022 inaugural winner is artist, writer, and performer Kristina Wong. In her project, “#FoodBankInfluencer” Kristina is working with existing strategists in food desserts to reimagine the grocery store/ food bank line/ community fridge as a new immersive theater/ environment that will attempt to cue healthier instincts of consumption and self-determination. Specifically, these funds will be used to pay a team of seamstresses who live near the Rocky Ridge Market in Dinnebito, AZ– a rural area of the Navajo Nation. She’ll be sewing a new fabric interior of this market/ community hub that will reimagine it as the native Trading Posts it once was– creating a guide towards community building, ancient wisdom and a reclamation of food ways. Jessica Hanna, director.
SEPTEMBER 22, 2024 / The Catskills, NY
SEPTEMBER, 24 2024 tbd in NYC
Created by Charlene Jean with music co-composed with Franklin Rankin, BRICKS is an Afro-futuristic musical which travels between Earth and a funk-filled, eternal empire filled with guardian angels situated outside Earth and beyond Time – a realm called Up Yonder.
BRICKS is a piece about family legacy, a mom, her daughter, and the ancestors that precede them. BRICKS brings together characters which cause us to contemplate urgent spiritual implications such as land memory, ancestry and assimilation – blending high fantasy with real historical archives.
PAST UNCOMMON VOICES
BRICKS created by Charlene Jean and co-composed with Franklin Rankin is about the buried communities of formerly enslaved Black people that are relatively innocuous to the passerby. It is an always-changing script template detailing the history-repeating shared injustice of “buried” towns. The story is of a mother seeking to protect her child from the intense spirits which emerge from these buried towns by giving her a spirit blinder, Baker-Miller pink glasses. We consider the repercussions of that spiritual blindness and the need to recognize the truth of our histories through the lens of land memory, family, and ancestry, which unlocks the site-specific history.
A week of rehearsals will investigate how to integrate live performance and film in the story.
Date: April 3rd
Place: Ideal Glass Studios
A bilingual brujería musical.
Book and Lyrics by Samora La Perdida, Music by Josiah Handelman, Matthew Zwiebel and Mobéy Lola Irizarry.
Small audience for work in progress presentation Monday, April 3rd.
Spanglish Sh!t iis a bilingual musical about the emotional and spiritual cost of denying your origins; The piece tells the story of Brujita who runs the most poppin’ Puerto Rican restaurant in East Harlem, enchanting customers with her magical meals. But when an old family recipe calls for a tablespoon of her Spanish, she must make a shocking confession… and wrestle with the demons of her whitewashed past.
Red Hook History Project 2023
Date: April 19th
Place: Coffey Street Studio
Place: The Owl Music Parlor
Date: June 9th
Place: Jefferson Market Library (425 6th Ave, New York, NY 10011)
Time: 7PM, following a talkback
We are thrilled to give support to some of New York City’s most exciting creative voices. We hope you will donate to En Garde Arts to support our company and the artists we treasure.