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This project was successfully funded on September 2, 2014

The Motor Company presents Communal Spaces: a garden play festival

by Lillian Meredith


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Now in its fourth year, Communal Spaces is a theater festival of new plays devoted to New York City's community gardens. Each year, I commission playwrights and assign each to a community garden in Manhattan or Brooklyn, which they then use as inspiration for a 20-30 minute play. Each play is then staged and presented in the garden of its origin. The goal has been and continues to be an exploration of the intersection of New York, neighborhood, and theater. This year, the festival will consist of eight plays in four gardens in the Bed-Stuy/Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn. There will be six performances of each play over the course of three weekends in August and September. The audience will be given maps and encouraged to "garden hop" from play to play, with suggestions for routes and local attractions along the way. Think of a pub crawl, but with theater.
Communal Spaces 2014 as marks the first production of The Motor Company, a new theater company devoted to creating and producing theater that is accessible and community-oriented. Our mission is to heighten our relationship to our city and surroundings by using public spaces for story-telling and theatrical events. We produce site-responsive new works and site-specific classical texts in spaces that augment the meaning and the audience's relationship to the place. We imbue quotidian spaces with our own identities and the personal associations of audience members with specific public spaces can add layers to a production beyond narrative, enhancing the piece and the place on an otherwise unattainable level. Texts written for or performed in any non-traditional venue have the power to change the nature of the space, to make it more than a backdrop - it becomes a necessary component in the story itself, almost like another character. My Co-Artistic Director, Christopher Norwood, and I are interested in making theater more inclusive by making it on our audience's terms. This is theater as public art; theater that you don't "go to," but instead just happens, like graffiti. 
When you donate to Communal Spaces this year, you'll be helping us not only produce this year's festival, but also guaranteeing that we'll be able to develop similar projects in the coming years. It is vital that The Motor Company compensates the artists who give their their time and talent to our unorthodox productions. The minimum we are trying to raise is $8,000. That would allow us to hire a publicist, pay each of the approximately thirty people involved $100, cover minimal expenses such as purchasing props and costumes, and ensure that no one has to spend their own money to make this festival possible. The remainder will be put into an account for future projects, some of which are already in development.

This festival has proven its potential to be a continuing and important New York theater event, and we believe that The Motor Company can expand on its success to continue to provide New Yorkers with accessible theater year-round. We rely on you and your interest to keep going and improving. Thank you so much for your time and support.

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    • July 30, 2014 nissioutreachhome Community Member

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    • July 29, 2014 Edward Nguyen Community Member

      What a lovely video