- Theater Arts
THE AЯTS is a three-part work of interdisciplinary theatre currently under development from Sponsored By Nobody -- an international theatre company from Brooklyn. We have been creating original works of interdisciplinary theatre between Europe and our native New York since 2007. THE AЯTS investigates the history of public funding for the arts and culture in the United States. Our goal with THE AЯTS project is to resurrect the original source arguments that achieved legislative victory for the arts, and discover a renewed narrative for the role of the arts in American life. In our work, we investigate large-scale social and public policy issues, then distill our research into engaging dramatic material by using interdisciplinary methods of performance.
"Sponsored By Nobody are looking to defibrillate American theater with the short, sharp shocks of the uncomfortably familiar." -- THE BROOKLYN RAIL
Part One of THE AЯTS is based upon hearings and debates in the US Congress from 1963-1965, which led to the creation of the National Endowment for the Arts. Part Two of THE AЯTS is based upon the “culture wars” controversies that raged in the US Congress from 1989-1995, which led to the NEA budget being cut in half and the elimination of nearly all direct federal funding to American artists. Part Three is set in the present day and examines the precarious state of our contemporary arts funding realities by contrasting this American arts history with other countries around the world, where threats to public funding have emerged in recent years. We will be working with the original transcripts from proceedings in Congress that we obtained from the Center for Legislative Archives in Washington, D.C. During our rehearsals, these transcripts will be fused with original writing from playwright-director Kevin Doyle and then combined with interdisciplinary elements of performance -- such as choreography, live onstage camera usage, immersive audio and video designs, and our own original pre-recorded films.
"Sponsored By Nobody has emerged as one of the best kept secrets of New York's alternative theatre scene." -- De Morgen
In January, we received the inaugural 2017 IMPACT Residency Award -- a new partnership from the Drama League of New York and the Laguardia Performing Arts Center (or LPAC), with support of the Harold & Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. From September 13 to 23 we will present a series of fully-realized workshop performances at LPAC from Part 1 & Part 2 of THE AЯTS. Under the IMPACT Residency, we will have regular access to the LPAC main stage theater during July, August and September for a total of 120 rehearsal hours and 30 hours of technical rehearsals. We will be able to work with all our interdisciplinary elements assembled on stage at the same time, while all members of our creative team are present in the rehearsal space. This will allow actors to become familiarized with video projections, explore microphone usage within a complex sound design, and the manipulation of live cameras on stage. This will also allow the director and designers to better visualize the relationships between design elements, live cameras, our emerging text, and the actors’ performances.
THE AЯTS is the largest project Sponsored By Nobody has ever undertaken as a company. We have committed to paying every artist a living wage of $20 an hour for the entire life of THE AЯTS project -- from rehearsals -- to meetings -- to performances -- to touring. We believe we cannot create a new performance about the history of American arts funding -- without making this commitment to our own creative team. We are requesting support on Hatchfund to help us supplement our IMPACT Residency grant award in order to pay each member of our creative team the same living, hourly wage during rehearsals. Our fundraising goal for this campaign is $25,000 -- the bulk of which will directly go towards helping pay the artist salaries for six actors, two designers, one director, and one stage manager, for the corresponding rehearsal hours assigned under the IMPACT Residency. Reaching our stretch goal of $30,000 will enable us to pay additional technical, design, and insurance costs, create better pre-recorded films utilized during performance, and engage with local communities and students in Brooklyn and Queens well in advance of THE AЯTS performances. We strongly believe that in order for THE AЯTS project to be successful we must reach beyond our traditional audience base of artists and arts workers. We believe this rich history concerning the public funding of the arts deserves to reach a broader and more diverse general public.
"Seductive and stylishly illustrated (...) looks like one of Reverend Billy's nightmares staged by Robert Wilson on a budget." -- THE NEW YORK TIMES
"Hilarious satire of social norms which touches on everything that is wrong with America." -- TIME OUT NEW YORK
"Artfully structured drama that manages to clothe polemic in an effective theatrical language." -- SAN FRANCISCO BAY GUARDIAN
"The sting of the playwright's satire is softened only by his gift for comic absurdity." -- THE NEW YORK TIMES
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The creative team on THE AЯTS project consists of actors Mike Carlsen, Keith Downing, Josh Edelmann, Sauda Jackson, Katey Parker, and April Sweeney; designers Eric Magnus and Kate McGee; and writer-director Kevin Doyle. (We will annouce a special guest artist on THE AЯTS project during the course of this fundraising campaign.)
"What we are really involved with here ... and the arts are the focal point of this ... is a redefinition of the social contract for our generation." -- John Frohnmayer, NEA Chair (1992)
Support for early research on THE AЯTS project has been provided by a Saari Fellowship at the Kone Foundation (Finland); a Cultural Exchange Fund Award from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters / Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Monty Kultuurfaktorij (Antwerp); the IETM (Brussels); The Pell Archive Initiative at The University of Rhode Island; the Center for Legislative Archives in Washington, D.C.; the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council “Swing Space” Program; and residencies at the Drama League of New York, Escape To Create (FL), PLAYA (OR), Willapa Bay AiR (WA), the Jentel Foundation (WY) and Arc in Romainmôtier, Switzerland. Early development in 2013-2014 on THE AЯTS is a credit to the work of actors Mike Carlsen, Calder Corey, Chris Gentile, Josh Edelmann, Sauda Jackson, Eric Magnus, Katey Parker, April Sweeney, and Oliver Wadsworth.