Press Release

Theater of War Productions and Brooklyn Public Library Present Extended 10-Week Run of ANTIGONE IN FERGUSON

Brooklyn, New York
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Free performances May 8 - July 13 at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn to feature performances by live gospel choirs and leading actors including Paul Giamatti, Chris Noth, Amy Ryan, Obi Abili, Linda Powell, NYC Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and others 

With support from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), the expanded partnership will increase access to community-based services and resources across all five boroughs and spark community conversations on race, gender violence, and social justice

Theater of War Productions and Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) today announced an extended 10-week run of FREE performances of Theater of War Productions’ original project, Antigone in Ferguson, exclusively supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF). The partnership builds on the organizations’ mission to engage diverse communities in discussions on the urgent issues of our time and to expand access to community-based services and resources across the five boroughs. Antigone in Ferguson opens on Wednesday, May 8 and continues through Saturday, July 13, 2019 at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church in Brooklyn (157 Montague St.). The 800-seat church will provide thousands of audience members the opportunity to join the public conversation and raise awareness of timely social issues.

For the past two years, Brooklyn Public Library has served as a key partner in Theater of War Productions’ tenure as Public Artist in Residence for the Department of Veterans’ Services through the Department of Cultural Affair’s Public Artist in Residence program (PAIR). BPL will continue to provide critical support in marketing, audience curation, impact assessment and contribute to the development of new projects. In addition, through the ongoing partnership Theater of War Productions will extend its projects to an even broader cross-section of New Yorkers, engaging residents with artistic programming that is designed to destigmatize conversations around mental health, reduce isolation, promote greater connection among community members, and inspire positive action. 

Following its longstanding support of Theater of War Productions, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) will exclusively support the 10-week run of Antigone in Ferguson at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, providing free access to 50 performances for all attendees. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation will also provide generous lead support for the Theater of War Productions and Brooklyn Public Library partnership and was the sole supporter of Theater of War Productions’ two-year PAIR residency and the previous five-week run of Antigone in Ferguson at Harlem Stage.

Antigone in Ferguson was conceived in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in 2014, through a collaboration between Theater of War Productions and community members from Ferguson, MO. Translated and directed by Theater of War Productions Artistic Director Bryan Doerries and composed  by Phil Woodmore, the project fuses a dramatic reading by leading actors of excerpts from Sophocles’ Greek tragedy with live choral music performed by a choir of activists, police officers, youth, and concerned citizens from Ferguson and New York City. The performance is the catalyst for panel and audience-driven discussions about racialized violence, structural oppression, misogyny, gender violence, and social justice, which serve as the core component of the event. 

“Brooklyn Public Library is excited to expand our partnership with Theater of War Productions, which uses narratives from the past to pose urgent questions about the present,” said Linda E. Johnson, President and CEO of Brooklyn Public Library. “Through innovative programs like this one, the Library remains dedicated to fostering democratic dialogue about the most critical issues of our time.”  

“Brooklyn Public Library has been an incredible partner to work with over the past two years, and our collaboration on Antigone in Ferguson will empower us to welcome even more audience members, from all walks of life, through the doors of the church and to continue the vital conversations we started in Ferguson, Baltimore, Harlem, and around the world,” said Bryan Doerries, Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Theater of War Productions. “With the generous support of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, we are working to ensure all of New York has access to Antigone in Ferguson, bringing diverse communities together to engage in crucial conversations and inspiring positive change.”

“Theater of War Productions recognizes that theater can have the greatest impact when it is treated not as a product, but as a process, as an experience, one that meaningfully engages its audience,” said Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. “Antigone in Ferguson is a perfect example of this, demonstrating the incomparable value of theater in opening conversations among a broad public where traditional dialogue falls short The Stavros Niarchos Foundation is proud to support this critical work.” 

During the Antigone in Ferguson run, Brooklyn Public Library and Theater of War Productions will work closely with various partners to engage audiences from across the city, providing interborough transportation and targeted outreach initiatives in order to encourage and facilitate diverse audience attendance for each event. To further deepen connections to the community, performances will be enriched by the participation of local choirs from around the five boroughs, who will join The Phil Woodmore Singers each week. Local choirs include the Bethel Gospel Assembly, R.Evolución Latina, Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir, and United Voices of Hope, and The Guardians led by Sergeant Marcus Lewis, marking the first participation of full police choir in a run of Antigone in Ferguson. 

Local stakeholders and community leaders will participate as panelists, assisting in opening up dialogues with audiences. These guided discussions aim to promote healing, access to resources, and bridge the growing divide between law enforcement and local communities. 

The presentation will feature a rotating roster of acclaimed actors, including Chris Noth (“Sex and the City”), and Obi Abili (“Billions”), both who were featured in Antigone in Ferguson at Harlem Stage; along with Paul Giamatti (“Billions”); David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck); Amy Ryan (“The Wire”); Josh Hamilton (“Eighth Grade”); Linda Powell (“Chicago Fire”); and New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, a frequent participant in Theater of War Productions’ projects. Each week will feature a different group of actors.

BPL Presents, which offers cultural enrichment opportunities through the Library and beyond, presents boundary-pushing programs connecting internationally recognized writers, scholars, critics and artists with the broader public to discuss issues that are critical to Brooklyn’s communities and to the nation. Since 2017, in partnership with Theater of War Productions, classical Greek tragedies have been presented across Brooklyn to engage with the borough’s diverse audiences about gun violence, mental health, domestic abuse, and social justice. In addition to the 10-week run of Antigone in Ferguson, Theater of War Productions and BPL will work together to offer additional programming throughout Brooklyn to continue to build civic engagement and strengthen the fabric of the community, with details to be announced. 

With nearly all of its services and events such as Antigone in Ferguson free to the public, BPL continues to be a leader in creating libraries for the 21st century, offering educational, career, cultural, and civic opportunities for all, providing a democratic space where citizens can engage in programs of the highest quality, and learn ways in which they might address the challenging personal and civic issues of our day.

Antigone in Ferguson at St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church 

Presented by Theater of War Productions and Brooklyn Public Library 

Translated and Directed by Bryan Doerries 

Composed by Phil Woodmore 

In association with THE OFFICE performing arts + film

Dates: May 8-July 13, 2019 (Wednesday through Saturday)

Time: 7:00pm (Saturdays: 2:00pm and 7:00pm) 

Runtime: 2 hours and 30 minutes 

Location: St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, 157 Montague St. between Henry St. and Clinton St.

Tickets: Tickets are FREE but RSVP is encouraged. 

To RSVP please visit https://www.bklynlibrary.org/antigone-in-ferguson 

 For inquiries, please contact (917) 426-3233 or AIFinfo@theaterofwar.com 

 

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De-Rance Blaylock (center) and choir members in Theater of War Productions’ Antigone in Ferguson at Harlem Stage, September 13, 2018. Photo credit: Gregg Richards.

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